Business is about freedom, not just making money. Truly successful entrepreneurs have companies that run and grow with and without them at the helm and, for this, they get time to pursue more important endeavours. How? In short, “automatisation”. They’ve established systems that are automatic, organised and repetitive—relieving them of menial grunt work so they can focus on more important things. In a sense, for every hour that they put in creating these systems, they get back countless more because they’ve set up a way to avoid doing the same tasks twice.
Run your business. Don’t let it run you.
Running a business requires hard work, but it shouldn’t take over the other areas of your life. I like to tell clients that, if they automatise their business well, they should be able to take vacations and balance personal time easily. Many don’t believe me at first, but once they see how efficient these structures make their workload, they are on board.
Invent the wheel and save yourself time.
Automatisation is an investment. It takes time and, in some cases, money upfront, but in the long run, it saves you much more of both. A simple analogy is a wheel. Prior to the invention, humans were just lugging things around, labouring day-by-day and accepting the status quo as the norm. As the wheel and axle were complex inventions, they took time to create, but they ended up saving the inventor (and the rest of the world) countless hours in time and efficiency.
A better example, more closely related to business systems, is email organisation. Let’s say you get hundreds of emails a day and spend hours sorting through them. Efficient entrepreneurs find this process maddening, so they organise their inbox to filter the most important messages into categorised folders. This lets them address the most important matters first, while filtering the other emails to folders organised by a hierarchy of importance. It doesn’t take long to re-arrange your inbox, but the amount of time and stress it saves you, especially if you are running a business, is exponential. If you’re extra efficient, you’ll take this process further by instilling a delegation system for most of your communications—meaning that you’ll only answer the most necessary messages while delegating the rest to employees.
Processes you need to have.
There are several areas of business that, like email, must have some form of automatisation. These include:
Lead Generation and Sales
How are you attracting customers and monitoring the data? When you convert a sale, how are you documenting it and ensuring you can not only replicate the process but improve upon it? Today’s successful brands use a blend of internal systems and technology to ensure they can consistently attract and convert leads automatically.
Marketing and advertising
How are you creating your ads, and what channels are you using? You can’t simply throw ads out on a whim. They have to be part of a larger plan and campaign, one that has set targets and goals, from generating awareness to making sales. How is your marketing being carried out? Do you have a system to track action items day after day? If this sounds like a lot of work, you’re right, it is. But, it’s easily managed when you have the right systems in place.
Product and inventory management
If you don’t have an automated way to track and manage your inventory, you will have big problems from the get-go. In a heartbeat, you should be able to find out how many items you have in stock, how many you need to re-order and what your projections are looking like for the next quarter. Moreover, the ordering and maintenance of the products should be automatic—no last-minute phone calls, frantic emails or apologies to customers.
If you are still sending invoices one-by-one or are manually inputting your revenue into spreadsheets, then you don’t have an automatised system set up. Every pound that you earn should automatically be tracked and inputted for you, leaving you to simply check the numbers, not create them.
Are you fielding most of the phone calls? Is it eating up all of your time? Then you need to create a process that delegates the least important calls to someone else. There are countless ways in our current age to do this economically, from setting up chatbots to hiring virtual assistants. It’s as simple as creating the process and letting the automatisation do the rest.