If you want to save time and money, you need to automate. A good, effective automation allows some tasks to happen automatically, improving the customer experience and cutting the cord that has you at your computer all day.
But automation also takes time and some tech know-how. Sure, you can pay someone to do it for you, but that defeats the “saving money” part of setting them up in the first place.
I recommend starting small and building from there. Automate some of the most essential functions in your business and then add on as you have time. What are those essential automations you need to set up now?
How often do you exchange emails with a client that look like this:
- You: Let’s get together to talk about your monthly bookkeeping. I’m free on Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Let me know what works for you.
- Client: Great! Unfortunately, I’m not free during those times.
- You: Okay, how about Friday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.?
- Client: I’m heading out early on Friday. That won’t work.
- You: Have a nice long weekend! Let me know when you are available.
Then, crickets. Which means you have to follow up with the client and go through the whole process again. It’s frustrating for both you and the client and it’s a colossal waste of time.
Instead, the email exchange should look like this:
- You: Let’s get together to talk about your monthly bookkeeping. Here’s a link to my calendar. Find a time that works for you in the next two weeks and I’ll talk to you soon!
- Client: <books appointment>
It’s easy, painless and you just saved a few days of bouncing emails back and forth. Plus, quality scheduling software like Calendly will automatically add the appointments to your calendar, send reminders to the client and allow you to set up multiple appointment types.
You’ve probably sent a payment reminder email 100 times to 50 different clients. Or a request for documents–every time you onboard a new client. If you don’t have automated emails that request information from clients or prospective clients, it’s time to build some email templates and automate them.If you don’t have automated emails that request information from clients or prospective clients, it’s time to automate them. Click To Tweet
Within your client relationship management (CRM) platform, you can create templated emails that are sent out at designated times or after specific milestones in a project. Often, you can also customize these templates for specific types of clients so they never really feel like templates.
A lot of business owners rely on DocuSign for contracts, which I believe is an unnecessary expense and a good way for these important documents to get lost. When housed outside your CRM, contracts and other forms tend to get clunky and easy to misplace and add an extra step to save them to your internal client folder. Not only that, but many business owners build new contracts from scratch for every client. I agree that many projects have special stipulations, however, it’s not necessary to start from a blank slate every time.
I recommend creating standard contracts within your CRM, such as 17hats or Dubsado, and customizing those templates as needed and when needed. You can also set up the automation so when the client signs the contract, they automatically receive their invoice or another form.
Setting up these and other automations within my business has saved me so much time. Because I worked in the industry for so long prior to branching out on my own, I knew exactly where to start and how to add new automations and workflows to help my business run even more smoothly.
If you’re struggling with getting your automations set up, I have a workflow template shop that can get you started. The Business Workflow Template Shop has templates and automations for those in the bookkeeping and accounting industry as well as other small business owners. Check it out today and start saving yourself some time! And if you need some help getting started, check out my Case Study for the Solopreneur and watch my free webinars on creating your own step-by-step Lead or Onboarding workflow.