Automation is key to freeing up your time by no longer executing certain tasks manually.
As a business owner you’ll often find yourself time-poor with not enough productive hours in the day. When I talk to my clients about productivity and time management, we look at delegation and automation as ways to boost productivity. In this article we’re taking a closer look at some of the processes in your business that can be automated.
Look at repetitive tasks for automation
The first things for consideration when deciding what processes would suit automation is to think about which tasks you don’t enjoy, that recur regularly, that do not need human interaction. For example:
Invoices and purchase orders
For your sales invoicing, if you haven’t outsourced this already, an accountant or bookkeeper in your network will be able to recommend a great invoicing platform that will be an invaluable investment for your time. Xero is favoured by many business owners and accountants alike, but there are others out there. Ask which one would be most suitable for your company’s size and rate of growth.
Additionally, can you automate the processing of your purchase orders? For example, on receipt of an invoice from a supplier, you can use other software apps to push these into Xero or other accounting software. A great time saver for you or a colleague!
Auto response emails aren’t just for annual leave. They are vital for maintaining a good relationship with your customer on their buying journey. Think about which point along the journey you are sending an email that could be automated. It could be confirmation of an action they’ve taken, a thank you, delivery update, reminder of abandoned basket, letting them know they need to buy again or even acknowledging an anniversary.
Can you automate the filing of emails that arrive in your inbox? For example, certain emails you want to read but not immediately, or client specific emails so could they automatically be sent to another folder for later?
What do salespeople love about their jobs? Talking to prospects and winning a sale! And they’d rather be doing that than emailing prospects, logging conversations and handing over to the customer relations team. Parts of a good digital CRM can connect teams and allow many sales processes to be automated, freeing up sales to what they’re best at.
Social media management
If you prefer to keep your social media inhouse, but find that it saps time, posting and following relevant conversations can be automated using a dashboard. There are free versions of scheduling tools in some social media platforms, and larger dashboards where all your social channels can be brought together. It’s worth factoring in the cost of upgrading your dashboard though, to give you greater flexibility and control.
Keeping an eye on the numbers in your account is vital and luckily many apps can make that easier to do. Xero for example, allows you to scan a receipt and create a purchase order or bill for it, as do many banking apps. Ask your bookkeeper or accountant which one they’d recommend.
Can your team, prospects and customers access your diary to book an appointment with you? For external team members you could use tools such as Calendly or Microsoft bookings to allow people to see gaps in your diary and book a specified time with you.
It could be the signing of documents, creating standard documents or completing your data backup. Such tasks might seem easier to just do rather than learning how they could be automated but consider the short-term pain for the long-term gain.
To support communication and aid workflow across teams you could look at introducing a project management tool such as Asana, Trello, Slack, Monday.com or any of the many others available. A shared workspace that everyone can access and add to makes moving a task through the process simpler.
The first step to automation
As a mentor and business owner, I have first-hand experience of automation of processes and can give you an insight into what might work best for your business and your way of working. As a business coach I have tools that I can share to aid you in achieving automation to free up your time and boost productivity.
If you’re ready to take the first step to including automation for your processes, get in touch with me and let’s have a conversation.