Picture this, the year is 1982 (minus the “big hair” and thriller jackets), and today is payday Friday. The payroll clerk rolls through the office with a basket full of paychecks ready to be distributed. You receive your paycheck and head to the bank so you can pay bills. You wait in line for 20-30mins and finally make your deposit. The check clears a few days later so you decide it’s safe to pay some bills. You sit down and begin writing out checks, licking and stuffing envelopes but you forgot to buy stamps so the checks just sit for another couple of days. You finally get the checks sent out and the bills get paid; time to complete this process: “only” two weeks. Now let’s fast forward to 2014 and take that same process of paying bills using technology and automation. You receive a paycheck directly deposited into your account by the time you wake up on Friday, no visit to the bank. You’ve set-up automatic bill payer to pay all your bills so no stuffing envelopes, by the time your back at work on Monday all your bills are paid and you never thought twice about it.
Your time spent paying bills thanks to technology and automation: zero!
So why aren’t you using more automation to make your business run like a well-oiled machine that never sleeps or calls out sick? If I called you in 1982 and you weren’t home that was it, I either called back later or we didn’t speak. Today with automation technology like IFTTT.com, even if you leave a voicemail message I can automatically have a text message response sent to you. Let’s take it a step further; if you never want to answer the phone again because most phone calls eat away at your time, you could simply subscribe to a service like ReceptionHQ.com and have your calls answered 24hrs a day by a “real” live person for less than $50 a month. Email autoresponders allow business owners to immediately inform customers that their email has been received. Services like Hootsuite.com allow busy time-starved entrepreneurs to actually participate in social media and still have a life due to your ability to automate.
What about managing your customers and contacts? How do you remember who to follow up with, where you left off during your last conversation, or when their birthday is for that matter? The growth of online customer relationship management systems (CRM) gives you to ability to stay on top of all your contacts and follow up at ideal time. Many of these systems allow you to automate a portion of the follow up process so you can be certain nothing “falls through the cracks”.
The bottom line is using business automation tools and technology can make your business several times more organized and efficient; while allowing you to have greater time freedom to enjoy what’s really important in your life. While you may not be able to automate everything because it’s still important to have a “human touch”; the majority of businesses today regardless of size or industry can benefit immensely from integrating more technology and systems into their business.