How To Automate Tasks In Your Business
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Business owners have many responsibilities that they need to accomplish every day. This is especially true for the solo entrepreneur. In addition to completing the work for your clients, you have to manage the accounting, sales, marketing, and administration of the business.
One of the best ways to alleviate the pressure is by automating some of the simplest tasks. The benefits can be significant. One survey found that half of all IT leaders believe automation can save companies 10% to 50% on costs associated with manual processes. Not only will automation help with making your business more efficient, it will also help you improve your skills as a business owner and as a manager.
5 Steps To Create Better Automations In your Business
Step 1: Identify Opportunities For Automation
The first thing you have to do is figure out which processes or technologies should be automated. Using a notebook, keep a log of the activities that you perform in a week. Look for activities that are simple and repetitive. These types of tasks are usually the easiest to automate. Once you have a list of tasks, sort them by which take the most time. You’ll want to focus your efforts on automating the tasks that will free up your schedule the most.
Step 2: Review Your Existing Technology
Most people assume you have to purchase fancy AI-powered software to achieve automation. Fortunately, many standard programs already have powerful automation built-in. For example, most email tools have a rules feature that allows emails to be sorted automatically based on the criteria that you select. Other programs like Excel contain macros and formulas that can automatically complete tasks or calculate complex numbers. Many accounting software can automatically import expenses by simply scanning receipts. Taking advantage of these tools first can help you make significant progress toward automating your business.
Step 3: Implement New Technology
Sometimes upgrading or replacing your existing tools can bring with it the latest automation technology. Chatbots like Intercom can be used to streamline your customer service process. Services such as Mailchimp can automate communication with clients on your mailing list and your sales funnel. There are also some scheduling systems that can automate workflows and send reminders. The technology you select will depend on the specific needs of your business.
Step 4: Streamline Information Flow
Email is one of the most time-consuming tasks in operating a business. Studies have found that the average professional spends 2 to 3 hours each day just checking email. For business owners, this number is probably higher. Pay close attention to the types of requests that you receive for information. For example, if you are responding to multiple emails a week about your product pricing, could you save time by making the information easier to find on your website? Maybe providing a detailed FAQ (frequently asked questions) can eliminate questions that you get repeatedly.
Step 5: Create SOPs And Delegate Work
Not all work has to be automated by a computer program. You can also automate work by delegating tasks to other people, including employees or external freelancers. The biggest hurdle is translating the instructions to these individuals. Take the time to document your SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). This will ensure that the work gets done exactly the way you want without a lot of oversight and minimal time training.
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