Most people I work with know they want to automate their business, but don’t know what to automate or how to do it.
This process helps you get to the ‘what’ part of that answer.
So get your Evernote or Moleskine ready, because you’ve got some writing to do!
The first thing you need to be clear on is the why.
- Why would automation be important to you?
- What do you want the outcome of automation to be?
- What will the benefit be for you and the company?
- How are you going to celebrate when you kick some automation goals?
After you’ve answered those questions, think about what you’re doing at the moment with systems. List all of the current platforms you’re using, and the manual (i.e. paper) processes you’re still running.
Add up all of your subscription costs so you know what your current spend is.
Also write down any apps you’re interested in using so you’ve got some initial ideas for your app stack. This will give you some perspective on where your resources are going.
Next, you’re going to examine the reality of how things are now. This is possibly the most important, and painful part. To be done right, you need to be brutally honest with yourself.
Break your business down into 5 key areas:
- Sales and Marketing
- Customer Support & Communication
- Business Operations
- Accounting and Finance
- Back Office
And for each of those, ask yourself:
- How are things working now?
- What are the daily roadblocks you face?
- What are you most proud of?
- What could be improved?
- Which parts of this would you like to automate?
The real gold is in these answers. Your responses will give you the best ideas about what to automate – especially the problems that cause roadblocks, and what can be improved.
From there you can start thinking about the automations that will make your business life easier.
It could be something as simple as a little zap to help with data entry, right through to a mammoth workflow to deal with multiple, complex issues.
This is part of my Automation Deep Dive Process that I go through with clients who want to automate. The next step in the process is working out exactly how to automate everything on your list.