Automating Your Business Workflow
Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Why do you need to automate your business workflow?
I know the supporters of “grind culture” aren’t going to like this but I have a secret to tell you... It is okay to take shortcuts and prioritize working smart over working hard when you are a business owner. Contrary to popular belief, it is not mandatory to sacrifice the best years of your life to successfully scale a business. For humans, rest and self-care are major keys to maintaining longevity in all aspects of life, including work. This is why it is so important to create a workflow that is efficient for your business operations and aligned with your ultimate vision of success.
What does it mean to automate your workflow?
How many times have you mistakenly sent an important email to a client without the attachment or completely forgotten to follow up with a potential client altogether? By automating tasks, you not only save time but you cut down on clerical errors, too. Automating your workflow is a great strategy for saving time and making business operations more efficient. This is especially great for solopreneurs that have a lot have a lot of moving parts to their operations and want to avoid becoming a slave to their business. Furthermore, saving time is like saving money. Who wouldn’t want their business to bring more income?
For some businesses, automating the workflow looks more like using robots to handle customer service or data computing. For other businesses, automating the workflow may look more like the implementation of software and platforms that perfectly fit their needs. According to Sergio Suarez at VentureBeat, “there are different approaches to workflow automation that pose different advantages to different organizations, and an informed decision between the two is critical.”
No matter how a business owner decides to operate their business, every new implementation should be made with the idea of long-term success in mind. That long-term success is achieved when the business owner takes the time to examine where the business is
How to Decide Which Tasks Should Be Automated
After reading this far, I’m sure you’re now wondering exactly how you can get started on this journey to automating your business. First, you must decide which of your daily and on-demand tasks take up a large portion of your time, causing you to burn out and sometimes lose sight of the big picture? Now, Consider whether you will gain more value from automating those tasks or outsourcing them.
As an example, let’s look at a hair stylist and consider what automating those business operations would look like.
Most stylists really love what they do, but running a business while also being the one to render the services can be time consuming. Most stylists want a booking flow that collects accurate information and doesn’t require so much interaction on their part. When you are conducting a service based business, you do not always have time to pick up your phone and respond to inquiries.
This is why platforms like Styleseat and Honeybook were created! With the right tools, you can book vetted appointments without having to take much time to wear your customer service hat. As the stylist, all you would need to do is set up a booking process that allows clients to book exactly what they need while allowing you to list all policies, procedures, and FAQs. There are also benefits to automating tasks after services are rendered. Think about how important it is to collect reviews from your customers and clients. Now consider the benefit of setting up an automated email to request client reviews. This could save a lot of time for someone with busy hands.
Beauty and Services aren’t the only industries that benefit from automation. Check out the list of software below to get a better idea of what you could implement to make your business operations smoother.
Software to Automate Business Workflow
Honeybook: Honeybook is a great platform for service based businesses that require meetings, onboarding steps, and project timelines for the success of projects.
Styleseat: The name speaks for itself! Use this powerful platform to conveniently book clients for hair, nails, or any other beauty-based appointment.
Calendly: Calendly is a platform that allows you to
Meta for Business: The Facebook application is one way to run a business page but Meta for Business offers way more features. Not only are you able to schedule posts right from the platform but you are also able to run multiple tasks and Facebook/Instagram accounts from one dashboard.
Hubspot: Hubspot is one of the best platforms for solopreneurs looking to scale their brands and educate themselves along the way. With their CRM software, you can automate your marketing tasks, use the SEO suggestions, and even utilize chat bots. Although primarily a software for customer service management, Hubspot offers so much more!
Hootsuite: Hootsuite is currently one of the most popular platforms for social media management and ad management. You can plan, schedule, and publish both social media posts and ad campaigns directly from their platform.
Most web hosting platforms, like Wix, also feature dashboards that allow you to do things like automate emails and post to social media accounts.
Software & Extensions
Microsoft To Do: This application is an amazing tool for someone looking to organize their tasks and make life and business more digestible. You can assign different tasks to different people, you can schedule recurring tasks, and you can even create multiple lists for the many compartments of your brand. One of my favorite things about this application is the ability to create multiple steps within 1 task, allowing me to add specific details without crowding my to-do list.
Grammarly: Grammarly currently has one of my favorite Chrome extensions on the market. You can use grammarly online and install the full application, but with the Chrome extension, Grammarly can follow you anywhere you need to write. It’s very convenient when you make a living as a writer and want to be sure your grammatical errors are corrected even outside of Microsoft Word.
Canva (Content Planner): The Canva Planner is the perfect tool for graphic designers and marketers that primarily use Canva for design. With the premium subscription, you can schedule multiple posts for multiple platforms and never miss a beat.
Other Options for Automating Your Business Workflow
If you are not currently in the position to hire employees, you still have the option to outsource work to contractors. When outsourcing, you can research the best option for working with a highly skilled freelancer to complete a project or task on a one-time or scheduled basis. The best part about working with freelancers is that the arrangements are flexible for their schedule, while being flexible for your business's outgoing expenses.
There are many other resources dedicated to making your life easier as a business owner. Evaluate which task could save you more time once eliminated, then look up other apps and software that will achieve that for you. Who knows… maybe you will become the mastermind behind the next life changing software for others in your industry.