Automation in business refers to technology enabled automation of activities or services that accomplish a specific function and help increase efficiency.
The hectic schedule of searching for important mails in an overflowing inbox can be quite intimidating and not responding promptly to an urgent message could mean losing out a lucrative opportunity. For busy business people, the answer lies in automation wherein they can put routine processes on auto pilot and shift their focus to the big-picture tasks that make or break a new venture. Automation of oft –repeated tasks help business owners to utilise the same time to realise the objectives which they have set for themselves-like expanding business. Sounds good, right?
Think about all the things that you or your staff members do day in and day out. Break the tasks down into smaller manageable steps. Can you automate any of these steps? It may seem trivial to automate even the simplest of tasks such as creating a folder in Google Drive, but in reality, automating this could save you a lot of time long-term.
Many businesses have a set of common and repetitive tasks; for example sending contracts and invoices. These processes can be easily automated, and once automated they can be executed with a minimal loss of time. When starting with automation, automate the easiest tasks first. Start with the tasks which do not require a human touch.
Here are some useful steps to help you get started in automating your business:
- Adding filters and segmenting emails and lists: Adding filters helps to organise and sort emails so that only important emails remain in your inbox. Your email list consists of different kinds of people with different behaviours, profiles and interests. The solution here is to split your email list into similar groups which helps you to approach each segment in a way that is best suited, gaining you better leads and the possibility of more sales.
- Customize your emails: You can personalize email addresses to make your business look more professional. Automatic emails (aka canned emails) can be set up to allow a prompt response that is customized and relevant to the reader. This way, your customers are more likely to open and click them faster.
- Automate your marketing efforts: Make use of free marketing automation platforms and create landing pages, e-mails, web analytics etc.
- Share files: With the help of Google Docs, files can be shared in Google Drive and can be accessed easily by you and your colleagues. Google Docs also help to create and edit important documents with ease.
- Host remote meetings efficiently: One can create a free account with meeting solution tools like Zoom and Join Me to host meetings and conferences with team mates and clients. Such a tool helps to save time, effort and money by holding online conferences rather than arranging face to face meetings. Very helpful for us business owners working virtually.
- Automate social media postings: Posting on social media is important if you want to grow your business and reach your target market. Posting on social media is a good way to engage with customers. There are tools which allow you to schedule your posts on a variety of social media platforms. Two of my favourites are: the inbuilt Facebook scheduler (free) and Onlypult (paid).
- Automate your business needs: Several businesses use invoicing platforms to look after their invoicing needs in a simple and secure fashion. Invoicely is one such platform which you can use for this purpose and best of all, it’s free!. Invoicely helps to keep track of time, expenses, mileage etc. Set up automated payment reminders in the annoying event that your customer doesn’t pay their bill on time.
- Sync your project management system (I use Asana) to your calendar (both business and personal) so that you keep all of your appointments in the one place. I use Google Calendar and differentiate between my personal and business appointments using different colours.
- Do you take bookings? Sync your booking system (I use You Can Book Me) with your address book or CRM system so that the contact details of your customers are recorded. You can also set up automated reminder emails to be sent to your clients to remind them of an upcoming meeting they have with you.
- Zapier is an amazing tool to help you automate a huge number of tasks across different business systems. Why not use it to automatically create a new client folder in your Google Drive.
These are just a few of the ways that you could automate within your business. Automating business tasks ensures quality and consistency and also helps to save time. Use this extra time to work ON your business, not IN it.
Need help automating? We can help! Let’s have a chat and see how we can transform your business with automation.