Time is money – 86,400 seconds in a day may seem like a lot of time but, when you’re running a business, it’s never enough. Those seconds tick by at an unforgiving speed, draining your budget and opportunity in the process.

Competition is stiff in today’s world, which means you need to stay on your toes. For most, sales are the primary concern, but you can’t forget to fine tune the efficiency and effectiveness of your business as you grow.

Automating your operation saves time and money while presenting you with even more opportunity to expand. To be frank, it’s the only way you’re going to remain relevant. Either you do what it takes to streamline your responsibilities, or you’ll be swept away by the residual impact of your competition’s automation. Here are five steps to get you started:

Step One:

Make a culture out of the decision. Automation shouldn’t feel like a task to your staff. Nobody should view the decision as a threat to their position. Instead, everyone on your team needs to understand that automating your policies and procedures will help everyone perform to the best of their ability. This move will place cost concerns under control and it’ll help streamline your growth over the long-term.

This doesn’t need to be hard work, start with the processes that are most automation-friendly. Anything that can’t suffer from removing the margin for human error from the equation.

Step Two:

Look for repetitive tasks. Host a team meeting to see where everyone’s spending most of their time. Those tedious tasks like copying, filing, emailing, and adding may serve you better through automation.

Whatever you choose to change, make sure it’s a simple switch. Complicated systems will eat away at your schedule and add costs associated to troubleshooting, maintenance, and replacement. If it’s easy to implement and repeat, you know you’ve got a winner. One that’ll really benefit your team.

Step Three:

Get on the cloud. You’ll need a tech-savvy partner to help execute this plan and it’s always nice to go with trusted brands. Between Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, you’ll be relying on a vendor with years of experience. Whatever partner you choose, make sure they’re innovative and equipped to scale their offering to align with your vision.

Over time, you may want to include tools like artificial intelligence to help streamline your optimization, so building a relationship with a qualified vendor is crucial.

Step Four:

Document your journey. The switch could take off without a hitch or you may experience a few hiccups along the way. Those learning curves will better serve your business if you document every leg of this journey. Make a note of where you were when you first started, the costs of automation, and the results. Concentrate on savings, both literal and in scheduling, so you can calculate your ROI.

Step Five:

Streamline your management strategy. As much as you love your business, there’s no reason why it takes up 90% of your day. Automation empowers every member of your team, beginning with management. Do everybody a favor and eliminate the need for micromanaging and centralize your communications. Use online services to define everyone’s role and make their to-do list clear. Automate meetings, appointments, and employee duties through a simple system that’s easily transferred as new members join in the future.

There are unlimited free and paid services helping business across industries automate their services. Some areas you can focus on include:

  • Marketing
  • File Sharing
  • Document Collaboration
  • Remote Meetings
  • Automated Invoicing
  • Project Management
  • Blog Posting
  • Online Accounting
  • Lead Generation
  • Email Automation
  • Social Media Posting
  • Interapp Communication

Automation takes your business’ strengths and weaknesses and places them on level ground. It eliminates the gray area left behind and everyone knows what’s expected of them. Without you or your managers around to breath down everyone’s necks, your team will be free to do what you all do best – grow your business.

Remember to be patient. Change always requires a bit of an adjustment period. The goal is to automate most of your tasks out of existence, but you’ll always need some human TLC to keep the ball rolling.

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