Embarking on small business automation is a bit like deciding on the scale of a home renovation – you could decide to make a small change, or to pull out the tiles in every room and design afresh from the ground up.
However, even those small changes can make a notable difference to how a home can feel: painted cupboards, a new door handle. In the same way, a small but dedicated window of time and focus spent on scaling your small business automation can lead to refreshing and momentum-building changes in your team’s workflows.
If you’ve just got an hour (or the equivalent of a bucket of paint), here’s some ways you can choose to spend it.
- Never sign a paper document again – save on time, money, storage space, paper wastage and admin requirements by digitising your paper workflows. Whether you’re working on simple quotes or require complex layers of confidentiality, digitised workflows provide time savings every time a document is touched internally or externally. How to spend your hour: implement an online signature workflow or set up Google Drive to reflect your filing cabinet and get to scanning and shredding.
- Down with internal emails – how often do you find yourself trawling through your inbox to find a piece of key information from a colleague or employee? Running your internal communications through email leads to bloat and into the dangerous time drain of email fatigue. Streamlining communication through a tool like Slack keeps conversations focused, formatted and in dedicated channels that are easily searchable and customisable. Spend your hour introducing yourself to Slack and setting up your first three channels – they’ll be growing off the vine before you know it.
- Look at where you communicated externally in the past week – if your team’s spent hours in that week communicating to customers over email across similar issues or questions, or your social media inboxes are bogged down with unread messages, consider how you can automate common response needs in communicating with your customer base. Dedicate your hour to investigating which helpdesk service could streamline incoming enquiries through an easy-to-navigate ticketing system, or take a look at a friendly Messenger Chatbot to take over the general FAQs or the nod in the right direction needed for your social media audience.
- Grab a paper + pen and do it the old-fashioned way – unsure where to begin? Grab a paper and pen and jot down your current headaches and frustrations across your workflow. Listing these in a simple format gives you a space to begin in unpacking which areas of your business need to be prioritised. Dedicating headspace to these key questions for an hour may open the door to an ongoing hunt for the best automation solutions – and bring you into the world of working smarter, not harder, while maximising your output.
Book that hour in and let yourself get comfortable – your time may be spent so productively, you’ll make your automation review a weekly appointment (and find the app to automate that booking for you).