Like I mentioned on Monday, October is “Computer Learning Month.” In the video, I encouraged you to take a look at how often you take the time to work on continuing education and growth. If you are like many other entrepreneur business or life coach, it probably has been a while.
To help spark some ideas, today I want to share the top five areas of your business that you should start automating right now (if you haven’t done so already). The learning curve on my suggestions should be relatively quick. And, as a perk, these suggestions are either low cost or free. 🙂 (Psst: I am NOT an affiliate nor compensated in any way for any of these suggestions.)
1. Automate Your Appointments
I am floored at how many coaches I talk to who still use email to book appointments with potential clients, current clients, or other people. Going back and forth takes time, effort, and can get frustrating. So, stop it!
There are many options for online scheduling to choose from and many that integrate with your calendar and/or has lots of bells and whistles. There are some free ones for basic use too. Personally, I am using the premium version of Calendly. It suits my needs just fine and is very easy to use.
2 Automate Your Social Media
I am a firm believer that each person needs to show up and be personally active on social media. It is the only way to build authentic relationships with your potential clients, colleagues, vendors, and fans.
Having said that, there is still a lot of wiggle room that allows for automation. For example: You can automate links to previous blog posts, create polls, ask questions, post some quotes. If you automate these types of content, you can make better use of your time to actually give value and connect with others, while knowing that you and your content are still being seen via the automated posts.
Of course, and this won’t surprise you, I highly recommend you delegate the scheduling of your social media content to a VA or Social Media Manager. There is absolutely NO reason why you should be spending your time gleaning your content (or other expert’s content), creating images to go with it, and and setting up the day and time for it to go out.
3. Automate Your Customer Support
Let me start by saying that in order to have stellar customer service, the human “touch” is essential. Customers, potential customers, and anyone who contacts you for support should be able to have some sort of human interaction.
That doesn’t mean you can’t automate part (or most) of the process. Even if your business is small, there are ways to centralize how you handle customer support. One way to do this is through a help desk. Using an online help desk can help prevent any requests getting lost and allows for a “paper trail” to keep track of all stages of a specific inquiry.
There are many services, such as Zendesk or Freshdesk that can provide the software and the people for support. Or, like one of my clients, you can do it in house. She uses a free service called Spiceworks. Any or all of the team members can have online access and notifications sent to them. It is easy to set up, It is easy to create specific inquiry types, and it is easy to assign specific team members to respond to specific requests.
4. Automate Your Customer Management
If you aren’t using a CRM (customer relationship management) system, you may want to consider doing so sooner rather than later. In fact, the sooner you start using a CRM system, the easier it will be to set up and the smoother your business will run.
What is CRM? I really like this definition by Tim Ehrens, “Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving customer service relationships and assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth.”
There are many ways to automate CRM, and how you choose to automate CRM depends largely on the goals and focus of your business. An all-in-one CRM system can be costly; however, they are usually worth the cost before long. A couple of the most well-known systems are Infusionsoft and Salesforce.
5. Automate Your Team Management
How do you keep track of who is doing what on your team? How do you handle client on-boarding, task management, and your SOPs (standard operational procedures)? Do you have a central place where you can keep all of the documents and necessary information for your business?
If not, you will want to create one asap. I can guarantee if you are struggling with your team, if balls are being dropped, and important information is getting lost or scattered between several computers, using some sort of shared work space will be a god-send. It will help you and your team stay organized, stay on track and stay on purpose.
As an online business manager, I absolutely insist that everyone (owner included!) run everything in the business through a shared work space. It saves time, money, and headaches!
There are many different kinds of work spaces, such as Basecamp, Coaches Console, or Slack. There are even some decent free ones such as Freedcamp (I use this!). Freedcamp also has a paid version for additional features and goodies.
Naturally, there are other areas of your business (and life) that you can and should automate. If you have read my blog for even a short time, or know me at all, you know that I am passionate about automation! It is one of the first things I look at when I start working with a new client, and I encourage you to take a little time to think about ways you can automate your business so it can run as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
P.S. When you are ready, here are four ways I can support you in your business:
1. Snag a copy of the free report, “5 Ways an Online Business Manager can Impact Your Business and Increase Your Profits.“
In this report you will discover just how much freedom and success you can have in your business if you stop doing everything alone.
2. “Like” my Facebook page.
It is the place to be to get free weekly training, support, and encouragement in growing and automating your business.
3. Sign up for a Business Audit Mini-VIP Session.
During this session, you will discover the gaps and holes in your business processes, where in your business you can delegate and automate, and get a strategy to help you make more money, take better care of your clients, and create a better work/life balance.
4. Work with me and my team privately.
I have several packages and programs to help you run a successful, profitable, and enjoyable business. I can help you see the big picture of your business and then create a strategy to move your business forward. Then, I can help you implement that strategy. Take a moment to learn more and get on my calendar today.