Lacking Balance in Your Business? 5 Ways Automation Can Help You Achieve Peace of Mind Are you ready to make balance a priority? It's within your reach.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
People love to discuss balance in life and business, but achieving it can feel completely out of reach. In fact, according to a recent Keap survey, most entrepreneurs struggle with having too much on their plates and not enough time, money or resources to get to it all.
1. Peace of mind
I've been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years and have experienced the full spectrum of the stresses and joys that come with it. So I can relate all too well when business owners tell me they're constantly worried they're dropping the ball. But even if many people feel this way, such ongoing internal tension is not only physically unhealthy but also unsustainable.
To relieve the relentless pressure, you need a way to ensure your most important tasks are being handled. This is where automation comes in, allowing you to nurture relationships and consistently follow up with prospects and customers.
Thanks to automation tools, you don't have to feel that familiar knot in your stomach when you spend the day dealing with a vendor problem and don't get around to giving your new customer a welcome they deserve. Automating most customer communications shrinks your daily to-do lists and increases peace of mind.
2. Predictable pipeline
Ask any entrepreneur what the most stressful part of growing a company is, and they'll usually respond with two words: cash flow. Especially when you've moved on from being a solopreneur to having a team, you'll feel the squeeze of payroll and the responsibility of providing other people's salaries. So, what's the fix?
A big piece of the puzzle is making sure your pipeline is predictable. Having reliable sales lined up for the foreseeable future assures you that you'll have money in the bank to pay your bills. You can make this happen by using automation. By capturing leads automatically and tracking sales consistently, you won't have to wonder whether you'll be able to cover your monthly expenses or continue growing. You'll feel confident you can do both.
3. Automated payments
Of course, a predictable pipeline is only half the battle. You might have the work and the sales, but what about actually getting paid? For many entrepreneurs with younger companies, this is a real sticking point. Disorganization and a lack of time leave gaps in invoicing and payment collection. There's also often a real issue with the personal side of getting paid; no one wants their relationship to go from vendor or partner to bill collector. It can be awkward, so business owners often avoid it, delaying their payments even longer.
Automation can be the intermediary for you. Instead of having to personally track payments and then follow up when they're late, an automated system takes care of it all. You no longer have to chase your customers to get paid, and your cash flow is suddenly smoother, stronger and healthier.
4. Stress-free scheduling
Many business owners struggle with the inconvenient back-and-forth required to schedule appointments. This is another area where automated tools can save the day.
Instead of emailing a customer to ask about their availability or playing phone tag, you can provide them with a link to automated appointment scheduling. If you have a flexible system in place, you should be able to configure this to offer a variety of appointment types, time frames and date options that you already know work well with your own schedule. No more checking calendars and waiting for responses; customers can book with you automatically without you having to lift a finger.
Furthermore, using this feature works great with automated follow-up. Set your sequences up to automatically remind customers about your meeting, and they'll be more likely to show up. Then, set up an automated email to check in with the customer a few days after the appointment, and you'll be nurturing your relationship like a true professional.
5. Reallocation of your time
When you start using automation to take repetitive tasks off of your to-do list, you'll free up your time. As your technology handles things like lead capture and follow-up, you get the hours back that you would've spent on those areas yourself. If you could have two extra hours per week, what could you do with them? What about four or five more free hours per week?
Small businesses that automate repetitive tasks have been found to save as many as ten hours a week. With more than a full day of work now freed up, think of the big-picture, complex or creative tasks you can actually get to — and how far focusing on those tasks can take your company.
Achieving balance in your business doesn't have to be a pipe dream. By being intentional about using automation to handle customer follow-up, keep your sales pipeline predictable, manage payments, handle scheduling and more, you'll do a lot to reduce your workload and stress.
So, are you ready to make balance a priority? It's within your reach.