There are a number of common mistakes small business owners make when they start thinking about trying to automate some of their business tasks. Automation can save time and money, and free up your resources so you can do other things, but only if you proceed slowly and sensibly. Here are seven mistakes to watch out for.
1. You Don’t Have a Plan
If you are going to automate a task, you need to have a plan for automating it. First, pick a task that is taking up a lot of time. Start by breaking it down into steps that are reproducible. Then begin looking for technical solutions that can help get the task done.
2. You Haven’t Done Enough Research
You might be so desperate to automate that you haven’t done the research to find the right tool for the job. Consider at least two or three solutions and weigh the pros and cons based on the time it takes to set up and maintain it, training, and costs.
3. You Don’t Use the Tool to Its Full Potential
Some tools are more robust than others, and offer a number of different features and opportunities for growth. Once you have got your automation set up, look under the hood a bit more to see what other time-saving and money-saving features it offers.
4. You’re Using Too Many Tools
Some business owners use a range of free tools without always being clear about what role they have to play in the overall growth and success of their company. If you are using more than one tool to do the same task, it might be time to narrow down your options and stick to one. It will streamline things and not put so much of a demand on your time in terms of learning new interfaces and so on.
5. You’re Scared to “Let Go”
Some business owners micromanage and are real control freaks when it comes to running their business. You might be hesitating to automate your business because you don’t want to let go of the task. You get nervous and feel as though things are going to go beyond your control.
A more realistic view is that you are in control because you will be setting up everything yourself from scratch, and monitoring it from time to time just to make sure everything is running smoothly. Once it is automated, you won’t have to worry as much about not having the time to pay attention to the task, or of making a mistake. You also won’t need to worry about outsourced workers doing anything you don’t wish them to do.
6. You’re Scared of Technology
With so many tools on the market, it is easy to get overwhelmed by your number of choices. It is also easy to become intimidated by a new program and struggle to learn it in order to get the best use out of it.
Fortunately, many tools are free or offer a free trial. You can then try before you buy and get a sense of how easy the tool will be to use, and how good the reporting is so you can track your results. Aim for the most popular software in its class, and chances are you will find a tool that will prove invaluable for the automation and growth of your business.
7. Trying to Do Too Much at Once
Focus on automating one task at a time, then move on to the next item on your list.
Avoid these mistakes that others have made before you, and you’ll save yourself both time and money.