I am talking about Automation and where does it make sense and where might it not in YOUR business – just because you can automate something – is this the best thing to do?
There are numerous places in your business to automate routine tasks, but where might be a good place to start?
I invite you to begin with looking at routine tasks that occur repetitively, in your business, and keep track of how much time you spend on them. Start with things like email – I know a big one for many people is scheduling sessions, with prospects or existing clients… how many times have you gone back and forth with a client trying to find a mutually convenient half hour to schedule a meeting? Have you ever thrown your hands in the air and said ‘there has to be a better way!!’ Well of course there is… Not everyone likes using automated schedulers, but from a provider viewpoint, there is no denying that they save you time, avoiding the back and forth emails – you set up your availability and hey, presto, your calendar fills up, at times you know you are available… This can work very well, especially if you are diligent about keeping your availability up to date…
The potential downside is that some clients REALLY dislike using automated scheduling and especially with potential clients, this can be a turn-off to getting started, or if a convenient time doesn’t look possible straight away, they will use this as an excuse to never connect… so what’s a busy entrepreneur to do?
In the case of scheduling, I would recommend that for a prospective client, you actually take the time to schedule them, or better yet, start to outsource the scheduling aspect and let the potential client set up a time with your assistant, who has access to your calendar and your clients still receive the personal touch. This approach also works best with any high-end clients you might be bringing into your programs. If you kept a track of the time you spend on these tasks currently and what you could so with that time if you had it to do over… outsourcing might be a much less expensive solution than you might think. For recurring clients, I would take time to explain, as they begin with you, that the regular, on-going meetings are scheduled with an automated tool, such as TimeTrade or ScheduleOnce, so they know what to expect and have instructions.
So where else can you and should you automate? Absolutely have Autoresponders in place where you can… when someone joins your list by requesting something from your site, absolutely send a welcome email and let them know what to expect, as well as delivering their requested materials. It can also make sense to send a sequence of emails, to make sure they received the content and then to ask if they need more help, etc.
Scheduling your content to be released at a specific date and time, such as a newsletter or blog post can also be an excellent place to add automation. WordPress and most email distribution services have these schedulers built in and in this case – it makes absolute sense to do so. I believe the jury is still out on Social Media posting, I currently post live on Facebook when I am there and personally have no objection to reading posts via something like ‘HootSuite’ which allows posts to various sites and advance scheduling, but I know not everyone likes that approach, for social media to be, well social, should you need to be there?
I’d love to hear your feelings on Automation tools in your business, or that you experience doing business with others and see what you like and dislike… feel free to email me or pop over to Facebook and let me know.