Setting up systems for success

8 tips to help you automate your small business

Whenever you are starting out as a small business owner there are certain things that are a necessity for the survival of your business.  In order to be productive there are several parts of your business that should be automated. Although, as the business owner we know that automation needs to be done, it is often the first thing to fall by the wayside especially when hundreds of other items may take priority over it.

With some up-front planning and the right automated tools and resources you can put several parts of your business on autopilot.  Here are 8 tips to help you accomplish this!

  1. Automate Your Sales: If your business is one that sells a product then all your automated marketing should have a link that leads to a site that allows them to buy or at least place an order even if it requires your attention before the sell can be finalized. A great tool for this is an E-Commerce site like Squarespace or Wordpress to automate your sales process.

  2. Automate Your Follow-up: After a person contacts your business you should follow-up with them.  An email is always a great way to show your business cares and appreciates their business.  Even if the contact does not turn into a sale you can thank them for their time and let them know that you welcome them to come back and try your services at any time. If you land a client there should be an email that thanks them for trusting you and your product or service. After you start delivering the product or service, you should send out a survey email  asking them how your product or service is working for them. What many owners don’t realize is that this not only secures a long term relationship with the client but serves as a means of marketing.

  3. Outsource: Many people don’t consider outsourcing a means of automating things but it is. When you need something done on a daily or weekly basis you can have another company automatically do these things each week without you having to give it a second thought.  It’s a great way to further your business and start to scale it.

  4. Automate Your Contacts: A lead can contact your business at any time of day. You need to have a system in place that allows that potential client to leave their information on your site when you are not online. Most sites use Contact Us forms or something similar. What is often forgotten is the need to initiate immediate contact.

  5. Automate the Tracking of Your Customer Support: There are support issues involved in every business and 9 times out of 10 they need to be handled by someone other than the owner. This is why there needs to be an automated way to send support tickets to the necessary department. Having a special email just for customer support can do this. It beats having to forward the information or having to be the middleman in any situation. There is even software that allows support tickets to be created and the process be sent out to the client and the owner. When the issue is resolved the ticket is closed out and everyone is on the same page.  This instills confidence in the client.

  6. Automate Your Complaint Follow-Up Methods: No business owner ever wants to deal with complaints but it has to be done. Automating is your way to deal with the complaints when you are ready yet giving them immediate attention. You would be surprised how many complaints go away by the person receiving an email that apologizes for the trouble.

  7. Automate Your Marketing: Blogs like WordPress and Squarespace allow you to schedule your posting for days, even months in advance. This is great for the small business that rely on these posts to drive traffic to their site. There is no way that we as the owner, can be online 3 to 4 time a day to schedule a post.  Using a blogging service that allows you to put that worry behind you and focus on other parts of your marketing is crucial to your business success. Email marketing is another great source to automate your business. You can create a series of emails to go out to possible leads at scheduled times.  This will allow you to target new clients while continuing to give special care to the ones you already have.

  8. Automate, Automate, Automate: Once you learn how simple your life can become with automation then find that pretty much  everything is possible to automate to someone other than yourself. Did you know you can even automatic your coffee break? Yes, your cup of coffee can be put on automatic thanks to coffeemakers that work on a timer. Automate your lunch, have an automatic attendant answer your calls or send an automatic response to your emails. If you are organized enough you can have your business automated to the point where it can continue to function even when you have to be away for a few days.