We only have so many hours in a day, and running a small biz takes up a lot of time. It can often feel like your to-do lists are never-ending, and you're behind on a lot of tasks.
Quite often it can be the 'smaller' tasks that turn into ongoing, time-consuming tasks that you just don't have time for. It's very common to be hard on yourself and put the pressure on, but I'm here to save the day... let's talk automation, I promise you're going to like what I have to say.
Automation is the action of creating automated processes to transform your business into a more productive, efficient, and therefore profitable enterprise. It eliminates the need for you to manually carry out the task, providing you with the time you need to focus on other aspects of your business.
Told you that you'd like it! Here are some super easy and effective ways to get automating your business right away.
Keeping up with your correspondence can drain hours out of your day. So there are a few easy things you can set up on your emails to minimise the manual aspect.
Firstly, create templates! If you often get very similar repeat emails such as 'Where can I buy your products online?' for example, create a batch load of templates that answer these repeat queries and then just insert the template when you reply to that particular email! You can easily edit these templates each time you use them as well, to keep them a bit more personal.
Set up an email responder. An autoresponder is an email that is automatically sent to everyone who emails you. This is a great opportunity to instantly set expectations for those waiting to hear back from you. You can use it to advise when they can expect to hear back from you, when they WON'T hear from you, and any other common queries you often get.
Ensure you have an email signature with your business contact details, website, and social media on. It may seem simple, but having your title and contact information in your email signature saves having to manually type it out when people ask for it!
Invoices and Accounting
Who knew you had to be an expert accountant when you started your business!? Staying on top of your accounts, which invoices have or haven't been paid, and whether your books are in order can be a nightmare, and it can be so easy to lose track.
Automate your whole accountancy and invoice process! This can easily be done on apps such as Quickbooks, Freshbooks and Zoho. They handle mundane accounting tasks so you can focus on your business, and nothing ever gets missed again.
Use an app like Calendly to share a calendar where people can schedule a call with you in one click. This immediately saves the back-and-forth over email about who's available and when. You just have to update your availability on one calendar that can be shared with everyone easily. This is available for everyone to see and schedule a call with you automatically, which is then automatically added to your calendar blocking that time out! Job done.
Scheduling apps like Calendly also send automatic confirmation emails and reminders and automatically add the events to your calendars. So you won't need to manually email the client to remind them of your appointment or forget yourself because it will be on your calendar.
This is a big one, right? Social media is SO important for a small business marketing strategy but it sure is a time sucker.
Set aside a block of time to batch write and create your social media content, for whatever platforms you use, and schedule it in advance. There are so many great scheduling tools but my favourites are Planoly for Instagram and Buffer for all other sites.
It's also worth looking at sites such as Social Curator if you're stuck on what to post or don't have a heap of images to share, they have created content ready to go and easy to customise.
Blogs and Newsletters
Just like social media, using blogs and newsletters in your small biz is a key marketing tool. And, just like scheduling your social media, you can batch-write these in advance and schedule them. Most websites such as Wordpress, Squarespace and Wix all have integrated blog and marketing CRM systems set up for you to utilize the scheduling tool.
Want to learn more about maximizing your productivity and how to automate business tasks, get in touch with me and let's talk!
Creative Virtual Assistant at Kelp Collective