Automating Repetitive Tasks in Your Business Saves Time and Money (and Frustration). Here’s How to Get Started.
No matter your area of expertise, there are certain tasks in your business that you do over and over. Before you read any further, let’s start with a challenge: Stop for a moment and think of at least 3 tasks you do repetitively.
How long did it take you to think of 3 things? Probably not very long.
It doesn’t matter what purpose they serve, who they benefit, how big or small they are, or how important their outcomes are to your bottom line. The one constant is that – in one way or another – these repetitive, mundane tasks take focus away from growing your business.
So what’s the solution? Enter no-code automation.
Automating repetitive tasks helps increase efficiency, reduce human errors, lower the risk of burnout, and ultimately save time and money. By freeing up so much valuable time, you have the freedom to focus on more strategic tasks that drive growth and increase your bottom line.
Here’s how to get started with automating repetitive tasks so you can transform your business and take it to the next level.
1. List Your Current Processes
Before you can know which processes are worth automating, you need to actually take a look at all the tasks you consistently mark off your checklists. If you have a team, this is definitely a moment for collaboration so you can ensure nothing gets missed.
Start by making a list of all the tasks you perform regularly – everything from data entry and invoicing to customer communication and social media management. Big or small, fast or slow, if it’s something that happens over and over, it should be on your list.
As you build your list, you should also make a note of why each task is important to the success of your business. If you were to change it in any way, how would that affect your bottom line?
2. Jot Down Your Apps
This will come into play a bit later, but it’s still important to have a good sense of what tools you’re already using to help you run your business.
Compile a list of all the tools and apps you use regularly. This includes everything from project management and collaboration tools like ClickUp or Monday.com to accounting software such as QuickBooks or Xero to CRM platforms like Hubspot or Pipedrive to social media scheduling platforms such as Buffer or Hootsuite. Leave nothing out!
3. Prioritize Your Processes
Set your apps and tools list aside for now and go back to your list of tasks. Start separating them into two categories: “Biggest pain points” and “Most important” to effectively run your business.
Take a moment to evaluate each task and ask yourself which ones pose the biggest frustrations and which ones are the most important for your day-to-day survival. Some of these tasks may overlap and fit into both categories.
Once you’ve got your tasks divvied into your two categories, it’s time to prioritize. The ones that fall into both the “big pain” and “most important” categories should be where you focus your energy first.
Just as all tasks are not created equal, it’s important to remember that not all tasks need to be automated. As you work through your list, focus on those tasks that cause the most pain rather than automating for the sake of it.
4. Map Out Your Processes
Before you can decide what to automate and how best to do it, you need to look at your current processes step-by-step. Start with those you’ve identified as the biggest priorities – the ones that fall into both your “pain” and “important” categories.
Build a visual map of each process and match the appropriate apps and tools to each step in the process. Platforms like Miro are great for this process because they allow for collaboration and give you a bird’s-eye view of your procedures.
5. Simplify Your Processes by Automating
Your process map should give you a clearer snapshot of every task that happens within the major processes of your business. Now that you know which tools you use and what happens step-by-step, you’ll be able to see where automation can alleviate some of your biggest pain points.
Check the apps you’re currently using for integration partnerships. See if there are places where you can connect your platforms to “talk” to one another and automate parts of your processes. If you can’t find a reasonable solution (or perhaps one that fits into your budget), Zapier is the best way to bridge automation gaps.
Prepare for Challenges Before Wins
There’s no doubt that automation can bring significant benefits to your business. But it may not be smooth sailing when you start.
As you map out your procedures, keep the doors open to how your business and needs evolve. The goal is to implement solutions that will help you simplify and succeed, not create more headaches.
Remember that automation isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. But by taking a strategic approach, you’ll see solid wins and reap the benefits in the long run.
Kelly Goss is a Business Automation Specialist; the founder and “chief problem solver” of her company, Solvaa; a Zapier-certified Expert; and the author of Automate It With Zapier. She started her business as an online business manager and has grown it into an automation specialization agency, and was one of the first women to become Zapier-certified in the UK. As an automation expert, Kelly is a master at helping entrepreneurs and business leaders build better systems and scale their businesses through automation. You can follow Solvaa on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.