Planning out your process might feel like an overwhelming task. We believe it’s a crucial step to helping you identify what steps can be streamlined and if technology can be used to automate.
Taking the time to streamline your process can help you identify key areas to improve, and save you time in the future through the power of automation.
In this post, we’re going to share 5 simple steps you can use to document and streamline your process:
1. Focus on the Big Picture
The devil may be in the details, but getting too hung up on the specifics when you’re just getting started can prevent you from getting it done.
Start with the “big picture” key steps and then add to it from there. Picture yourself or your team actually doing each task.
What resources do you frequently visit?
Are there other sites you have to go to?
What questions do you need answered? Can these be made available to save time?
2. Work Backwards
If you get stuck as you’re mapping out your process, start at the end. Think about what the final step looks back and work backwards.
What needs to happen before now to make this step easier?
What information do you need that might prevent you from getting to the next step?
Can a step be automated or delegated to another team member?
3. Analyze for Repeatable Steps
If you find yourself (or a member of your team) repeatedly entering in data, manually sending an email broadcast, or posting on social media, it can probably be automated.
As you work to document your process, place a (M) for manual or an (A) for automated, so you can see at a glance which tasks require a person, and if there are steps that could potentially be automated with technology.
With each step, consider, is this step something that could be done by a virtual assistant, technology, or another member of my team?
4. Use Technology to Automate
There are so many solutions out there today that are just waiting to make your life easier. Now that you’ve been noticing steps that might be a good candidate for automation, consider what technology would work best for you.
Here are some examples:
Booking Automation (accept bookings directly through your website rather than forcing a customer to call or email you) * This is great to use for scheduling meetings without the back and forth of emails.
Email Automation (create sales and marketing campaigns that run by themselves after an event is triggered or based on their behavior – e.g. a resource is downloaded, an event is scheduled, payment is made, they took longer to complete a task, etc.)
Email Broadcasts & Social Posting (schedule emails and social media posts to go out at a later date)
Gather Reviews or Get Feedback (nowadays, no one on your team needs to do this manually. Use custom fields to still make your email template personalized, and save time).
5. Create Templates/Resources for Recurring Steps
Stop copying and pasting, or typing out the same sentences over and over. Create email templates by writing a master version of the emails you regularly send to prospects, clients or members of your team and save them as templates.
Good templates will not only save you time while you streamline your process, but they can still feel personal. With the use of custom fields, you can personalize a person’s name, why they reached out to you, a date, their title, etc.
Custom fields are a means for storing contact data, and you’re only limited by what you want to know and what data users are willing to share with you.
Some solutions let you save a template within their interface. If yours does not support this, use a Google Doc, so you have access from any device.
Tech to Help You Streamline Your Process
If you’d like recommendations of what technology to use for automation, check out our resources page to see some of the solutions we use.