My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
Do you believe that automation is the way of the future?
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, the term “automation” was really only used in manufacturing. The term was associated with the process of machinery and later robots building cars at speeds that would be impossible for human beings to accomplish. Today, automation is everywhere; from something as simple as touch screen auto-cashiers at your grocery store or fast food joint to the promise of Tesla’s self-driving cars soon to be seen on our streets. Automation is transforming our lives in ways that are both visible and invisible.
Is automation a good thing? Well, I can’t speak to auto-piloted cars, but when it comes to harnessing the power of automation to enhance your business, then the answer is ABSOLUTELY!
There are countless ways to automate the most time-consuming and repetitive tasks in your business; and once the automation has been set up, you won’t have to think about it again.
Below are two examples that I want to highlight. They are literally life-changing services that can revolutionize the way you operate your business. They certainly have made an impact on mine.
As a business owner, you understand the importance of efficient workflows. They can make the difference between chaos and order in the workplace. If you have proper workflows in place, business processes will go smoothly and without headaches. Wouldn’t it be great if all of your web apps would be as organized and efficient as those other processes?
This is where Zapier comes in. You can think of Zapier as sort of the middle man of web app management. All you need to do is connect all of your web services to Zapier, such as Gmail, Twitter, Evernote, Slack, etc. Using an incredibly intuitive and easy to learn interface, you can program Zapier with “if this, then that” workflows. For example, it can be a pain to have to manually transfer files around from your email client to your Dropbox. Not with Zapier. You can create a workflow so that, when Zapier recognizes that you’ve received an email with an attachment, it will automatically copy that attachment to your Dropbox, then automatically fire you off a message in Slack to inform you about the new file.
One of my clients uses Zapier in a very unique and sophisticated way that saves an impressive amount of time. In this case, she works with a content developer to develop her blogs. There used to be a very cumbersome process of providing the content developer with raw content that involved a lot of steps. She would have to record and save the audio file and manually send it to the transcription team. Once the transcription was ready she would have to login to the transcription service site, download the transcription, save the transcription in Google Drive, and then email the copywriter to inform them where they can find the file… It took way too much of her time.
That’s where Zapier changed everything! We connected Zapier to her Dropbox account, the transcription service site, Google Drive, and her email client. Now all she has to do is upload the audio file to her Dropbox and Zapier takes it from there. Without her doing anything, Zapier takes the audio file from her Dropbox, sends it to the transcription team, takes the resulting transcribed text document and moves it into a specific folder in Google Drive, and then emails the content developer with a link to the transcribed file. All we had to do was set up that workflow once, and now Zapier knows exactly what to do every time she uploads an audio file. It’s like magic.
CRMs (Customer Relationship Managers) are an essential part of running a business today. These programs help immensely, but even so, keeping track of your clients and remaining in contact with them at appropriate intervals can often feel like a full-time job. CRMs are supposed to make this process easier, but most of them just aren’t all that intuitive. You need to manually set-up tasks for yourself, which can take time and really add to your administrative workload. That’s why I recommend Contactually. It’s the smartest CRM I’ve ever used and has completely changed the way I keep in contact with my clients.
With Contactually, keeping in touch with your clients, partners, and referral sources couldn’t be easier. First, you connect Contactually to all of your business’ methods of communication, such as your email client, online phone service, and conferencing tools. Once you upload all of your clients’ contacts to Contactually, they’ll be organized into “buckets”, essentially client categories. These categories might include current clients, past clients, new leads, referral sources, etc. By syncing with your various communication methods, Contactually can track how often you’re in touch with specific clients.
How is this useful? Let’s say that you want to keep in touch with your active clients once a week, while you want to keep in touch with your past clients once every 45 days. Contactually monitors your communication activity and updates client contacts with information about when you last contacted them. If you have a current client that you haven’t contacted in six days, Contactually will remind you that it’s time to fire off a message or give them a call. Once you’ve programmed Contactually with your preferences, you won’t have to think about it again. No more updating client information with the last contact date, or missing client communications altogether. Contactually will keep an eye on things for you and make sure that nothing and no one falls through the cracks. Now, that’s smart!
One of the most remarkable things about these and other popular services is that they all work together to enhance their functionality. In fact, most of your programs probably have the capacity to work together, but you probably just haven’t set it up yet. Quickbooks can integrate with Infusionsoft, Harvest can integrate with Asana, etc., etc., etc. That’s the beauty of smart technology and automation. These service integrations are probably sitting there, just waiting for you to put them to good use. You’re probably doing a lot of unnecessary work that you could alleviate by leveraging these integrations.
The only problem is that it can take time to learn how to link all of these programs together. Many small business owners are paying for these automation services and don’t even know what they can really do. That’s where an Online Business Manager or high-level Virtual Assistant can step in and help to really free up your time. At Any Old Task, we know exactly how these services can work together and we can set them up so that they’ll work for you. Get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com. We can do the legwork to set up the automation, then you can sit back and let all of this smart technology take care of the rest!
Site by One6Creative • Photos by Aga Mortlock
Site by One6Creative • Photos by Aga Mortlock
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