Who doesn’t love automation? Shopping carts and membership sites automate sales and content delivery. Email autoresponders automate relationship building. Calendar scheduling tools, such as Calendly, automate your schedule. This which puts an end to the frustrating back and forth of setting appointments. It also helps to avoid doubling up on appointments!

Not only does automation save you time, but it helps ensure quality and consistency as well. How confusing would it be to your customers if you didn’t have a shopping cart? What if you sent customers an invoice for every online sale? What if your 16-week group coaching course was sent to students by email in one week … and then on Facebook the following week?

Sure, these seem like silly and over-the-top examples. But this is exactly why automation tools exist. They exist to help businesses keep everything running like a well-oiled engine.

Can you automate everything? No. But you can put in place many systems in place to make running your business a lot smoother and easier. This allows you to concentrate on aspects of your business that best utilise your talents.

Document Everything

What would happen if your project manager or executive VA were no longer able to work? Could you train someone else to take over with ease? For too many small business owners, the answer to that question is a definitive NO.

If instructions for completing a task are only known by one person, then issues can arise. If that person becomes ill or leaves in a hurry, you would recover. But how long would that take?

This is where written instructions and/or written in-house policies come in! Documenting how tasks are completed in your business can make your life easier. This will make it easier to train a new VA with tasks to help you thrive with your business.

Seek Out More Efficient Systems

Just because grandma always kneaded her bread by hand doesn’t mean that’s still the best way to do things today. Now new stand mixers and bread machines take all the work out of bread making, while still keeping the flavour in.

How can you make your business more efficient? While still keeping the personality and brand that your clients love and trust?

Here are some things to consider:

  • A hosted help desk solution with “canned responses” to the most common questions. Click a button and answer in seconds instead of typing out a three-paragraph response. I use my customer relationship management (“CRM”) software for this
  • Template documents that are formatted in a way that matches your brand. This will save you hours on documents that are used often in your business. It will also ensure you have consistency in your branding
  • An automated email sent to leads that complete your contact form on your website. This is another great function of CRM software and is a time saver.

I’m a huge fan of using CRM software. It takes time to set up – however, once it has been set up it is a great time saver. There are plenty of VAs, including myself, who offer to setup CRM tools. I’m currently using (and loving) Dubsado and setting up Dubsado is one of my many services. It allows me to set up canned emails, questionnaires, and other forms and documents. You can read more about my Dubsado set-up services here.

It might also be time to upgrade your tools, if what you’re using is no longer as efficient as it could be. If your CRM can’t move customers from one email funnel to another based on their behaviour, you’re missing out. In such instance, consider upgrading CRM to make your sales process more automated.

Take a look at your business and the tasks you and your team perform every day. Where can you be more efficient? What tools would help you maximize your time? Can outsourcing tasks to a VA open up your time to concentrate on what you do best? Making changes in these areas will add hours to your business day. And it will reduce your overwhelm and stress levels as well.

Work smart, not hard – cats definitely know how to work smart!