If your business is going to set you free you need to think about how you can automate the processes in your business. This may sound obvious but in my experience it can easily be put off for too long.
A good way to work out whether something is worth implementing would be how fast you will get a return on your investment. Make sure you account for your own time at an appropriate hourly rate based on the salary of replacing you.
Lets take software, which is a considered purchase that will automate a process in your business. The cost would include the purchase price of the software, any specialist help to get the system set up correctly, training of staff, possible reduction in productivity short term and on going support costs.
Work out the potential cost savings by using the hourly rates for everyone that will benefit in the first year and then divide the total cost to implement by the first year’s savings. The number you get is the amount of years it will take to pay for the investment.
Something we had nailed in our retail business was our payroll system which was automated using a finger print signing in system. This allowed us to check attendance with the staff rota which reduced errors and saved time checking time sheets.
The payroll system was connected to our accountancy system which was connected to our bank account to make the payments. From paying cash weekly to paying by bank transfer monthly we saved two days works every month, pay back was less than six months I seem to remember.
It’s important to get everyone on board before you start to introduce a new system, I made the mistake of pushing ahead with computerising our accounts without getting the support of our office manager. All my enthusiasm wasn’t going to persuade someone who just thought I was trying to make him redundant.
Marketing is a key function of your business that can be automated, marketing needs to be consistent to be effective so automating it makes good sense. Creating a content calendar that everyone can contribute too is good way of connecting everyone to your marketing message.
By focusing on the right things to automate you will save yourself lots of time and create what is called a turnkey operation. This is the principle that business franchises work on, create a system that works and then sell the system to others to use.
Probably the most well known business franchise is McDonald’s, everything in that business has a process to follow. Not only does it save time, it also creates consistency so a customer knows what they will get whichever branch they walk into.