Do you find yourself bouncing from task to task? Searching for your to-do lists in multiple notebooks? Doing tasks that you know that you’d give to someone else in a heartbeat if you had the budget?
I remember when I first started seeing growth happen in my business early on. It was about 2 years ago. I was solely focused on marketing projects and I had just transitioned from a freelancer before that. I was working full-time just like now, taking caring of my parents at home full-time, and wanted to make some changes in my business. I’m sure at that point I was working like 80 hour weeks without even realizing it. Can you imagine? I knew I needed to hire some help but I wasn’t sure just how much I really needed at that time without wasting money or time training someone.
Now you may be wondering just how do you improve productivity in your business? Or make tasks simpler and easier to do? You automate your business processes. As an entrepreneur, sole proprietor, or small business operator, you need tools that will make business more efficient. You wear the hats of what would be multiple people if you had the budget to hire a team. When you can get more done with the least amount of work, this maximizes the use of your time leaving you to work on other important aspects of your business like revenue generating tasks.
I’m a Small Business, Why Do I Need to Automate?
You may be thinking, I have a small business. Why do I need to worry about automation? Your size and long term goals is precisely why. As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you need to maximize the resources you have available to you. And one of those key precious resources is having time to do everything that you need. Problem? You don't have all the time you need and quite frankly, you probably won't ever, but with automation there is hope.
Business automation makes operations easier, improves productivity, and helps you grow and scale your business. Although there are a lot of entrepreneurs that don’t want to adopt that corporate way, there is nothing wrong with it. Major corporations all use automation because it streamlines processes. It makes it easier for their staff to get all their tasks completed efficiently.
So I did the next best thing till I was ready to find the right person. I used inexpensive tools to help me automate my business since I wasn’t ready to hire someone. This worked out better than I could’ve expected. I grabbed a pen, some paper, and got to prioritizing.
Do More With Less Work
Prioritize what takes the most time
Although this seems to be something I see a lot of my clients struggle with, it’s not hard, I promise. Write down everything that you need to do and use www.toggle.com to track your time while completing those tasks for one whole week. This will help you prioritize which tasks need to be automated first and will give you more time back.
Choose the right tool
So for me it was a little easier to find the tools I wanted because most I’d used in my full-time job before. See what I didn’t want to do was choose a tool that maybe wasn’t the greatest fit for a entrepreneur, freelancer or small (erish) business owner. So I researched the tools I was interested in like Hoot Suite, Trello, Asana, Toggle, Boardbooster, and a few more in my favorite Facebook Groups. I simply used the search bar in the group to see what other people were saying about these tools. It helped me narrow it down fast!
Test drive before you buy
All of the tools I was interested in had free trials that were maybe 7 - 14 days long, yay! Me being the budget conscious girl I am, I didn’t want to spend the money and time setting something up for it not be a good fit in the end. So I did trial runs first and that helped me see how it could for me and into my days.
Pull the plug
That’s it! Once the trial was over, or sometimes before that even happened, I signed up, got set up, and was already saving myself at least 8 - 10 hours per week alone! Honey, yes! It was amazing! I wasn’t having late nights anymore and I had much more time on the weekends to do other stuff.
Business on Autopilot Tools
You can do the same thing I did, but the difference is now, after all these tools, systems, trials, and money spent, I can give you an awesome list + other great tips to implement your own tool or system. I can save you even more time, isn’t that what you need the most? Yes! I created the Systems Implementation Kit to show you exactly how to automate your business.
There are various areas of business that you can automate and most importantly that you should. I would say that the following categories are the most important in each business. Don’t be alarmed, if you aren’t utilizing one of these yet, that’s okay. It’ll at least give you an overview of what to expect.
Let us look at some of the best tools you need to automate your business processes in key areas of your business that are in the systems implementation kit.
When you need to collaborate and manage projects, it helps to have an efficient method. Trello is one of the best tools for coordinating team tasks and keeping track of the status and progress of single or multiple projects. With Trello, you can assign specific tasks to each team member and monitor the progress of the project. This is also an amazing tool to use if you find that you’re a solopreneur who needs some structure. You can create boards for your projects, create checklists, and assign tasks to yourself to remember for later.
Trello is also great to manage personal things like planning a wedding, grocery shopping, meal prepping, christmas lists, and more! I use it for almost everything and enjoy it thoroughly.
Wouldn’t it be nice when you are bringing in new clients to have a system that offered a seamlessly efficient onboarding process? Welcoming new clients to your business can be tricky. And if not handled properly, can create issues for client-business relationships. With the right process, your clients will know exactly what services you provide, how to go about accessing them, and help you maintain control of the relationship from the get-go to ensure that your client has the best experience.
Acuity Scheduling is one of my favorite tools to use for and with my clients during our time together. It’s budget friendly and has great features. The client onboarding process facilitated by Acuity Scheduling allows you to schedule appointments, manage appointments, set up var types of payment methods and packages/services. You can have your contracts, intake questionnaires, payments, and scheduling all in one place. Isn’t that awesome? Set the bar high before you even have a first session with your client.
We all know that to grow your business you need to implement strong marketing strategies. One of the popular strategies that online business owners use is email marketing. Build a strong email list is key for a lot of people. Thing is as great as the process can look from the outside looking in, managing a email list can be time consuming. It’s another platform that you need to create content for and consistently at that. With that being said, if you are interested in starting one you’ll need to pick a great automation tool.
One of the most popular programs that businesses use to manage and automate their email marketing is mailchimp. I used mailchimp when I first started my business and it worked out great for a long time. Although as my list building strategy started to change and my list grew, I no longer needed mailchimp and switched to ConvertKit. And one of the additional benefits is that ConvertKit and mailchimp can be integrated with Acuity Scheduling to make it easier to capture client email information for future marketing efforts.
Social Media Management
Social media is primarily used for marketing – whether actively or passively. And managing this process is incredibly time-consuming, especially with all the social media platforms that you may use to reach your target audience. There are a few different ways to simplify your process for managing your social media accounts. The bulk of your time though can be saved by scheduling your content instead of posting from the account itself. With Hootsuite, for example, you certainly do more in less time. This social media management tool allows you to manage multiple social media platforms from one dashboard. With this, you can schedule posts efficiently, cross post and keep track of your social marketing efforts from a single point of contact.
Action Step: Take a minute to review your daily process for completing or delegating tasks in your business. Include the tedious tasks you hate and the client work or product creation work you need to complete. This will help you understand your method of madness and then you can prioritize what process you need to automate first. Grab your Systems Implementation Kit here.
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite tools for automation are and why you consider them effective. If you aren’t automating and would like guidance on automation for your specific business processes, let’s talk.