One of the biggest opportunities you have to increase profits and reduce effort is to automate your processes.

The right automation tool at the right time is invaluable.  BUT trying to automate a process that doesn’t exist yet usually winds up being a big waste of time and money.

If your processes are locked in and you are converting like crazy it’s time to prepare for automation.   Here are 4 questions to ask yourself to find out if you are ready to automate.

  1. Are your base processes firmly in place?
  2. Are you spending more time pointing and clicking repeatedly than generating new business or rolling out new products?
  3. Do you have all of your content in place for your marketing, sales and delivery process?
  4. Are you confident enough in your processes that they can run nearly unattended?

If the answer to the above is a big ol’ yes you are ready to start automating!

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So, now what?

1.   Don’t buy anything yet!

  • Resist the urge to buy every tool you come across before identifying what you actually need, you want to be sure that you are buying what you need vs what is hot and trending.

Begin to note tools that you think may be valuable so that you can complete simple product comparisons as you build your toolkit.

2.  Look at your processes one at a time, end to end, and identify where you can automate.

  • Generally, the easiest place to start is with your lead capture, marketing campaigns and/or pre-sales bookings since they are probably the most repetitive and predictable.
  • For example, if you have a process to onboard new clients at the point of sale what process points do you have in place that can be automated and do any of them require manual intervention?

If manual intervention is required between the start and the end begin with a simpler process that will let you begin small and build out before you tackle a complex process. 

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3.  What do you need the tool(s) that you choose to actually do?

  • If you are going to automate a process generally you will want to automate the entire process not just a part of it.
  • For example, if you are going to automate lead capture and delivery you will want a tool or collection of tools that will host your landing pages, capture your prospects contact info, add the contact info to your email service provider database structure, deliver a lead magnet (if applicable) and set your prospect into a follow up nurture / sales funnel

if you don’t have all of those pieces mapped out and in place STOP, go back and create the content now before you whip out your credit card to buy any tools.

4.   What are your expansion plans for your business? 

  • Identifying the upgrade/migration paths of the tool to be sure that as your business grows the tool will let you scale with ease.
  • For example, if you are focusing on list growth and are targeting a list of 20,000 within the next year how will the tools you are considering handle that volume and do they have an upgrade or migration path to the next volume level of the tool?

Buy for where you are, plan for where you are going.  As your processes and automation become more integrated your business will grow very quickly so try not to lock yourself into a tool without an upgrade path.

Automating strategically can free up many hours per week or month and allow you to reinvest that time and energy in growing your business.

This is your business so choose wisely and be ruthless with your investment dollars, after all the lower your costs + the higher your efficiency the higher your profits!

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