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Business Hacks

The world we live in today is busy, stuffed full of responsibilities and all of the ‘adulting’. The overwhelming response to this fullness has been the development of ‘life hacks’.

They span across every facet of your life; hacks to improve your relationship, hacks to improve your health, your cooking, the amount of time you spend cleaning, hacks to get your dog to walk calmly on a leash, to get your grout white again, and, and, and… Our personal lives are full of these hacks, but what about our businesses? 

Your business is full of as many responsibilities, duties and tasks that need to get taken care of as your personal life. From managing your leads all the way to following up with your customer at the end of their ‘journey’ with your business, the tasks never stop! While there are no true short-cuts to doing business the right way, there are ways you can make your work more efficient and take some of the manual labor off your plate. 

In the business world, we call these automations

If you have not yet explored the power of automation in your business, you are seriously missing out my friend! Let me paint the picture for you. 

Imagine a world where you wake up to a new lead appointment on your calendar. The lead found you on social media and went to your website where they then booked an initial appointment with you. The booking automatically appears on your calendar, has created a new lead in your project management system, and a welcome email has been sent to the lead to confirm the appointment. How awesome is that right?! So much already done for you, all while you sleep! 

Now, you have your meeting with the lead and it’s time to send them a quote. With a few clicks in your project management system you fire off an automation that sends them a thank you email, issues a quote and a contract, and creates an automatic follow up for you to check in in the next five days if you haven’t heard back. What used to take you 20 minutes to create a thank you email, design a quote, send it over and add a follow up task now takes a few seconds! This, my friends, is the power of automation.

So, what all can you automate in your business? I have put together a list of ideas for you to start automating your business so you can free up your time and stop doing all the work yourself!

  • Autoresponders and email templates – If you already have a project management system or a client relationship management system (CRM) you likely have the ability to create autoresponders and email templates within your system. Is there an email you send frequently to leads, contractors or clients? Turn it into an email template and set up an automation within your system to utilize these templates when needed. Don’t already have one of these systems? If you use gmail, create these templates in Google Docs. If you’re in Outlook, save each template as a signature and then insert as needed!
  • Automated social media posting – Now, you do have to do a little bit of work here, but once that’s done it’s all automation, all month long! You can automate your social media posts by scheduling your content for auto posting at the beginning of the month. Block out a few hours to create, write and schedule your social media content for the entire month, and then sit back and relax while they fire away! Some of my favorite tools for this are Loomly and Buffer.
  • Computer backups – Stop trying to remember to back up your computer and automate it with Backblaze! Simple to use and set up, plus the peace of mind is worth it!
  • Zapier – Zapier helps you take all of the different applications and softwares you are using and combine them through their easy to set up automations. Start with the free account and get creative with the zaps you can set up. They have pre-made zaps and ones you can customize.
  • Sales/Nurture funnels – Sales/Nurture funnels are something every single business needs! These take a cold lead and warms them up through consistent, automated communication that introduces them to you, your brand and what you are offering. Not sure where to start? We can help with that. 
  • Onboarding sequence – Not to be confused with a sales/nurture funnel, an onboarding sequence is a series of emails that are automatically sent once a new client signs on with you. These emails could include surveys to get to know your new client, information about you, your business, how you got started, your policies and procedures and any other relevant information you want to convey. 
  • Invoice follows up – overdue invoices – Stop worrying about remembering when to send an invoice and making sure payments are made on time, automate this! This is probably one of the most important automations you can set up for your business. Look into your invoicing system and utilize their automations and workflows to set up invoice reminders, payment reminders and overdue invoice emails.
  • Email filing and filters – Tired of the clutter inbox? Tools like unroll.me and email filters can take that cluttered inbox and organize it in no time!
  • Text expander – Find yourself entering the same information over and over again? Text Expander lets you instantly insert snippets of text from a repository of emails, boilerplate and other content, as you type – using a quick search or abbreviation. (This is a great way to have quick email templates at your fingertips if you do not already have a system that does this for you)
  • Automatic payments – Stop worrying about remembering to pay your business expenses and set up automatic payments! You can even set up recurring expenses in Quickbooks to make these easier to track and make your reporting a breeze.
  • Automated reminders/notifications – Setting up automated reminders and notifications to remember to follow up with prospects and clients is one of the simpler ways to automate, but is very important to keep your communications timely and relevant.

Not sure where to start with all this business efficiency stuff? I totally get it! I used to feel overwhelmed by all of this and not sure where to start too. That’s when I took the steps to hire a virtual assistant that specializes in these things. Now, I just tell her what I want to happen and she figures out how to automate it and put it into practice! If you need some help implementing these ideas, maybe a virtual assistant is for you. This is the company I use and is a great place to start looking.

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