A lot has changed since our grandparents day – heck, a lot has changed since I was a kid! There was no such thing as Google when I was in school. (Or iPads, iPhones, or any other type of ‘i’ anything for that matter). I literally used a massive set of encyclopaedias to do my homework! The digital age is truly a phenomenon to behold. All this new-fan-dangledness has both positives and negatives of course. One of the incredible positives you can capitalise on is automation. By automating small tasks in your business, you can gain valuable time back to use in other areas – like sales and growing your business!
What is Automation?
Automation is the process of streamlining repetitive tasks to save you both time and money. As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats: from customer service to bookkeeping, marketing to warehouse management, and everything in between. You have no spare time in the day, and no time to waste on tasks that could be taken off your plate by being more streamlined. Enter automation. By taking a few hours to set up these effective business systems, you might just gain days back in return.
What Can I Automate?
Quite honestly, if you can think of a task, there will be a way to automate it. Save yourself time and hassle by checking out some of our favourite tasks to automate.
Remove the constant pressure to answer emails in your inbox by setting up a simple auto-responder to tell your clients that you only check emails at certain times of the day. Then they know that their email has been received, and when they might receive a reply from you.
If you send the same type of email constantly, then make a template for it. Write out a generic script that you can use when you receive requests for quotes, extra information on your services, or send a booking confirmation. Simply copy and paste the template into your response and personalise it. If you want to take it one step further, you can even find add-ons for your email client where you can save and use your templates without the need for copy and paste (aka canned responses).
Email marketing is the best form of digital marketing, and nurturing your list of subscribers is the pathway to trust and increased sales. But you cannot possibly keep track of your new subscribers and the sales journey of your different clients without marketing software like MailChimp, ConvertKit, or AWeber. These clever tools communicate with your potential clients by crafting a series of customised emails to be sent out at regular intervals. You can schedule them and send them out to nurture leads and provide your business with valuable information.
If you are solely relying on an old portable hard drive as your business data backup, you are asking for trouble. Time to get your business backed up in the cloud. You can program automatic back-ups of your valuable info by using cloud-based software like Google Drive. It will happen without you needing to think about it. When your data is in the cloud, you can also access it anywhere that you have an internet connection. Don’t forget to set up an automatic back-up of the data on your website too.
Stop manually writing out invoices and turn to cloud-based accounting software instead. With information feeding in from your bank, your day-to-day transactions can be reconciled in the blink of an eye. Set up recurring invoice templates that can automatically be emailed to your clients. Chase your debt without picking up the phone with automatic invoice reminders. Have your GST and tax figures ready for your accountant with the click of a button. Accounting software like Xero can do all of this, and more.
These automation options are just the tippy tip of the iceberg. There are soooooo many other things that you can do to streamline your business, remove human error, and gain time. To find out more, talk to us. We’re the pros at this sort of thing and can even do amazing things like make apps talk to each other when they aren’t naturally set up to do so!
We look forward to hearing from you with your business automation needs.