What does it take to step away from your business day-to-day operations?
Especially when you are already growing your company and you are maxed out on time.
It’s not simply hiring more people to only end up managing more people instead of freeing you up to grow more.
Another way to free you up is automating some of your time-consuming, repeatable work.
That means using a couple of software tools you are already relying on in your business and integrating them in a way where they handle most of your low value work.
You don’t want to welcome many more clients and grow your team while doing all of the repetitive, time-consuming work yourself or asking your team to do it.
As a confident CEO you want to remove as much of the repetitive, low-value work from your plate as possible.
So you can step away from daily operations to focus on more growth.
You can’t just hire people and ask them to run your systems for you
If your systems have a lot of repetitive, low-value work that isn’t a good use of your staff’s time.
Your goal is to quickly train and empower your team to run your business even WITHOUT YOU.
Your goal is to turn your team into a self-managed team while protecting their time.
That helps them and you.
Here is how using automations the right way can help you free up everyone’s time.
Most importantly, I’ll cover how you can do this while avoiding some common mistakes founders make when they start automating their workflows.
For those who don’t know me, I am Lora Jackson.
I help founders of growing companies like you free up time with optimized operating systems and teams so you can profitably scale.
Most busy founders like you who are at a point of growth struggle with removing yourself from day-to-day management.
One of several reasons for that challenge is your lack of time trying to handle most of the work inside your business.
One effective way to free you up is automating some of your repetitive workflows.
The challenge is not so much how to do this - most of you are super smart and you know you can get a team member to use tools like Zapier to automate your workflows.
The question is how to do this the right way so you can avoid some common mistakes founders make when they automate parts of their business.
Here they are:
1. Jumping into automations right away
The first aspect is to understand WHEN you should start automating your workflows.
Automating your workflows prematurely is a waste of your time.
There are 4 stages of a business - Survival, Stationary, Scalable, and Saleable.
If you are in survival mode - your focus should only be on marketing and sales until you stabilize and get to the stationary stage.
You are in a stationary phase when your marketing and sales start working.
You attract and serve more clients, you start building a team to help you with your growth.
Most of my clients are in this stage.
A common challenge here is that now you’re dealing with the growing pains of serving more clients, managing more people, finding time to get it all done.
This stage is perfect to start implementing some automations so they can free you up for more growth.
The second mistake I see is common in this stage:
2. Automating parts of your business workflows before you have created a workflow that works well.
What I mean by that is a workflow that is simplified, documented and for the most part it achieves the outcome it is meant to achieve from A to Z.
If your business workflow is broken or not achieving your end result in an optimal way, automating parts of a broken workflow makes zero sense.
You’re essentially trying to free up your time without fixing a broken process first.
Part of optimizing a business process is automation.
But don’t automate a business process before it works - before it gets you the outcome it is meant to achieve in an optimal way - meaning, the work is done in a CLEAR and SIMPLE way.
Once that is established, then you can automate repetitive, time-consuming parts of your process to make it more efficient (by creating that time leverage).
And that will also make it more consistent and reduce potential mistakes from doing the work manually.
In other words, test your process and confirm it works before you automate parts of it.
The third common mistake I see?
3. You as the founder think you have to automate your workflows.
As the business owner, you should be the last person implementing automations or Zaps.
Building a team of top performers and cultivating the right culture will enable you to delegate the automations to your team.
If you do this the wrong way, you will most likely face a lot of internal resistance.
You won’t be able to get buy-in from your team to help you automate your business workflows for you.
But when you do this the right way, your team will automate your workflows for you.
And this is what will allow you to step away from daily management because most of your time-consuming, repetitive, low-value work is automated and it’s your team doing it for you.
But if they do this the wrong way, they may commit the 4th sin of automations:
4. Overdoing automations
You are automating everything in your business and that’s an overkill.
If you do this the wrong way, you’ll waste your time automating one-off tasks that don’t need to be automated.
Or automating parts of your service delivery that might need to stay more personalized or more customized.
Imagine welcoming more clients and barely being present for any of the interactions because you’ve overengineered your business with a bunch of automations.
That won’t help you grow your business.
You’ll create a client experience that lacks any personal touch or attention.
In the age of technology and automations, we can’t forget the value of real human interaction and how that will put you in a much better place as a business owner.
Imagine hiring new people to support you in your growth and onboarding them in a completely automated way.
This is not how you can build a self-managed team and the right culture to have that team support you during growth.
This overkill with automations leads me to another common mistake.
5. Using multiple tools to automate your business workflows.
I joke that we have a freshbooks for every quickbooks.
We are obsessed with software tools because we think they solve all operational problems.
And when you start piling on multiple tools, you do the exact opposite.
You create complexity instead of simplifying.
If you want to free up your time to focus on more growth, a key step for that is simplifying.
Using multiple tools in your business will do the opposite.
Knowing these common mistakes can help you avoid them in your journey of automating your business workflows.
When you do this the right way, you will know exactly WHEN to do it.
You’ll know which of your business workflows are ready to be automated and which ones should be fixed first.
You’ll know how to get your team to do the automations for you with little to no resistance.
You’ll know how to avoid automating too much inside your business or adding too many tools and complicating instead of simplifying your daily operations.
Then you can have workflows that are automated and working even when you are not..
That’s a great place to be at as a CEO - knowing that your business is working consistently and smoothly.
This is how you can free up your time for more growth.
If you have your processes documented and you’re not sure which steps to automate, I can do a 15-min audit of your processes and let you know which parts can be automated based on the tools you currently use.
These audits are free, they are not sales calls.
I hope to get to audit your workflows for you.
Until then, please don't scream at Zapier if you get that Zap error message :)