There comes a point in every entrepreneurial adventure when you realise you really cannot do it all yourself without something giving way. Granted, when you’re just starting out, you really are the “chief, cook and bottle washer” but as your business starts to grow and your client needs evolve in complexity, it will inevitably become painfully obvious that trying to do everything is only going to lead to:
- Frustration (when critical tasks don’t get done and deadlines are missed)
- Burn out (when you’re working crazy hours and can’t remember your why)
- Overwhelm (when your to-do list just keeps growing no matter how much you do, and how fast you do it)
There are many ways to win at this business-growth phase, but one of the lowest hanging fruit is putting in place automated systems. Imagine a mostly hands-off system that works for you even while you’re spending the arvo with a girlfriend or taking two weeks off over the school holidays to be with the family .
But here’s an even better reason to embrace automated systems: it lets you scale your business. Think about it, the less manual work you have to do, the more time you have to do the money-making stuff such as networking, marketing, and client support.
So what can you automate?
Almost everything, but start with:
Chasing organic traffic is such an exercise in frustration (Picture in my head right now? That salmon trying to swim upstream!) You’ll spend all your time creating content for your blog, other people’s blogs, YouTube, social media, and other web properties. All that content creation leaves you little time to actually work with the clients you’re trying to attract.
Instead, invest in some quality paid traffic, and give yourself the headspace to be more mindful in your content creation (here’s a previous post on scaling that content creation process too).
What happens when a new subscriber joins your mailing list or someone buys one of your products? Do they just wait on your list until you have time to send an email?
While broadcast emails have their place—especially in time-sensitive promotions—be sure to also set up an autoresponder series to:
- Welcome new subscribers and help them find their way around your site (and your offers)
- Nurture buyers so they know they’re in the right place
- Make additional offers – extending on what someone has purchased or shown an interest in
And the best thing? Once your autoresponder is set up, it will continue to work even when you’re not.
Social Media Management
Yes, it’s important to be personable and engaging on social media. But that doesn’t mean you have to log in to Facebook just to post a link to your latest blog, podcast or YouTube video. Automate that kind of update and save yourself hours. Better yet, amplify your content distribution and automate your repeat posts without having to spend much more time on it either!
If you have clients, partners, a team, or are often asked for interviews, then an automated calendar is a must. Rather than endless back-and-forth emails trying to find a mutually available time slot, simply send your calendar link and let your client, project manager, JV partner or anyone else choose a time that works for them. Your appointment will automatically appear on your calendar, and you’ll even get reminders (if your calendar supports that).
There are dozens of options for automating every aspect of your small business. As you grow, you’ll find new and better tools to make everything run more smoothly. For now, though, implementing these four ideas alone will save you hours of time every month.
And if you’re up to it, here is a useful article I came across written by Forbes, offering 10 Strategic Ways To Automate Your Internal Business Workflows. It’s an oldie but a goodie… the principles work as well as they did in 2017 as they do now, promise.