If you’re looking to scale your small business or reduce your overheads without impacting your ability to operate, then automation is key.
At Amire, we’ve saved upwards of $86,400 a year through automation which has enabled us to scale and has put us in a much better position to weather the challenging conditions. Here’s how we’ve approached it.
Measure your time
Time is money. If a task in your business is taking up more time than it needs to then it is a drain on productivity and is taking time away from other tasks.
To understand how long tasks are taking, you need to start measuring your team’s time. You can try time tracking software such as Toggl or Harvest or simply manually measure how long tasks are taking over a certain period of time and extrapolate the results over a longer period. Soon you’ll have a picture of which tasks are taking up the majority of your team’s time and where there may be scope to reduce that time through automation.
For example, in our industry, regular client reporting is critical, but it can be extremely time-consuming. We automated our reporting using Google Data Studio which freed up our time to spend on providing customised commentary on the data, which is a greater value add for the client.
Calculate the cost of each task
Measure what each task is costing your business. Look at the average hourly rate of the person completing the task and how long the task takes on average, and you’ll learn what that task costs you over the course of a year.
Let’s say for example a small business spends 25 hours a month managing their books. If this task is completed by the business owner, who takes a salary of $100,000 a year which is approximately $50 an hour, the task is costing $1,250 a month or $15,000 a year. By automating certain bookkeeping tasks such as invoicing, recurring payments and reporting, the business may be able to halve the time spent on bookkeeping, saving them $7,500 a year and freeing up nearly two days a month in time.
Assess the task’s value
The next step is to assess the value of each task. Look at whether the tasks are high impact or low impact, i.e. they make a positive or negligible difference to your revenue, and whether they are high effort or low effort in regard to how much energy and time they take. For example invoicing is high impact, low effort as it enables you to get paid. A high impact, high effort task could be business planning or proposal development. A low impact, low effort task could be clearing your inbox. A low impact, high effort task could be filing or other clerical tasks.
Gaining transparency into how much your business is spending on tasks that don’t add much value to the business can be a sobering but extremely useful exercise.
Automate, outsource or drop
Now that you know the average time spent, value and cost for each task you can determine which tasks may be able to be automated, delegated or dropped.
At Amire, we upped our subscription levels in digital marketing tools which automate campaign performance such as Ahrefs and SEMRush which allowed us to significantly reduce the time spent on analysing campaigns.
We also became a Hubspot Certified Partner to help our clients, as well as our business, automate repetitive marketing, customer service and sales tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, live chat and even ad campaigns.
Automation has not only allowed us to save money and time, but it also better equips us to compete, scale and survive the more challenging times.