We all have the same 24 hours in a day and as a business owner we sometimes wish we could add a few more.
For many busy entrepreneurs that I speak to, we usually find that they are stuck with too many processes and not enough time. The best way to free up some time is to take a look at your business processes and procedures and find the ones that are tedious, repetitive, and redundant. The secret sauce (and usually my suggestion) – Stop manually completing tasks that can be automated.
Now, I also usually tell my clients, automate where it makes sense. Not all processes or procedures can or SHOULD be automated.
Let’s look at some of the processes that you are doing right now that you could probably automate:
When someone fills out your lead capture form on your website, they are usually ready to talk to you about moving forward with one of your services. The last thing you want is for them to be waiting for a response back from you. When someone is ready to invest, they are looking to start that process pretty quickly so you don’t want to leave someone hanging.
Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool like Dubsado, you can create a workflow that will automatically follow up with your leads. You can thank them for getting in contact with you and send them a link to book a call to talk more about their business needs. Best of all, using a lead capture workflow leaves your hands free to start doing some research on your potential clients!!
Social Media Scheduling
There are so many social media scheduling tools out there that will help you save hours a week. I usually recommend scheduling a week or more at a time so that you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you actually did put out a post for the next day.
Find something that works for you and the platform you are using. For Instagram, I usually recommend Planoly or Facebook Business Suite. For Linkedin and Twitter, a tool like Buffer is incredibly user-friendly and I usually post to Facebook using their native scheduling tool, Business Suite.
Best of all, the platforms listed above all have a free option that will work quite well for most small businesses’ needs.
Email Welcome Series
Having an opt-in or free download is great to get people on your email list, but you need to follow up with the people that have opted in for your freebie once they have downloaded your ebook, guide, or checklist. You definitely don’t want to leave them hanging and you certainly don’t want to have to leave post-it notes all over your monitor reminding you to send the next email to your new subscriber.
Using an email marketing program like Flodesk, you can create an automated email welcome sequence that welcomes them to your list, reminds them of how they can use your freebie, and eventually moves them to your newsletter so that you can send them educational and inspirational content.
Long Term Follow Up
It can be difficult to remember to follow up with a client when you have finished your project. I usually like to touch base with my previous clients around 6 months after we have finished working together and then again around a year.
That sounds like a calendar nightmare doesn’t it? BUT with Dubsado, you can create a workflow that sends an email to those clients with conditions you set after they finished working with you. It’s as simple as saying “180 days after the project is completed, send “Touching Base Email.” This will send an email you have previously created – which brings me to my next automation…
So, you don’t want to be all Rosie the Robot for every email that hits your inbox, but if you find that you are answering the same questions or sending the same response over and over again, canned emails might be the answer.
You are able to do this in Dubsado but you can also create canned responses through Gmail and with both of these, you can customize the email before you send it.
Adding canned responses to a workflow can really strengthen your relationship with your clients and streamline your processes. Think about sending your client an email on their birthday to foster that relationship and make it super streamlined by scheduling their email in advance with workflow automation! If you would like my 5 commonly used email templates, you can access them HERE or click the image at the bottom of this post!
No one relishes the thought of having to send a payment reminder. Using a CRM, you are able to attach a reminder email to send automatically if your client is late with a payment.
You can send a reminder on a due date or when the due date has passed and with some platforms, you are able to have a “Pay Now” button on the reminder so that your client can pay the invoice at the time that is convenient for them.
Pro Tip: If you have multiple payments, a CRM like Dubsado will keep track of your payment schedules for you so that you don’t have to sit down with paper and a calculator to figure out who has paid what and still owes you your fees.
Sending a reminder about an upcoming appointment to a client is a fantastic idea, but how many times does this slip your mind?
I use Dubasado as my appointment scheduler – for a few reasons. I can stop the back and forth game, which can be incredibly frustrating for you and your client. I also can start a workflow from a booked appointment and once a client has booked with me, I am able to send out automated reminders at the times I would like them to be sent. For me, that’s a day before and 1 hour before.
One thing I love about these emails is that there are buttons right in the email so the client can reschedule or cancel the appointment if needed, eliminating the need to send out more appointment times. Once a client hits that reschedule button, they are taken back to my calendar to rebook a time that works for us both!
Have you ever gone to dial a phone number and it just won’t come to you? I had this happen a few weeks ago when I went to call my oldest daughter. I wasn’t on my phone and for some reason, her number was lost somewhere in the depths of my memory.
Using a tool like Lastpass to store all passwords in a vault and automatically fill in that information when you go to log in is a gamechanger.
You can also use this tool to have your clients send their passwords and you will be able to log into their programs without them having to “actually” give you their private information.
Your To-Do List
Automating your to-list can save you tons of time, particularly on those repetitive tasks that you do.
You can set up your tasks to duplicate when they are finished and move to the next date that they need to be done. I assign myself to any tasks that are created in my task management system.
I automate email reminders to let me know when a task is coming up or *ahem* if I am overdue on a task. I have some dependencies in some tasks so I can’t actually move forward until the tasks previous are completed. I also make some completed tasks milestones, especially when I am working on a large and complex project with a client.
Technology has made it so there are a lot of programs out there to fit your needs. Click Up, Asana, and Trello all have amazing systems and each has its own robust systems, you just need to figure out what your needs are and look into what each program offers. Each of the 3 I mentioned above has free plans!
When you automate those repetitive tasks and processes in your business, you can devote that time to the things that really matter – like reaching those goals or growing your business, or doing the things that you love to do. Automating your business processes can be a total game-changer.
When I am working with clients and building out their workflows and where we can automate, I am looking for:
- Processes that are repetitive
- Processes that don’t require logical thinking
- Processes that don’t need any sort of personalized human touch
- Tasks that need to be consistent from client to client
After trying to get myself out of MY administrative work, I have ZERO regrets!
If you are loving the possibilities but don’t have the time to figure it all out (or don’t want to), head on over to my services and see how I can help you to set up Dubsado in your business. I actually LOVE doing it!!