Are you feeling the overwhelm of owning your own business?
Stuck. Overworked. Tired. Stressed.
Are you chasing a far-off business dream and working your knuckles to the bone trying to keep up with all of the tasks you need to complete just to get through the day and not let your customers and staff down? Is your mind screaming for a break and your friends and family screaming for some time with you?
If that sounds like you, you are not alone.
There comes a time in every entrepreneurial venture where you realise you simply cannot do it all alone.
Sure, when you’re just getting started you really are the “chief, cook and bottle washer.” But as your business grows, it becomes painfully obvious that trying to do everything is only going to lead to:
- Frustration (when critical tasks don’t get done and deadlines are missed)
- Burn out (when you’re working yet another 12-hour day)
- Overwhelm (when your to-do list is longer at the end of the day than it was at the beginning)
There are many ways to combat this business-growth hurdle, but one of the best is automation.
Automating menial and administrative tasks means that you have more time. More time for you. More time for working on your business. And more time for the money-making tasks you should be focused on like client support, sales, marketing and building your business strategy.
There are so many tasks you can automate in your business, without it costing the earth. And, if it means that you have more personal time and more strategic time for your business, then it’s a massive win for your bottom line and sanity too!
So what can you automate? Almost everything, but start with:
Gone are the days of accepting cash and cheques, checking your bank account every day to see if you’ve been paid, and remembering to invoice customers on time. In almost every type of business, you have recurring payments that you need to schedule (clients on accounts, customers with memberships or clients on payment schemes).
So, how do you make this easier? Use a business payment system like IntegraPay that allows your business to accept credit card payments online, set up recurring payments in automated schedules and direct debit your customers according to an agreed schedule using Electronic Direct Debit Request forms and other easy to set up forms of business debit.
Once you set up the payments once with your client, the system is so smart, it keeps debiting the customer on time every time, and if the payment fails… then you are alerted and can follow up the payment easily to ensure you’re not giving away services or products that have not been paid for. Fabulous!
If you don’t get paid on time, you have no chance of being successful with your business cash flow and therefore overall scalability of your business growth. Chasing down late payments for your business is not only one of those cringe-worthy administration tasks, it also takes courage to do it right. Thankfully, you can now automate chasing late payments by using a system like IntegraPay. Our Pay Up Now functionality allows you to schedule debt collection emails and text messages, with an easy option for customers to make their late payment by credit card or direct debit. And, if you have your IntegraPay payment system connected to your accounting system, then it’s even easier because those payments are automatically reconciled to your account.
Sales Funnels and Marketing Automation
In case you missed the recent digital phenomenon, it’s now uber-cool to automate as much of your marketing as possible. Marketing has come a long way in the past few years and now there are easy to use systems that allow you to create customer journeys for your leads and clients to achieve all sorts of aims including onboarding, conversion, up-selling, down-selling and seasonal campaigns.
If you have a website and you use email for your business, we highly recommend you start using even the most simple sales funnel.
Pushing your advertising or leads through to an opt-in page, then once you have captured the email addresses as a new subscriber, using an autoresponder to set off a series of emails that achieve a sales, customer care or marketing aim is essential for your business. And, you can achieve some pretty astounding results as a result!
You can create automated emails for so many objectives. Here are just a few ideas:
- Welcome new subscribers and help them find their way around your site (and your offers)
- Nurture buyers so they know they’re in the right place
- Make additional offers based on what someone has already purchased or shown an interest in
- Send abandoned cart emails to those who almost buy but didn’t quite make it through the purchase cycle
And the best thing? Once your autoresponder is set up, it will continue to work even when you’re not.
Social Media Management
For most savvy businesses today, you need to have a social media presence, but managing your social media consistently is a time suck that you can avoid.
There are some excellent tools available now that allow you to consistently post to your social media channels at the right time for your clients, without you having to be there to push “publish” every single time.
If you use a tool like Buffer, you can spend an hour setting up your posts for the week (or even month!) and schedule them to publish at the right time for your audience. Voila!
If you have clients, partners, a team, or are often asked for interviews, then an automated calendar is a must. There are some amazing tools like Calendly now that allow you to embed your calendar into emails or your website so that clients, partners, customers and staff can choose a time that suits them without having the ping-pong emails attempting to schedule an appropriate time together.
Calendly also connects to most mail calendars and will automate reminders, allow you and your meetings to reschedule as well, so all round this is a time saving business automation tool you should try!
There are dozens of options for automating every aspect of your small business. Ultimately, we want your business to run smoothly and give you time back to allow you to focus on the areas that will allow you to grow and have some personal time too.
Implement these business automations and you’re well on your way to business success!