Have you ever chosen a day or two out of your week and tracked what you spend your time doing? If you did, you probably discovered you spent many hours on tasks that are not driving you to your goal. Some of these tasks may include scheduling appointments, sending emails, posting to social media and other processes that could be easily automated.
Of course, these tasks need to be done to have a successful business, but they are not allowing you to spend time on growing your business. That is why finding ways to automate these processes opens up an opportunity for you to focus on your long-term goals.
For me, I have automated any process that are repetitive or completed by multiple team members. Here are some examples of how I do that:
Think about the process of calling a doctor’s office. You, as the client, call during office hours – which may be your working hours – and speak to a receptionist. You discuss back and forth the dates and times to determine what is the best fit for you. Then, you look at your calendar to make sure you have no conflicts. Once you agree on a date and time, the receptionist adds the appointment to their scheduling software, as you add it to your calendar. Twenty-four to 48 hours before the appointment, you receive a reminder call from the doctor’s office.
Scheduling software, such as Acuity, removes several of those steps that involve you as the business owner. With scheduling software, you set your available hours each week or month. Then, the client accesses the software to book an appointment with you. You receive an automated confirmation email, as does the client. Twenty-four hours before the appointment, you both receive reminder emails automatically.
Social media is an essential tool that can be leveraged to establish yourself as an expert to potential clients. However, it can be daunting to stop doing what you are doing every two hours to post to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and more. Instead, take advantage of one of the many scheduling apps available, such as Preview. With these apps, you can set aside a few hours at the beginning of the week to schedule your posts for the next week or even month.
Here is a sample social media schedule:
By having a set schedule and preparing posts ahead of time, you can ensure you are varying your posts, as well as being consistent about when and how often your posts appear to potential clients. By receiving this information consistently, potential clients will see you as the expert in your field.
Do you find yourself writing the same emails over and over again? This is a time waster, and can be easily resolved by having a bank of template emails to refer to. Next time you draft an email to a client, ask yourself: Is it likely I will need to share this information again with another client? If the answer is yes, then use Google Docs to create a template for yourself. While it may be an extra step in that particular moment, it will save you 10 to 15 minutes each time you have to share that same information again. The added benefit is as your team grows, you can share all the templates with team member to stay consistent.
One common struggle with business owners is driving potential clients to the website pages that specifically meet their needs. Instagram in particular allows you to add only one link in the bio. If a client has specific questions – for example they want to access recipes – they would have to click the link to the main site and then navigate, instead of going directly to what they need.
Linktree allows you to create a site with all of your links listed out. What the client sees on Instagram is a single link, then Linktree directs them to what they need. This ease of navigation drives traffic to your site and to the specific areas you want clients to see.
When you are doing everything in your business, it can be easy to miss a step, or two. This takes away from the consistent client experience. Use a series of checklists to ensure the process stays the same from client to client. While lists may take extra time to create up-front, they allow you to actually create the most efficient process in the long run. For checklist ideas and free checklists that you can use, click here.
As a business owner, automations are not a luxury, but contribute to the survival of your business. As you grow, these little tasks will take up more and more of the time you do not have available. Whether this is Day One or Week One of your business, take time to evaluate what tasks you can automate to free up your time.