In some rare instances a business owner will come up with a great idea and from the very get-go be thinking the right way about productivity and scalability, but in most instances that couldn’t be further from the truth, especially for those bootstrapping in those early days.
And then sometime after launching, it becomes clear there’s more work to be done than people and time to do it.
I tell people, I help small business owners make more money with the help of automation and this is exactly what I do. I help clients increase their sales by building sales pipelines that make it really easy for them to know where there are inefficiencies in their business to help with prioritizing sales team efforts. I build amazing funnels that not only bring in new leads, but also convert those new leads into customers who then become repeat customers. As a result of my strategies, my clients have been rewarded with millions of dollars in increased sales.
But guess what wasn’t happening in my own business? Automation. Until recently, everything that was happening in Confluence Business Solutions was tucked away in my head and my trusty notebook. I have a Keap app that I pay for, but I wasn’t using it and I had project management tools that I could have used, but simply wasn’t.
But as my business grew, it became increasingly more difficult to keep up with the various tasks I was accountable for and when it came time to hire help, I was in no way prepared to offload the stuff trapped in my brain. Worse yet, I didn’t even have a plan on how to do it.
Now, we are a team of three and I am working on using the tools I advise my clients to consider in their business. I am actually using my Keap app for all things business and I’m working on bringing in tools like zapier to help things run more smoothly and efficiently. Moving everything into a project management tool allows not only my team and I to communicate, but also my clients.
The moral of my little story here is, it doesn’t matter what stage of business you are in, it’s never too late to bring automation in and while it takes a little time to get things set up, when it’s done, you have not only taken something off your plate and lightened the burden you’re carrying, you’re also guaranteeing it’s going to get done the right way at the right time.
Before I close, I thought I’d share the things I’m automating lately (some of these I’ve always done and others are new additions):
Social Media – when things get crazy with meetings and tasks, posting to social media is likely the first thing to go for me. I use the Facebook Creator Studio to create posts for Facebook and Instagram and I can schedule them out like other paid tools, but it’s free.
Webinar – I have hosted a few webinars in the last few months and it is so nice to be able to set up the entire program from beginning to end and then let go. I’m then able to focus on personal touches and getting my presentation organized.
Online Appointments – I think many business owners have embraced the online calendar, but for those that have not, this one is a must have. Online calendar tools allow you to create custom appointment types and simply share a link with a person you are trying to set a meeting with. Rather than sending emails back and forth trying to find a time that works for both parties, that calendar link is synced up to your calendar and only shows the dates/times you’re available. In addition, when they book their appointment, reminder messages are sent to them. I’ve done a lot of networking recently and this has been a huge help. Making the appointment is the easy part. Having them show up is not always so seamless. The reminders give me confidence the other person won’t forget to show up.
New Customer Onboarding – this has been a long wish and one that I have not made time for yet. In my new customer onboarding, I can choose what type of customer I am bringing on and that will send a welcome message, invoice, contract and a little surprise. I have also created a checklist to help keep track of all the tasks that need to be completed.
Invoicing – You know things are wild when you don’t have time to get yourself paid. In recent years, I simplified my pricing to allow me to create subscription based programs. When a customer chooses to buy a subscription it saves us both the hassle of sending the invoicing and remembering to pay it. It’s a win-win.