6 Ways to Automate Your Business to Boost Efficiency
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”
Whether you’re a founder or an early employee, boosting efficiency is always a priority. The magic of saving time, money, or other resources while achieving the same results is always alluring to team leaders.
Here are 6 ways to automate your business in 2018 to boost your efficiency.
1. If you’re not using an email automation tool, get on that right away
Email Automation has been around forever, but there are still people who believe that the cost is not worth it. For a company with about 10,000 subscribers, a product like MailChimp, SendGrid, or SendInBlue would cost between $60 - 150 per month.
There is a huge efficiency gain to be had by using these email automation tools because of their built in logic. You can connect them to a tool like Shopify, if you’re an ecommerce company, and send conditional emails based on whether a visitor purchased or not.
Although time consuming to set up, you will gain huge efficiency gains in future months by diving deep into email automation.
2. Use an integration tool to create automatic workflows
Having all of these software tools in your business is great. But how do you get them talking to one another? That’s where tools like Zapier and IFTTT come into play. With these tools, you can link together any number of tools: from email and spreadsheets to survey tools, payment processors, CRM systems, and much more.
For example, you can use Zapier to create a rule (called a “Zap”) that automatically updates your survey responses into a Google Sheet. You can also add another step to that Zap that says follow up with the user who took your survey thanking them.
Here’s a great blog post by Zapier on their 300+ most popular workflows!
3. Regardless of who you use, use help desk software
Help desk software is popular amongst big companies. They love giving people ticket numbers and having them wait in queues. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Companies like Zendesk, Intercom, and Help Scout offer help desk software that is both affordable and feature-rich.
Help desk software helps organize all of the customer support messages you get into one convenient location, that’s the first time saver. But the real value lies in the ability to assign tickets to your team members and being able to save replies.
If you have a specific refund policy, turn that into a saved reply that can be sent with 1 click. Stop wasting time typing the same message over and over!
4. Use LeadCoin to buy hot leads for your business
Every business-to-business (B2B) company is looking for more leads. But given time and money constraints, finding quality leads can be difficult. LeadCoin, a two-sided marketplace for business leads, is here to solve that problem.
Their network lets businesses sell their less relevant leads and purchase hot leads from others. Instead of doing indirect marketing in order to capture leads, LeadCoin offers business a direct way of capturing the exact leads they want.
Here’s a quick example of how it works. A potential customer comes to a mortgage lender seeking a mortgage for a new home. The lender turns down the customer due to a lack of collateral and a below-average credit score. Instead of moving on from this potential customer, or lead, the lender can now sell this lead to another lender with more lenient requirements for mortgage applicants.
5. Hire a virtual assistant or contractor who works in another time zone
Founders and early employees work long hours, but they still need to (and should!) take breaks to eat, sleep, and clear their heads. This is where finding others who work in different time zones can be another way to drive efficiency.
For example, if you live on the West Coast of the United States (GMT -8), you can look for a virtual assistant or contractor who works and keeps GMT 0 or GMT +1. This means that you can get up in the morning, have a 1 hour Skype call (it will be 5:00 - 6:00 PM there), and review the work they have done. From there, you can pick up where they left off.
And when it’s time for you to go to sleep, you can send them an email or write them comments on what you’d like done!
6. Use email and social media extensions to post around the clock
Another way to make yourself more efficiency is to batch activities. It’s not great if you’re constantly switching between work, email, social media, and your phone every 5 minutes.
A Gmail plugin like Yesware or a social media manager like Buffer can really boost productivity. A popular feature of an email plugin is the ability to schedule posts. I use this feature to sit down, write 30-40 emails, and schedule them to go out early the next morning. Similarly, I often use Buffer to schedule 4 posts to go out on social media every week to keep our profile current.
Another benefit of Buffer or other social media managers is that you can link your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, so what is posted in one place is also posted on your other accounts!
A good rule of thumb is to automate a task that has little to no variance and requires little human oversight. For example, craft a beautiful email template once, send it to 2-3 people for their review, and then you’re done. You can keep that email working for you for months without thinking about it.
And, above all else, remember to not waste any time on tasks that shouldn’t be done at all! I hope these tips save you plenty of time, and boost your efficiency in 2018!