“The digital age has afforded businesses the opportunity to automate or streamline their processes. This helps to generate consistent results. “
Ever come across or read about successful entrepreneurs and business owners that often cruise around the world on private jets, lounging on the beach, and engaging in other ‘expensive’ activities? You then begin to imagine how they can still manage their businesses successfully despite all the seemingly extravagant lifestyle and excessive spending.
Well, their secret lies in the adoption of automation in their businesses. Try to imagine the benefits of self-driving cars – a stunning degree of convenience, extraordinarily speedy deliveries, among others. The frustration we often face while driving ourselves will get eliminated. With that, we will be able to make the most out of every moment.
The digital age has allowed businesses to automate or streamline their processes. This helps to generate consistent results. Building your business the wrong way will lead you into a life of stress, unending engagement, and even underachievement. You wouldn’t be able to choose the lifestyle you prefer to live. Rather than working for your business, why not engage a system that makes your business work for you?
The answer is to grow your business on autopilot or pilot mode.
Why put business on pilot mode?
The idea behind autopilot business is that your business works without you and without compromising its sustainability, scalability, and ‘saleability.’ It implies that every aspect of your business operations – finance, admin, HR, sales, marketing, product delivery, and customer support – would have been automated. Note that automation does not require creativity, unlike delegation.
Everyone wants freedom and flexibility, but only a few people know how to get them. Most businesses will collapse if left on their own for a month, let alone a year. However, putting such businesses on autopilot will save you ample time that could be invested in other activities that are equally important to you.
This ultimately results in less stress, better results, more profit, faster growth, and feelings of security that your business can potentially service all your expenses as well as meet your regular needs. Building a profitable business with positive cash flow potential would often precede growing your business on autopilot.
Growing your business on autopilot
The process of growing your business on autopilot begins with you. Since you are the brain behind the business, you are also in the best position to leverage the numerous opportunities that automation affords businesses. The following tips will save you time, energy, resources, and even see your business perform better!
1. Set priorities
As a planner, you’ve set your to-do lists to help you figure out what you need to do and at what time. However, in the process of thinking of what is important, you discovered that you have a lot of unread email messages, an online course to take, or a newsletter to send to your lists. Though it is possible to do everything, you have to find out that ONE thing.
There is always that ONE thing that your business requires to move forward. Discovering it gives you a clue on what to do. With that, you rest assured that you are doing the right thing at the right time. The ONE thing is the force that moves other things ahead. It could be creating content for your social media pages, creating a website, or even using a scheduling tool.
2. Create growth-enabling systems and processes
Having the best system in the business place helps keep business activities and processes running efficiently and quickly. The fact that you copied someone else’s business model doesn’t imply that you also have to adapt their systems. You only need to adapt the processes to suit your peculiarities, needs, and environment.
For each task you are set to do, highlight the steps involved. You will be surprised to discover that, while some of the steps are to be retained, a few require modifications, while others need to be eliminated. For instance, do you really need a physical office for your business, or can you work remotely? What form of communication will suit your clients or customers: Skype, GoToMeeting, or email? You never can tell how the process of elimination can improve your business’ efficiency.
3. Outsource and delegate
As a business owner or entrepreneur, you have some daily routines to help you complete your business tasks every day. How comfortable will you feel doing all the tasks yourself? Won’t you get stuck? Don’t you feel a certain part of your business process needs your greatest attention? Remember that your goal is to make your business grow bigger, and you may not be able to take it there alone.
Outsourcing some of your business tasks to someone else will help you focus on other significant aspects of your business. In other words, you should get your hands off small, menial tasks in your business as a business owner. To do this, you may have to hire a virtual assistant. This is a cost-effective way of getting your tasks completed. You won’t be paying them bonuses that are often associated with full-time jobs. These include medicals, paid sick leave, among others.
Some entrepreneurs often boast of having every aspect of their business operations under control and wouldn’t need to outsource. Well, they might be scared of letting go of their control. The reality, however, is that you will need it at a certain point. Why not let go now? Think of things you don’t like doing or things that encroach into your time, distracting you from focusing on an important aspect of your business. It is time to spend the dollars to avoid your time being spent.
4. Automate your business operations
This is the point where you eliminate tasks that consume your time such that you can’t concentrate on important aspects of your business. Well, your time might worth too little to you. You may have to list every task you do, indicating the cost of delegating them or the amount of value they have on your business.
You can automate a whole lot of business aspects, including bill payment, new leads generation, to-do lists, email messaging, social media posting, client on-boarding and off-boarding, new employee training, among others.
a. Email marketing automation: Every business needs to build strong customer relationships, generate new leads, and gain customer loyalty. This is possible with email marketing. For the fact that such a process requires consistency, sending such emails when you like will have little or no impact. Rather, it requires a conscious and concerted effort. Fortunately, tools like MailChimp allow you to automate email campaign creation and scheduling.
b. Using a scheduling tool for social media posting: Social media’s impact on businesses cannot be undermined. With over a billion internet users spread across the globe, businesses have great potentials in reaching out to a wide range of audiences. Social media posting is quite a challenging process and can take a whole lot of time. The good news, however, is that the process can also be automated. With platforms, such as Hootsuite or CoSchedule, you can draft and schedule your posts in advance and copy posts across multiple platforms. This helps to streamline the process of audience engagement.
c. Use a website builder: Well, the digital age requires you to have a website for your business. This is to enable you to expand your reach as well as gain customers’ trust and loyalty. Rather than build a website from scratch, website builders, such as Wix and Weebly, will help you create your website quickly and efficiently and help you with the automation of the processes. To avoid having to post news, for instance, on the website directly, you may consider having a social media feed on your website’s front page as this updates automatically.
d. Improve your workflow through apps integration: Think of the stress you go through when you have to switch between apps (mail, calendar apps, etc.) constantly to copy, paste, cross-reference, manage projects, or track time. Why not save yourself the stress by using Zapier, an app that allows you to connect the apps you use and automate tasks. It is compatible with over 1000 apps. Having your software working together is one of the most productive decisions when it comes to business automation. Entering data into one app gets it populated into the others.
Others include the use of a chatbot system to run automated responses, mailparser.io to extract data from emails and organize such data into spreadsheets and CRM platforms, calendly to automate the back and forth process of scheduling meetings, among others.
If you refuse to embrace automation, the future of business, you will only get yourself stuck in the past. Time is of great essence, especially to entrepreneurs. This is because it is irreplaceable, unlike money. Money lost could be recovered, but time lost cannot be recovered. Why not make every second in the New Year count by utilizing software that will help you optimize your time, thus streamlining your work life?
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