What is one way you are automating your business processes this year?
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Use Amazon Web Services
Our biggest drain has been manually dealing with servers and web services that go down. Not only does it directly harm the business, but it sends stress levels through the roof for the rest of the day. We moved to Amazon Web Services and partially automated the creation of servers last year, but this year we plan to go the extra mile and build a fully redundant and self-healing infrastructure.
2. Reduce Human Error
3. Hire a Programmer
Automate all the things! One of the best moves I made in 2015 for me and my customers was hiring a developer. Not only are we saving tons on labor (and more to come), but our customers are receiving more value. For example, we automated reporting, which now means reporting is going out on time, every time. I don’t even have to think about it anymore. It’s a beautiful thing!
4. Provide Contracts Digitally
A great way that everyone wins is by having contracts provided digitally to your existing and future clients. It makes the execution of contracts traceable for both parties, shows the history of changes, and limits cumbersome processes like scanning/emailing or even faxing completed contracts back and forth to one another.
5. Automate Finances With Digital Tools
We are continuing the integration of TSheets, Bill.com and QuickBooks to automate our time-tracking with financial processes and business analyses. There are so many options for a growing business like ours and this trifecta of tools creates a much-needed automation and synergy that has enabled us to focus on other, more time-consuming tasks.
6. Set Email Alerts
Many people already use this tool, but we built new analytic software into our system to collect extensive information about customer behavior. People sign up on our platform, and we automatically enroll them to receive updates and alerts on a schedule, increasing our customer outreach. Then, we track the lifetime value of the customer, cost per order, and all kinds of other information.
7. Refine Automated Services
Last year, we began automating our customer signing process, which drastically increased our conversion rates and improved customer flow through our application. This year, we’re refining those tools by taking a deeper look at our application and weeding out areas which still require manual input, building automation for those aspects of our app, and ensuring our signup process is seamless.
8. Refine Your Content Review Systems
Our content team has expanded quite a bit, so this year we’re working on refining our content review systems so our publishing is seamless and automatic. Content is one of the backbones of our business, so making sure that everything goes through and to the right channels is important to ensure there are no mistakes, everything is in line with our brand, and we are delivering useful information.
9. Automate Through Slack
We continue to build processes and integrations around Slack. As a software company, we are consumers of over 15 different platforms – all necessary. But without a way to aggregate these point solutions, we’d be lost. From web chat to code management, we’ve structured our business around this communication hub.
10. Create a Faster Response Time
This year, we are heavily focused on user experience. As part of that, we’re sending all incoming inquiries to directly drop into Salesforce and assign a representative immediately, so we can be alerted right away and create a faster response time.
11. Define Business Roles
Since I bootstrapped my own business, I grew comfortable with performing a lot of different roles. As the business grows, it is easier to automate various responsibilities and roles by taking the time and effort to define business processes. For example, content marketing can break into social media management, writers, influencer outreach, etc. Break up roles granularly, then automate that.
12. Put Mandatory Vacations in Place
We’re forcing employees to take vacations. Before someone can leave, they have to document their process so that others can follow it while they’re gone. And it’s a good idea to have them passively working the week before, just to make sure if anything goes wrong, there’s someone around who knows how to fix it.
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