As an entrepreneur, the concept of automation can be incredibly enticing. There are countless ads, programs, sales teams, and trainings promising a solution to all the mundane tasks that have been bogging you down in your day to day work. It can make it easy for entrepreneurs to jump into that solution without clear expectations or understanding. There are some important questions to ask when deciding what to automate.
Typically, when asked “What do you use [insert costly “solution” name here] to do?” overwhelmingly the answer is “For my business!” Unfortunately, this isn’t really an answer.
What is that system supporting you in accomplishing? What is the benefit of using that platform? Did you define your process or did you define your work to fit the system?
The best approach in automating your business is to first define WHAT you do and then determine the systems that can support you in doing that work. If you do the reverse, you will be limited to the functionality of the system you choose and will inadvertently adapt your process to those limitations.The best approach in automating your business is to first define WHAT you do and then determine the systems that can support you in doing that work. -Janelle Doll Click To Tweet
Before jumping into finding the perfect tool to automate, ask yourself these important questions:
Where have I allowed my client to define my process? Is this the most efficient way to deliver my service?
What do I find myself doing repetitively? Where am I recreating the wheel? What could I put into a system or template?
Where is time spent that is not the best use of my skill set? Are their things I want off of my plate so I can focus on the work only I can do?
What do I have a hard time keeping track of? What seems to fall through the cracks regularly?
What would allow me to grow my business bigger than what I’m capable as an individual (or small team)?
What tasks might I want to have someone (or system) support me with? How would I communicate those tasks efficiently?
What makes working with me unique? What do I not want to lose in my process?
What would improve my client’s experience working with me? How might I increase visibility or communication opportunities?
Once you have clearly defined WHAT you need to do, then you can find the proper platform to support you.
On demos and sales calls with that platform’s team, you’ll know exactly what questions to ask and where their functionality will or will not work for your business. This will help you find the right fit for you, instead of being sold on a platform that won’t accomplish what you need.
With your processes well defined and systems in place, you can easily identify opportunities for automation! Keep in mind, it is possible to automate anything. What you’ll need to define is what makes the most sense to automate for your business.
If you pride yourself on high touch, personalized customer service, automating email follow-ups may not be the best fit for you. If you spend hours each week scheduling clients, an appointment tool is likely a great idea!
Equally important to note – just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it. Define and outline the aspects of your business that are dependent upon your expertise & require your energy – the things that no one else can do!
Once you automate the other parts of your business, you’ll have the capacity & bandwidth to focus on the part you love – which is the reason you started this business in the first place!
No matter what you choose, be sure you take the time to define the process, consider the impact to your client and team, and commit yourself to use that process and system.
Janelle Doll is the Director of Operations at Hera Hub and supports with the expansion efforts outside of San Diego. She also consults solopreneurs and small teams looking to add efficiency, clarity, and automation to the processes and systems in their work.