I recently received some paperwork in the mail from an association that my company has been sponsoring for many years. My husband used to play lawn bowls for this particular association more than a decade ago and felt it was right to keep helping them out, however little the contribution.
I looked at the 4 pieces of paper, and as I logged into my internet banking, I started thinking how old school and backwards it was to send out a paper invoice and a letter in via snail mail. Then I started to think about how time consuming it also would have been.
The 4 pieces of information we received were:
- A very kind letter thanking us for our generous donation and ongoing support and that we were entitled to 2 free meals during the next year at the club with a free bottle of wine
- A DL size laminated certificate stating that our company was a "Gold Sponsor", to proudly display on our front office pin board
- A small “update your details” form so we could let them know if our address or phone number had changed
- Invoice with amount, date, their logo and BSB and Account details for payment
In the 1990s I worked in my parents small business as a teenager, writing cheques, banking cash, writing carbon copy invoices, writing appointments in a diary, taking landline phone calls, ringing up sales on a cash register, placing ads in the local paper or magazine and paying bills with cheques at the post office. This is the way we did business back then. There was no other way. There was no internet or internet banking. There was no square, stripe or paypal and we didn’t have a computer.
These 4 pieces of paper that came in the mail, got me thinking about how automated business can be these days. As an entrepreneur I can virtually do all of my business via zoom calls, (although most of my clients and I really do like the in-person meetings more!), pay all my bills on a laptop, send invoices from my Quickbooks in a heartbeat and send out my marketing message to thousands of people without paying a cent for advertising.
Every single one of those 4 pieces of paper can be automated or made digital. Someone somewhere has invented a solution to address each one of those things to make it digital or automated.
- CRM – Create client in the software and add the ‘thank you’ letter in word or PDF format to their file.
- Canva – Create small certificate of appreciation in a DL size image and save into CRM client file
- Mailchimp – Create and ‘update your details’ form, create URL so they can click on link and be automatically updated in your database
- Zapier – Zap from mailchimp to CRM to ensure both systems are up to date
- Create your invoice from CRM which integrates with MYOB, Quickbooks, XERO, Reckon or other accounting system.
- Email – Send out all 4 pieces of information from your CRM to client (No paper or stamp needed)
We take for granted the software, apps and technology we have available to us in 2020 and some of it is FREE or very low cost. Someone came up with these ideas as there was a problem, they were trying to solve and a need they were trying to meet. There are so many to chose from in the market, but we don’t need 100s of them to automate our business.
These are tools to help us become more efficient, save time, save money and help us to be spending time on the things that really matter in our business, instead of admin tasks that can be automated.
So my challenge to you today is, what is one thing you can do, one piece of software you can implement that will make your life as a business owner easier, less stressful and ease the pressure? One small step in the right direction today can reap massive big benefits tomorrow.