Time is money.

It’s one of those common sayings we hear so often that it starts to lose its meaning. It’s a ubiquitous business quote used over and over by entrepreneurs, business coaches, mentors and parents – and it’s 100% true.

If you’re in a job that trades time for money (ie. nutritionist, lawyers, chiropractors etc.) the relationship between the two become quite obvious. Even if you’re not explicitly trading time for money, there is an opportunity cost for everything you choose to spend your time on.

For example, the opportunity cost I’m incurring while writing this post is that I’m not doing something else to build the business or jumping on a discovery call with a prospective JHB student. Everything I choose to spend my time on comes with a cost, which becomes blatantly apparent when running your own business.

That’s why automating certain parts of your business are essential to the growth of a business, so you can free up the time to focus on the parts of your business that have a big impact. That’s not to say that one aspect of your business is more important than another; but if you are putting all of your time towards writing daily social media posts or sending emails, you’re never going to move the needle on the things that will really propel your business forward.

And the power of automation does not discriminate between large/small/ new / established businesses. No matter what stage you’re in, you can benefit from automating your business and that’s why we spend a lot of time in the Joyous Health Business Program talking about how to create [what we like to refer as] your businesses ecosystem.

But before we get into the best automations to improve your business, it’s important to understand how the right automations go beyond just freeing up your time and can help elevate your business to new levels.

Elevate Your Business With Automations

There are many, repetitive and mundane tasks that can be automated to free up valuable hours that will let you work on other areas of your business.

Connect Your e-Commerce and Accounting Platforms

There are fewer tasks that are more time consuming than accounting. At the bare minimum, you should be using an accounting software to track your business financials. Using excel sheets instead? Please stop immediately. Simply switching to an accounting platform can save you hours of time, not only during tax-time but also on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

And if your objection is cost? Just stop. Most platforms start around $15/mth and you will not spend a better $15 dollars compared to how much time you will save.

Take it a step further and integrate your accounting platform with your online shop. Most of the popular platforms (Shopify, Squarespace, Woocommerce, Stripe, PayPal etc.) will have native integrations that will automatically synchronize sales, refunds, customer information and inventory so when you run your accounting reports you’ll have a clear and organized picture of how your business is doing.

Walker’s Pick: Quickbooks Online

Pre-schedule Your Social Media Posts

Social media can be overwhelming. In the Joyous Health Business Program, one of the most common questions we get is around the time commitment needed to maintain a regular content schedule. Not only is it disruptive to your day to stop whatever you’re doing to make sure you get the latest Instagram or Facebook post out, but there’s always the risk of forgetting to publish a post at all.

So what’s a time-strapped entrepreneur to do? Bulk write and schedule all of your social content. Schedule a couple of hours in your calendar to write all of your social posts for the upcoming week or month using a Social Media Publishing tool (many of which are free!). Once you have everything written, you can pre-schedule all your posts and in the words of the great Ron Popeil, “you set it and forget it”.

Not only will bulk scheduling your social posts free up hours in your week to work on other things, but it will allow you to maintain a consistent publishing schedule, which as we learn in JHB, is an essential element of cultivating a strong online community.

Walker’s Pick: Buffer (Honourable mention: Hootsuite)

Make Scheduling a Breeze

How much time have you spent trying to schedule a meeting or book a client over email? You go back and forth, compare calendars, give different options and then, just when you think you’ve found common ground, that time slot is no longer available.

Been there. Done that.

Using a calendar scheduling tool lets you set your availability and allows clients to instantly see available time slots to book in. You can also collect all of the information you need at the time of booking (ie. phone numbers) which takes away the guessing game if you’re working with people across multiple timezones. Take it a step further and connect your personal calendar (ie. Google Calendar) so you’re never double booked.

Walker’s Pick: Calend.ly

Automate to Create a Great Experience

One of the easiest ways to take your business to the next level is by setting up email automations that are triggered when people interact with your brand. Think of these emails as a way to positively reinforce and nurture a user’s behaviour, which can include anything from joining your mailing list to making a purchase.

New Subscriber Welcome Emails

An opt-in to your newsletter is often the starting point in a user’s journey and their quest to learn more about you, your business and what you have to offer. Up until this point, you’ve offered enough value and piqued enough interest that this person has decided to provide their personal contact info (in this case, their email), but what happens next?

Right now you’re presented with an incredible opportunity to positively reinforce this users decision to subscribe. You have the opportunity to further educate them on who you are and what you have to offer. You have the opportunity to create a unique experience that separates you from the pack and shows them you value their decision to sign up. You have the opportunity to do ALL of this with a unique “Thank You for Subscribing” automated email…

So, just think of how much of a missed opportunity it is when the user receives this:

Creating a custom confirmation email is an incredibly powerful relationship-building tool and one of the easiest ways you can start to cultivate a strong connection with your users. Take it a step further and create a 3-5 email welcome automation to tell a more intricate story and introduce the different elements of your business. This is what our welcome automation currently looks like at Joyous Health:

As I mentioned, it’s also a great opportunity to educate on what you have to offer and provide them with direction as to how they can make the most of your business offerings, similar to how we’ve done in our Welcome email that users receive when they sign up to learn more about the Joyous Health Business program.

Purchase Follow-up Emails

You’ve just made a sale! Yay! Your work is done!

Nope.

If anything, you’re most important work is just beginning, because how you treat your customers after-purchase is probably more indicative of your business than how you’ve treated them prior to purchase. A strong post-purchase automation will not only set you apart from your competitors but reinforce to your customers that they are still important even though you already have their money.

Take this opportunity to send a personalized thank you, educate them on your product or service, indicate next steps (ie. scheduling an appointment), ask for a review or feedback, refer a friend etc. The possibilities are endless.

While creating these email templates and automations will require some time (and money if you choose to hire a designer) upfront, you will easily see a return on your initial investment and create an expectation where people are excited to open your emails and engage with your business.

Need some email inspiration? Check out reallygoodemails.com for great ideas.

Walker’s Pick: MailChimp (Active Campaign for more advanced users)

The Best Tools to Automate Your Business

Email Marketing

Accounting

Social Media Scheduling

Scheduling

For Nutritionists

Miscellaneous

I’m curious, if you already know about automating your business, is there something keeping you from doing so?

This content was originally published here.