Business Processes - Why You Need to Automate Your Small Business Tasks
How many tasks do you find yourself repeating in your business? Perhaps you’re re-writing the same tweet to promote your blog post or manually emailing contracts to new clients. In this post, you’ll not only discover why you need to automate your business processes but also how you can do just that.
Why automate your business processes?
- First of all, every minute of the day you are spending in your business is a minute you aren’t spending on your business. That means you’re missing opportunities to increase your visibility, book more clients, get more money.
- Automating business processes saves you time and energy. Yes, many will involve a monthly/annual fee to use but the return is so worthwhile… just like outsourcing. The amount you can make by investing in your business on these things far outweighs the cost of hiring out or streamlining your tasks.
- It increases consistency, quality and results. As a result, it helps to build your email list, to convert people to clients/customers, to get more click-throughs, to get you in front of your target audience, to get you feedback and so much more.
- Struggle with your mindset when it comes to getting clients? Automating your business processes will help you with that. It makes you feel ready, knowing that you have everything in place from the get go. It’s a confidence booster.
- Doing this isn’t just good for you -- it’s great for your clients, leads and people you’re collaborating with too. It demonstrates organisation and professionalism, reaffirming to them that they have made the right decision in working with you. Your onboarding process will be straightforward and effective, you won’t miss steps/deadlines or have documents that aren’t on brand. You won’t have the back and forth of emails or the awkward “when are you available?” chat.
- Ready to outsource? Having this set up allows someone else to easily come in and know exactly what to do. It gives you control over your business and most of all, it takes away the worry if somebody needs to cover for you.
It may take some time setting up these tools, but you should spend time so that you save time later.
What are the best tools for automating business processes?
My VA and I have compiled the full list of apps and software we recommend for automating and scheduling business processes PLUS some alternatives for each… find them below!
- 17Hats (or Dubsado) – The complete project management software. If there’s one tool you invest in, it should be this. From here you can track leads, store and modify contracts, send quotes, questionnaires and invoices, do basic bookkeeping, connect your calendar, create to-do lists for each project, save canned responses to emails, set up workflows that are automatically triggered once the previous step is complete and lots, lots more! All it takes is a few simple tweaks to personalise for each client and you’re ready to send – this is the most efficient and most noteworthy of all listed here.
- ActiveCampaign (or Mailchimp/ConvertKit/LeadPages/ClickFunnels) – Build your email list, gather leads, connect your opt-ins, design funnels, send newsletters, segment people based on their preferences, automate sales & more.
- Asana (or Trello) – You’ve got multiple to-do lists and no structure for prioritisation. Well this is what you should add to your arsenal. You can even share tasks with team members, group it into projects, have conversations and flag your most important to-dos.
- Boardbooster (or Tailwind) – Like pinning but know it can be a terrible distraction and procrastination tool? With this you can bulk schedule, set up campaigns to push your content to group boards and loop older pins so they’re brought back to the top of the board. There’s also bonus features like a pin doctor to remove any with broken links and a group manager to moderate those you’re collaborating with.
- Calendly (or Acuity) – Send prospective clients or current clients your booking link that’s connected to your calendar, and allow them to choose a date/time that works for both of you. Depending on the level of plan you go for, you can both receive email/text reminders too meaning you won’t ever miss a meeting again!
- MeetEdgar (or Buffer/Hootsuite) – Tired of having to re-schedule the same social media posts? Connect your main channels to this tool, create the content once and it will automatically push it out so that you’re consistently sharing.
- Planoly (or Later) – Want to see what your Instagram theme will look like before you publish a new post? This allows you to do just that. Upload your images, add a caption and hashtags, schedule and re-arrange if needed! You will still have to post it manually but the simple copy/paste feature makes it much quicker.
- Typeform (or SurveyMonkey) – Want to embed a quiz as part of your content, survey your audience or get feedback from a client? It’s just what you need. With a range of question types, you’ll be able to get exactly what you want from the answers and analyse the results from within it too.
More automation tool ideas and alternatives:
- Waveapps – Free accounting
- Quickbooks – Paid accounting
- HelloSign – Contract signing
- Tweetdeck – Tweet scheduling
- Basecamp – Project management
- Zapier/IFTT – Create zaps/recipes (i.e. triggers) that automate processes
Visit GSD Society for more in-depth info on how to develop a quick and efficient way of automating your business processes!