When we are in business for ourselves sometimes we get so busy doing things that we forget why we’re doing them.
We don’t take the time to think about whether there are ways that we could be doing things more quickly and efficiently.
Remember: most of us are in business to make money, to feel rewarded and to pursue our passion.
How can you automate some of the things you do so you can get out there sharing your gifts with more people and having more fun doing it?
Here a few a my favourite automation tips and accounting tips to save you time in your business:
1. Stop manually paying bills
- Set up direct debits for regular expenses eg. electricity, insurance, leases, loan repayments, rates, rent, security, telephone. These bills can be checked at the end of the month as part of your monthly bookkeeping procedure.
- Use online accounting software to store your bulls and supplier invoices securely in your accounts.
2. Handle your accounting data better
- Have your accountant or bookkeeper access your online accounting file by inviting them to your software.
- Set up recurring invoices and recurring journal for transactions you repeat regularly.
- Set up MYOB Bank Feeds to save up to 15 hours each month, and there is no need to manually enter data from your bank statements, as the information will be automatically uploaded into your MYOB accounting software. There will be no missing data, no duplicates and no incorrect transactions if set up correctly.
- There are many other features and add ons that can save you even more time, however they are very specific. Check with your bookkeeper or accountant about the add ons that are applicable to your industry.
3. Batch business processes
- Instead of doing things as they come across your desk or into your inbox, set aside a regular blocks of time to attend to these things. For example, if you can’t set up direct debits for payment of bills, allocate a set time each week to pay all of them at once. The same can be done for quoting, invoicing, social media posts.
4. Manage your inbox
- Similar to the batching principle, why not follow one of Tim Ferriss’s tips from The 4-hour Work Week and only check your inbox twice a day? Switch off automatic delivery of emails and only attend to them during designated time slots. This will prevent getting to the end of the day wondering what you achieved!
- Set up automatic replies.
- Create a FAQ sheet that you can have on your website; and maybe a handy document with saved website links that you can cut and paste from instead of having to compose emails from scratch.
5. Manage your customer communication
- Send a regular newsletter to keep them updated with your business’s news, your current offers or promotions, what’s going on in your industry and tips that can help them in their business. This is a great opportunity for getting valuable information out in bulk and can often save lots of phone calls or emails explaining the same thing over and over.
- Automate newsletters by using services such as Mailchimp.
- Automate your social media content by using services such as Hootsuite, Buffer, IFTTT (“if this then that” where you design recipes for release of your content).
6. Client portals
- Set up a client portal that your clients can securely deliver to you and receive from you documents, facilitating collaboration and supporting the upload of even the largest files. This saves you time waiting for information to be dropped in, collected or posted so tasks can be attended to more quickly and efficiently.
7. Start using electronic signatures
- Why wait for manual signatures when you can have documents signed electronically?
- Documents can be signed anywhere from any device.
- No need to wait for snail mail which is getting more expensive and less regular.
So my challenge to you for the next week is to stop before you undertake any task. Write the time down when you start the task and the time that you finish the task. Just by being aware of the time it takes to do something will have you seeing things in a different light. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is this task a worthwhile use of my time?
- Should this task be automated?
- Should this task be delegated?