If you ask anyone in operations or any successful business owner, they’ll tell you that one of the best things (if not the best thing) you can do for your business is automation.
When you automate something, you take the guesswork out of who is doing it, when it’s happening, and how it’s getting done. Instead, it just happens without you lifting a finger, saving you time, money, and frustration.
Sounds pretty great, right? It totally is! After all, avoiding the loss of time and money is music to a business owner’s ears.
While automation can be a massive asset to your business, it can also be a pain in the butt if you don’t implement it correctly or automate the right things. And the last thing we want is to add another headache to the mess.
It’s best to start with a few simple things to take them off your plate. You’d be surprised how big of a difference a few simple changes can make!
Here are five things you can easily automate in your business today:
1. Your Calendar
This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people haven’t done this yet! This may be the simplest yet most significant time-saving automation I’ve used. Here is what I automate in my calendar:
- A meeting scheduler to schedule 99% of my meetings.
- The polling option to plan group meetings.
- Reoccurring events for meetings or notes
- Event reminders to make sure I’m never late and always have drive time.
2. Your Content
I batch produce all the content I put out and schedule it for when it is supposed to be published, including Instagram posts, LinkedIn posts, blog posts, newsletters, and emails. If you haven’t started batch-producing content, you’re wasting TONS of time. Not only does spending large amounts of time help get you in/keep you in the zone, but it’s also freeing to deal with it only once every month or every few months!
3. Your Emails
I already mentioned batch producing and schedulers, but have you thought about automating your daily emails? Here is how I automate my email:
- I regularly use Gmail’s snooze button. It allows me to automatically check in/circle back with emails after a set time. It removes the email from my inbox and pops it back once the date/time I set comes around – it’s out of sight/mind until it’s relevant again, AND I don’t have to go searching for it, win-win!
- I use email templates. I use a series of email templates for any emails I frequently send so I can send them as is or make minor edits. This keeps things moving quickly and allows me not to get bogged down trying to come up with responses.
- I applied a filter to my inbox. You know all of those emails that you probably should keep but bog down your inbox because you don’t know what to do with them? I filter all of those emails into a folder and go through it once a week/month. This includes the emails when people complete invoices, expenses, etc.
- I use the vacation setting. Most people know to use the OOO setting in their email yet still don’t use it. It can be an incredibly valuable way for clients, team members, and leads to know when you’re OOO and what to do if they need something.
4. Your Reminders
If you’re like me, you have 200 reminders in your calendar for everything (hello, fellow ADHDrs!), especially for those cyclical tasks (i.e., paying taxes, Secretary of State renewals, etc.). If it happens more than once or regularly, I add a reminder to my project management system or my calendar (whichever it applies). Gone are the random sticky notes and scribbles in your planner. Trust me, if you add in reminders even for the things you don’t think you remember, it gives you back head space and preps you to delegate those things later!
5. Your Contact Forms
You may not realize it, but your contact form is one of your first interactions with your potential customer/client. Ensuring this process goes smoothly can make that conversion just that much easier. Plus it is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your leads have a good experience with you immediately! Here is how I automate this process:
- I embedded the contact form from my CRM on my website. That way any contact automatically gets recorded and tagged as a lead. I never have to think about if everyone I’ve been in contact with is in my system!
- New contacts get automatically added to my newsletter list.
- New contacts receive a thank you/you’ll hear from me soon automated email.
- This is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your leads have a good experience with you immediately!
You’d be surprised by the impact these options can have on your efficiency, giving you back your time, money, and sanity. And once you master some of these, you’re well on your way to automating even more! Don’t be surprised if you start to automate your personal life, too 😉 I know I’m guilty of it!
If you’re not sure where to start or you’re ready to dig into automating more, let me know! We can talk through how we can make you and your business more efficient.