Every business faces fierce competition in terms of sales, efficiency and effectiveness. That's why Automation is necessary for your business to survive. The reason: There is so much to do in your business, but time is insufficient. According to Pareto’s 80/20 rule, only 20 percent of your activities have the most effect on your business and the remaining 80 percent is just busywork.
As a freelancer and small business owner, I've often found myself time-strapped because I wear so many hats as owner, accountant, chief cook and bottle washer, etc. But automating certain areas of my business has given me invaluable time to strategize and work on my business.
In fact, I was able to increase my productivity by more than 70 percent by automating the following five areas in my business.
1. The hiring process
As your business grows, you might feel the need to hire more (qualified) employees. Unfortunately, the traditional way of posting an ad on job sites and waiting for applications to pour in is not only inefficient but extremely time-consuming.
My business was growing steadily to the point that I needed to hire extra help. The first step I took toward automating this process was to define the candidates I wanted. I did this by asking a series of questions that my ideal candidates would be able to answer:
- What are your goals?
- How do you handle difficult situations?
- What new habit have you formed in the last 30 days?
- What do you do in your free time and why?
Asking these questions gave me an insight about my applicants that I otherwise would not have discovered using the traditional method. I used Google Docs and workable.com to create easy-to-use question forms for prospective applicants to answer questions. This improved the quality of applicants I got and I was able to fill the position in a record seven days.
2. Customer service
Customer service and support can take up a lot of staff hours. If you don’t have an organized system for managing customer inquiries, the quality of your support can suffer.
At first, I was solely the one handling every one of my freelance client requests. But after some time, I observed I didn’t have free time to scout for more clients. With that realization, I knew I needed virtual assistants, so I outsourced my customer care responsibilities to Conversational in order to focus on getting clients.
You can do the same. Focus on the core aspects that bring in more income and automate the ones that aren’t core and eat up all of your time. Follow the 80/20 Pareto principle.
By outsourcing my clients’ requests to virtual assistants, I increased my income by more than 50 percent and decreased my work time by half. Automating this area gave me more time to focus on SEO and advertising strategies to get more customers.
Marketing is one of the most important parts of business, depending on the type of business. Insufficient marketing can hamper the success of your business significantly.
Infusionsoft is a tool that automates your business’s sales and marketing processes. Infusionsoft offers a complete package that takes care of your entire business marketing by streamlining your customer relationship management, email marketing and lead-capture processes.
These activities are usually separate activities, but with automation software like Infusionsoft, these processes are streamlined and simplified, saving you time and effort.
4. Your internet time management
One of life’s irreplaceable assets is time. Time can’t be saved or borrowed, only spent or invested.
One of the biggest time wasters in the workplace is the internet -- more specifically, social media. Avoid wasting time online by installing software in your browsers that restrict internet access to certain websites until you’ve finished working for the day.
5. Your team communication
As a location-independent entrepreneur, I have employees who work remotely for my business. We very rarely, if ever, work face to face.
How do I maintain communication in real-time with my employees when we live in different time zones?
Slack is a team-chat application that allows me to maintain constant communication with my employees no matter where we are in the world. Our group chats within Slack create greater transparency across teams while enabling us to check in on one another to receive immediate feedback on our work.
Apps like Skype, Slack and Google Hangouts are excellent instant messaging/chat platforms.Google Hangouts even provides a quick way to host video conference calls.