4 Steps to Automate Your Business

While starting a business can be a lot of fun, getting that business to grow can be less exciting. Many entrepreneurs tend to lose enthusiasm after the launch phase, and develop that itch to move on to the next thing. I developed a four-step business that makes it easy to grow businesses and leaves you with plenty of time to dream up your next project. Learn how to take the pain points out of your growth phase with these easy steps.

AutomateStep one: Prepare to automate your business. 
Step one paves the way for business automation by taking a hard look at the processes and procedures used to run your business. If you can embrace this step, the rest of the process will flow much smoother. At this point, you need to think about how you conduct your business, and develop a system of process that makes the workflow easier.

Step two: Create the written procedures. 
After you have committed to processes in step one, formalize them by writing them down. Working alone or together with your manager, create a Standard Operating Folder, Strategist Operating Document, Standard Operating Procedure Template, and Dashboard Document. Then build out these documents with detailed procedures on each task that needs to be done. Write as if you were explaining the process start to finish to someone new to the organization. This way, you will capture the level of detail needed to be comprehensive. You can use any program you like to create these programs; we have successfully used Google Drive and Skitch.

Step three: Systemize your procedures. 
Now that you have committed to business procedures, develop the various systems that track what gets done and what needs to be completed. Without systems in place, you risk missing out on critical components of projects. Avoid using email for this task, as team members are just too overwhelmed with email as it is. We recommend Asana, which is available in both app and desktop format. Asana allows you to set deliverables, track progress across team members, and chat over video, audio, or instant messaging using their HipChat utility. Don’t forget to add a custom support ticketing system, such as Fresh Desk or Zen Desk. These allow you to get a full history of what is going on, track response times, and hand issues from one team member to another easily.

Step four: Train your staff. 
With everything in place, all that’s left is training team members so they understand the systems and how to work with your procedures. Particularly at the outset, you’ll need to check in on employees, especially if they are new, to ensure that everything is working as it should be. Again, Asana works well for this purpose.

Putting these procedures and system in place isn’t particularly fun, but they are necessary to have a company run smoothly. If you put time into them, you will only have to do them once to leverage ongoing business growth.

Resources
Check out my templates for Standard Operating Folder, Strategist Operating Document, Standard Operating Procedure and Dashboard Document on Google Drive here.