Repetitive tasks.

Business automation is best suited for repetitive tasks. Think of things that an entrepreneur or small business manager is doing over and over again without a significant amount of thought or human-added value.

Tasks like email marketing, report creation, certain accounting functions, auditing, and similar are typically repetitive tasks that you can use software or other technologies to automate.

Easy workflows first.

As you begin to automate a business, start with easy workflows first. A good place for many small businesses to start is marketing. Typically, these workflows are rather direct. A shopper subscribes to the business’s emails and a welcome message is sent. It’s simple. There are many software tools and platforms to help automate this process.

Specific tasks.

Aim to automate specific tasks rather than trying to automate broad or large ones. So, focus on creating a report that shows how often employees are accessing the learning management system. Automate the creation or monitoring of analytics data. Create a reminder that emails your daily sales information rather than having to go look for it.

Save time or money.

Automation should save a small business time, money, or both.

Entrepreneurs and small business managers often work long hours. It can be a huge relief when automating a process frees up time. Similarly, small businesses often struggle with cash flow, so that saving money is a necessary goal too.

But if you automate processes that don’t offer a return on investment, you’re not helping the business. As part of this principle, measure how much automation is saving you. Doing so will often encourage you to keep automating, to keep growing your business.

Daily tasks first.

As you begin to automate various business processes, start with daily tasks.

If you asked a time-management expert, she would tell you that one way to save time is to batch activities. As an example, you will save time if you check your email in batches, say once or twice a day, rather than every few minutes. Similarly, many small businesses save time by only reading physical mail once a week.

In a sense, activities that you do weekly may already be more efficient and effective than those done daily, since they are, in a sense, batched. Thus, automate daily tasks first, then things you do a few times per week, then once per week, and so on.

Tasks that won’t scale.

If an entrepreneur or small business manager wants to call and thank every customer, there better not be too many customers. The activity simply will not scale as the business grows.”

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