Who doesn’t love automation? Shopping carts and membership sites automate your sales and content delivery. Email autoresponders automate relationship building. And calendar apps automate your schedule, putting an end to the frustrating back and forth of setting appointments.
Not only does automation save you time, but it helps ensure quality and consistency as well. Just imagine how confusing it would be to your customers if you didn’t have a shopping cart, but instead sent them an invoice for every purchase, and each invoice was a different cost. Or what if your 16-week group coaching course sometimes arrived by email, and sometimes in your Facebook group, and sometimes not at all?
Now these might seem like silly, over-the-top examples, but this is why automation tools exist—to keep everything running smoothly and as expected.
Can you automate everything? No. But you can implement this same level of efficiency and consistency by creating systems and workflows.
Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
What would happen if your project manager or virtual assistant were no longer able to work? Could you easily (and quickly) train someone else to take over? For too many small business owners, the answer to that question is a definitive NO.
When all the instructions for completing a task reside only in one person’s head, you’ve set yourself up for catastrophe. Sure, in the event that someone becomes ill or wins the lottery, you would probably recover, but how long would that take?
Rather than risk struggling with logins and procedures, make it a point to document every task in your business, from how you manage your email to how a new product is launched. That way, if your best VA decides to elope with her Prince Charming, another team member can step in and cover for her.
Seek Out More Efficient Systems
Just because grandma always kneaded her bread by hand doesn’t mean that’s still the best way to do things today. Now that new Breadmachine takes all the work out of bread making, while still keeping the flavor in. I’ve made bread both ways and I can attest the Breadmachine is the way to go!
Where can you make your business more efficient, while still keeping the personality and brand your clients love and trust?
- Document templates ensure everything is formatted in a way that matches your brand, and will save you hours on every worksheet, resource guide, and even sales pages and blog posts.
- Duplicate your repeatable projects inside your project management system (such as Asana), change the dates and key details, and instead of spending 30 minutes assigning tasks to your team, you’ll spend 30 seconds.
- It might seem counterintuitive, but when you perform the same tasks over and over again, it’s easy to miss a critical step. You might think you paid your affiliates this month—you might even remember doing it—only to look back and see it was never completed. But when you implement checklists, it’s suddenly much more difficult to miss an important task. You can easily create checklists for all your common tasks and projects using nothing more than a text document. If you’re managing a team, checklists in your project management system allow you to see exactly what tasks are complete, and which are still outstanding.
Upgrade Your Business Tools
It might also be time to upgrade your tools, if what you’re using is no longer as efficient as it could be. For example, if your autoresponder can’t move customers from one email funnel to another based on their behavior, you’re missing out on sales. Consider upgrading to Active Campaign to make your sales process more automated.
Take a look at your business and the tasks you and your team perform every day. Where can you be more efficient? What tools would help you maximize your time? Making changes in these areas will add hours to your day, and greatly reduce your overwhelm and stress levels as well.
If you’re frightened at the idea of automating parts of your business, or giving up control by delegating tasks to a virtual assistant, get my new e-book where I’ll show you how much freer you’ll feel when you’re not solely responsible for every single things getting done. Get your copy of Systems are Sexy! 7 Steps to Harness the Power of Automation and a Team To Create Your Dream Business here.