The point of building a business is to eventually fire yourself. Yes. Your job as an entrepreneur is to be so successful that you eventually train your replacement. This could mean selling your website or it could mean scaling to the point where you only make decisions and do none of the work. But until then, you should constantly be looking for ways to lessen the burden on yourself and your employees if you have them.
“The market rewards business leaders for making things more efficient.” So, why not seek that reward by automating as much as possible in your business? In the next few paragraphs, I’ll outline some awesome ways you can automate various aspects of your business.
1. Automate Your Marketing
A 1500 word blog post takes the average marketer 3 hours to complete. That includes research, editing, images, promotion, and SEO.
Add on top of that PPE, marketing funnels, e-mail marketing, etc. and you’ve got a mountain of work to do. Why not automate your marketing so you have more time to work on the rest of your business?
While you might spend capital upfront on automation, the time you spend on your business will more than make up for lost dollars.
2. Find and Eliminate Redundancy
I worked for a non-profit for seven years. When you’re a non-profit that receives government funding, you have to bow to government regulations. And often, the government demands redundancy.
Some individuals thought this meant they should create redundancies nobody asked them to create. It was a fear response to government oversight.
As a quality assurance director, I reversed this trend. I took employee surveys and combined redundant questions. I utilized the digital tools the IT department gave us. I made everything as seamless as possible.
Do this in your business. If you employ a team, talk with your team and find out where people’s jobs overlap. If you’re a one-person show, look at where you can re-use and duplicate content across your social media and marketing.
3. Machine Learning and AI
Worried about the future of prices? How about whether your digital marketing budget is spent wisely?
You can assuage any fears you have about these things with AI and Machine Learning. Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure both offer competitive rates on machine learning and AI tools for businesses.
You can easily take data points from your business and run them through a machine learning algorithm to predict trends and future cost points. Soon, you’ll be relying on machines and less on yourself.
4. Keep it Simple, Keep it Easy
It’s easy to overcomplicate automation. Remember, this is supposed to make life harder and not easier. If your automation programs are overwhelming, it’s time to figure out why.
Some people, like my predecessors at the non-profit, think that complication is safe. If they keep it complicated, that means they’re getting “all the data.”
But what happens when you overcomplicate and get nothing done? The biggest problem with what my predecessor did was the fact he scared employees away from giving him information.
When you streamline the process, you will experience less resistance. You’ll consequently get more information than you would have with a more complicated system.
5. Once You Scale, Contract Out
It’s rare to find a company that doesn’t have an in-house team. With an in-house team, communication is easier and more effective.
But burdening your in-house team with menial tasks or monumental tasks they’re not experts in will sap your team’s energy. This is where outsourcing and automation come in.
You want to find the tasks your team might be good enough at but distract from the ultimate goal. These tasks are the ones you should outsource to a contracted team.
6. Streamline Communication
I have a software engineer friend who is working on a new kind of communication software. It allows a team to be in constant contact while working through voice communication. The goal is to simulate an office environment remotely.
Programs like this are revolutionizing how we work either remotely or even within an in-house team. No longer do you need to hike it five floors up to talk to the other department. Nor do you have to conduct specific meetings to specify information.
Once you have a team you’re working with, check out programs like Slack and Trello. You’ll find that with your team only a click away, you’re going to get work done faster and more efficiently.
7. Outsource Loyalty Programs
Customers almost expect loyalty programs these days. Every major business has a “club card” of some sort. Even small businesses are able to have “exclusives” for loyal customers thanks to programs like Clover and Loyverse.
Some of these systems actually include point of sales for small businesses. Customers can load up on a charge account and not have to use a card when they come in to buy.
Often websites will include similar services for their customers. If you’re an e-seller, it might be time to research some loyalty and POS automation tools for your website.
8. Your Eventual Goal is 20 Minutes a Day
This is especially true if you’re running an e-commerce business. You should outsource and automate so much of your business, that you only need to spend 20 minutes a day working on it.
You have to trust others to do the work at some point. This might be hard for people who need to feel in control. But you can do it.