When you became contractor, you thought you would find some form of freedom. Now it is the other way around: you are drowning in tasks and the responsibilities and no longer find a minute of your own for your family, your friends, your former hobbies… Perhaps you are even cutting back on your sleep to lengthen the days. Stop! It's true that you have to give your all when starting a business, but you're still supposed to find fulfillment there, not a new form of slavery. Your business should not be a ball that you drag around like the convicts of old. The solution ? Automate! In this article, I explain how to automate your business in three key stages.
1. Lighten your business operation
Analyze your real needs
First, a first point. Do you really have to drag such a big burden behind you? Or, in other words, are all the tasks you do every day really must-have? I'd be willing to bet it wasn't. According to Pareto law, 80 % of our results come from 20 % of our efforts and the time that we devote to it. Conversely, this means that 80 % of our efforts only bring us 20 % of our results. So why keep producing these 80 % efforts? My goal is not to help you better distribute these 80 % of unproductive tasks in your diary. My goal is to lighten this agenda that is creaking everywhere so that you gain visibility, clarity of mind and comfort of life. In time, quite simply. The entrepreneur burnout is not a myth.
You can't put an elephant through the eye of a needle, I think you'll agree with that. If you have too much to do each day in your 24 hours, you will never get there. Yes you have goals to reach. But you don't just have to be efficient and hit the mark. You also need to get results in the most economical way possible. That's what we call be efficient. You must achieve your goals (quantitative and qualitative) by spending a minimum of time and effort. That doesn't mean you're going to rush the job, not at all. Rather, it means that you are going to put in just the right amount of time, without waste.
The purpose of a automated business is to combine efficiency and performance to save you time. Time, this precious resource that you rightly have the right to use to do something other than… work.
Sort through your tasks
How to automate your business? Here is what I advise you to get started:
- take an inventory of all your tasks and analyze them lucidly;
- ruthlessly eliminate all those that bring little or no results (example: check your mailbox twenty times a day!);
- sort it out between those:
- that could be done without problem by software ;
- that are repetitive but must be done by someone ;
- that require your expertise and have a high added value.
Your fetlock must already be a little less heavy, right? Let's continue our momentum!
2. Automate the repetitive tasks of your business
Group repetitive tasks
Some activities are both repetitive and very time consuming. They need to get into the bath. Taking care of it piece by piece increases the effort and time required to overcome it. The solution: group these tasks and schedule yourself a periodic window (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually) to deal with everything at once. This method is very efficient for establishing invoices to customers or for paying invoices. You can also decide to take care of the mail only once a week. Or to process all your emails once a day instead of checking your mailbox every half hour ... or, worse, interrupting yourself in your task every time the smartphone rings. By the way, turn off notifications!
Use business software
How? 'Or' What automate your business with the new IT tools offered on the Internet? Many software are essential according to the companies, especially if your business is done online. However, be careful! Choose them carefully, to serve real needs. You've sorted out your tasks, don't waste the time you've managed to save with a host of tools that aren't always suited to your needs.
I still explain how to automate your business with the auto-responder and the post planner. These are two tools that could really be of use to you, especially in your Marketing strategy.
If you mess around with a lot of customers and prospects, you may want to use an auto-responder. These are tools that automatically send emails to your subscriber list and therefore allow you to make emailing campaigns on a large scale. They save precious time. (However, I advise you to personalize your emails in your exchanges if you have few interlocutors, because nothing can replace the added value of an authentic contact.)
Among the autoresponders most used in business, we find ActiveTrail, SendinBlue, SmartrMail, etc.
In the same way, you can save a standard e-mail in your mailbox, which will be sent to your correspondents as soon as they try to contact you. You will explain that you only log in once a day and that, if it is urgent, they can call you by phone. Logging out of your email is going to have a crazy effect on your productivity and your concentration, I promise you! (And if the subject interests you, I recommend this interesting article which shows that connectivity is not at the service of productivity.)
The publication planner
If you have a blog and if you are present on social networks (which I strongly advise you, as you will see in this article about online marketing and its goals), you can use tools that put your content online on different platforms at a predefined frequency (example: Buffer).
Many others productivity tools exist, some of which are free: Trello, which allows you to generate task lists long term and editorial calendars (among others), Calendly, a meeting scheduling software, MeisterTask, which tracks the'progress of a project in real time, etc. To be studied and adopted on a case-by-case basis, after having analyzed your needs.
Do you still feel hampered by your "ball"? We continue with a third essential step: delegation.
3. Delegate tasks or how to automate your business thanks to the human element
Choose competent people
Theautomation of your business also goes through the human element. There are no computer tools for everything, and fortunately: a after sales service robotic would lack user-friendliness. It is wise for a business owner to delegate to others when they are more competent or when the task is very repetitive and / or time consuming.
Too often, entrepreneurs want to do everything themselves. It's laudable, but you can't be good at everything: accounting, marketing, video montage, graphics, etc. If you run a small publishing house, for example, your core business is discovering and promoting literary talent and making their works available to readers. I guess you're not going to do the translation of foreign texts and book covers yourself. Besides, even if you are competent, is it wise to multiply the tasks? Remember you want automate your business to save time.
Be careful, you only have to delegate the tasks that are essential! You've sorted it out, remember that. Delegation is not transferring a burden that is useless to your employees or service providers, but entrusting tasks that are essential to the development of your business.
Delegate tasks with confidence
At the start of your delegation, you will probably keep an eye on the completion of tasks, to verify that everything is going well. However, the point is that your contractors and employees can act without waiting for your direction and permission. This is the only way to really save time. Fight your dread of losing control, people are generally much more competent when trusted. Give your service providers and employees as much information as possible and the necessary means so that they can make decisions and act in the sector assigned to them. Google Doc, Dropbox, Google Drive can be used asbusiness management tools efficient thanks to their online sharing functionality (and they are free).
Thus, the ball that became your business when you had to support everything on your own becomes a motor that drives your entire business forward. And you save time without losing anything in efficiency and performance!
Does this vision of an automated business in which you free yourself from the weight that hinders you inspire you? Where are you in the daily management of your business ? If you are struggling more and more with tasks and no longer know where you are going, react immediately before you lose motivation. Knowing how to automate your business often requires an outside look, because it is not easy to distinguish the essential from the superfluous. I offer you my expertise, with more than twenty years of assistance in the creation and management of a business. Call me for a free first phone meeting!