We live in a world, today, that runs faster than ever before. New information and new technology flood the marketplace daily, and just as quickly as it’s made available, it becomes outdated. Operating a business today means competing for dominance in a marketplace, where efficiency is key, and speed conquers all.
How do we succeed in this environment where – as an entrepreneur – we’re required to move fast, maintain quality, and continually innovate? How do we leverage skills, knowledge and time in a way that allows us to compete with established and resourced competitors?
We do so through the power of automation. Through intelligent automation, we have the ability to dissolve many of the marketplace advantage gaps that exist for small business. Our biggest hurdles are often access to money, resources and time. Automation can be a great equalizer on these counts – enhancing productivity and lowering costs at the same time.
Automation isn’t just good for our bottom line, it also allows us more time to focus on other areas of our business. If we spend all our time on day-to-day operations, it becomes difficult to give the attention required to develop and grow our business. Tony Robbins talks a lot about the idea that every business should be run as two businesses, simultaneously: the business we’re currently in and the business we’re growing into and becoming. Working on our current business give us cash-flow, working on the business we’re becoming gives us success and sustainability.
Besides a better business, automation also affords us added time for a greater work/life balance – an area where many women entrepreneurs struggle and deal with guilt. Entrepreneurship often necessitates becoming a jack of all trades. This can put a strain on our personal life and that of our family. Automating key aspects of our business can give us back control over our time and allow us to spend more time with family and friends, not always behind a computer.
If you’d like to get starting with automation in your business, here are a few tools you can use to enhance your business performance and make your business run smoothly. Try them out to see which ones work best for you.
Hootesuite Hootesuite is a comprehensive social media automation tool. Besides the ability to automate postings across different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, it offers research capabilities that allow you to target and engage fellow influencers in your industry as well as potential customers. Hootsuite offers both free and paid service options.
Mailchimp Mailchimp is a fully functional email marketing service. They provide tools that help you automate the process of ion tools that allow you to initiate, develop and nurture a relationship with your audience. Use Mailchimp to create newsletters and drip-feed campaigns to spread your message then use their enhanced features to track and analyze the performance of your campaigns based on various criteria and metrics. Mailchimp offers both free and paid service options.
Calendly Calendly is an automated scheduling system that allows others to connect with you based on your stated availability and without all the phone tag or back and forth email correspondence. Simply – it’s an automated personal assistant that allows people to see your calendar availability, then schedule and confirm appointments without any additional help from you. All you need to do is schedule your available and bookable time in advance, and Calendly does the rest. Syncs with both Google Calendar and iCal. Calendly offers both free and paid service options.
IFTTT IFTTT stand for “If this then that.” It’s a cross-channel, cross-device automation tool that enables you to schedule automated actions based on predefined triggers. IFTTT can work on your behalf, automating tasks in your personal and professional life. IFTTT is driven by what are called applets (formally called recipes). Applets can do things like automatically track how you spend in the office and send a daily report to your email, save New York Times articles to your Pocket app based on specified keywords, and notify your social media audience by post whenever a new blog post goes live. IFTTT is a free service.
Evernote This is an honorable mention as it’s not really an automation tool but integrates well with automation tools like IFTTT for advanced level organization and tracking. Its main feature is it’s cloud-based, note-taking and storage capabilities. It’s simple and streamlined and has the ability to capture thoughts at a moment’s notice whether from your desktop or on the go, as well as easily collect and save information across the web with the push of a single button. It also has audio recording capabilities. Evernote offers both free and paid service options.
Using automation tools like the ones above will boost your productivity while saving you time and reducing stress. It’s about working smarter, not harder. These tools and others like them put you back in the driver’s seat, ensuring that you run your business and that your business doesn’t run you.