❓Question: Do any of these sound familiar?
A key team member is unexpectedly absent and everything falls apart – deadlines are missed, orders are delayed, and customer complaints are piling up!
OR do you have several “déjà vu” moments going over the same topic with different colleagues?
These are some of the typical signs of inefficiencies in your business.
Handling these inefficiencies would save (your sanity 🙂), money, time, and even help attract a higher valuation multiple should you decide to sell your business.
Here are 10 ways to optimise and automate your business in 2023.
- Automate repetitive tasks: Identify tasks that are repetitive and time-consuming, and see if they can be automated using tools like workflow automation (e.g. Zapier) or robotics process automation (RPA).
- Use project management software: Implementing project management software can help streamline processes by providing a central hub for communication, task tracking, and document sharing. It’s 2023 and with so many free and freemium offerings, let’s all say no to tracking tasks via emails 🙂
- Implement a customer relationship management (CRM) system: A CRM system can help automate and streamline customer interactions, sales processes, and marketing campaigns. It is important to choose the right CRM depending on the needs of your business – e.g. Sales/ Deal Management CRM e.g. Pipedrive OR Workflow Management e.g. monday.com, Podio Inc OR Mail Automation e.g HubSpot
- Implement data analytics and reporting tools: By collecting and analyzing data (in real-time), you can identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in your processes and find ways to streamline them. No more fire drills to find data – with tools like Microsoft Power BI, and Tableau you can create dashboards and have a unified view of your business operations.
- Centralise and digitise documents: Transitioning from paper-based to digital document management can save time and reduce errors by making it easier to access and share information e.g. Odoo Document Management System; Digital Asset Management software – Adobe Experience Manager, Cloudinary
- Automate financial processes: Make financial reporting less painful. Implement tools that can help automate financial tasks such as invoicing, expense tracking, and payroll e.g. Xero, Zoho
- Implement a cloud-based infrastructure: Moving to the cloud can help businesses access and share information more easily and reduce the need for manual data entry. Also, should we have another unforeseen event like Covid, your business has better resilience – you can potentially access your data from any internet-connected device.
- Use online collaboration tools: Tools like Slack, Miro, Mural can help teams communicate and collaborate more efficiently and reduce the need for in-person meetings.
- Optimise your hiring process: Automating the hiring process, such as resume screening and scheduling interviews, can save time and improve efficiency e.g. Workable, Workday
- Optimize your supply chain: Analyzing and streamlining your supply chain can help reduce lead times and improve efficiency. This might involve implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or using software to optimise inventory management e.g. Microsoft Dynamics 365, NetSuite
⚠️Caution: With so many tools and systems – it is important to have a clear strategy before you start your automation journey. Otherwise, you may end up not getting the expected return on investment and have a plethora of poorly integrated systems.
How to Get Started (The Easy Way):
- Identify your Customer Journey Flow. Your business probably has a lot of processes – attempting to automate all at the same time would be overwhelming. Most businesses benefit from starting with their customer journey first. E.g. Instagram > Discovery Call > Sign Up > Payment > Onboarding > Delivery > Support & Aftercare.
- For each step above, you use a screen recording software (e.g. Loom) to record yourself as you do the task. If the task is a physical task, you could record the task being done with a camera.
- These videos can be sent to a virtual assistant or consultant to help create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) & flow charts.
- These videos and SOPs can be stored in a visual and easy-to-navigate format on an internal repository site e.g. Notion.
- Once documented and illustrated, the steps & processes can be reviewed to identify inefficiencies and opportunities for automation.
Addressing inefficiencies may seem challenging but with a well-defined plan – it can be approached incrementally with compounding benefits – including improved customer & employee retention.
Which of these 10 common ways of automation can your business most benefit from? Let me know in the comments.