I was propelled to share my experience on the usefulness of automation because of what I witnessed a couple of days ago at a well-designed and spacious business café where the business owner and her employees were grappling to meet the needs of their impatient customers.
Firstly, their internet facility suddenly lost connection with the internet service provider because they forgot to renew their subscription. Secondly, they were unable to print because they suddenly realized that they are short of papers.
As I watched from distance, I could see the disappointment on their customers’ facial expression. The café owner was equally frustrated and confused as she was trying to renew her internet subscription and at the same time ordering for inventories to meet the needs of her already dissatisfied customers.
I learned something that day.
No matter the size of your company, that you’re a solo entrepreneur does not mean you have to personally handle every aspect of your business. Too much of that will burn you out or get you sick.
Secondly, getting too busy in your business won’t let you to adequately concentrate on or think of business growth or expansion strategies.
Thirdly, you can never satisfy your clients by running solo, especially when there are too many business deadlines. Finally, working under pressure makes you prone to numerous mistakes which call into question your capability for further business deals.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve never hesitated to automate some aspects of my business to experts.
It was a business decision I made in order to give me time to do other things, especially ‘thinking’ and strategizing ways to make my business bigger, attractive and profitable. On the long run, I was able to increase my business productivity by 79%.
These are the aspects of my business I automated:
1. Business marketing strategy.
Every business startup needs one form of marketing strategy or the other to inform the target market on the availability of a particular product or service. You will agree with me that most business startups do not have sufficient fund to hire employees.
Not only did I understand this fact; I acted by automating my business marketing strategy to a third party.
The more clients he pushed to my business, the more he smiled to the bank and the more I concentrated on other aspects of my business without much stress.
2. Employee recruitment.
When my solo business was growing and clients were desperately demanding more satisfactory services, there was need to employ workers. Effective recruitment is not always easy and it is time consuming.
I had to decide whether I would go for virtual assistants or outsource for real staff. After much deliberation, I chose virtual assistants as they were affordable. To make the process easy, I automated it by subcontracting the recruitment process to a recruiting organization.
It was a good business decision on the long run as I got the right kind of staff without hassle, and the same time devoting my time to devising newer competitive advantages for my business.
3. Monitoring of my employees.
Employees are indispensable resources in any organization considering the fact that their activities in workplaces either make or mar businesses. This fact gave me a serious concern as one can only account for his/her employees’ job performance while with them, and the unthinkable can happen while you are away dealing with other business issues.
My desire to monitor my employees’ productivity on real time made me to utilize an employee monitoring software. It worked so well that when I outsourced our company software portal to our virtual programmers, I was able to work effectively with them and monitor their progress each step of the way. With that, I could set weekly and monthly goals and my virtual staff could access it and work with what’s there without me following them up at all times.
By effectively monitoring their work activities, it was very easy to detect work inputs inimical to set goals and corrective measures were applied immediately where needed.
4. Business purchase orders.
The expansion of my business necessitated increase in the purchase of materials and the maintenance of inventory. During one of my thinking periods, I thought of changing the way materials and products were purchased in my organization. A friend of mine, who works as a marketing manager for SMART by GEP -- a procurement software solution for large global enterprises, suggested that I use something similar for my business. Those processes became automated ones. By selecting and ordering my business products and services, as well as paying electronically, we were able to save on manual, time-consuming paperwork and approvals.
This business decision did not only reduce the risk of frequent trips to the procurement organizations for placing orders, it also bought more time for me to put myself to good use in the other aspects of my business.
Business is usually fun when you are the boss who stands at a distance dishing out directives and devising more strategies that will enhance your competitive advantage.
Try to automate and free up valuable time to strategize ways to make your business bigger, better and productive.