The Control Freak’s Guide to Automation

This article was written by Michelle Weger.

I’ve heard countless fears about automation.

  • “Automation takes jobs away from humans!” – Actually, it creates more jobs.
  • “I’d miss the personal connections with my customers.” – Automation gives you more time and opportunities to connect with people.
  • “It won’t work because my business is different.” – Every business has something that is automatable, and finding custom solutions is one of my specialties.

But really, what it all boils down to is:

  • “I don’t want to lose control of my business.”

As a business owner, I get that.

Fear of automation isn’t uncommon, but it is unfounded.

Automation isn’t about losing control.

It’s about gaining control.

Control of your time.

Control of your finances.

Control of your business.

How?

1. If you don’t think you’re using automation, you are.

Do you drive a manual vehicle or an automatic?

People who drive stick-shift often say that they prefer the control they have over their vehicle.

The thing is, automatic transmissions offer the same function and are just as reliable, trustworthy, and functional as a manual transmission.

But the point here isn’t whether manual transmissions are better than automatics.

The point is that your manual vehicle probably still has automatic windows.

Power seats.

Signal lights.

You might drive a manual vehicle, but you’re still using automated features.

Whether it’s for convenience (sure, you could roll your windows down manually, but isn’t it nice to just press a button when you get to your favourite drive-thru window?) or safety (like not having to stick your arms out the windows you just manually cranked down to signal a turn like a bicyclist would), those features make your life more efficient without you even noticing.

There are countless little things in your business that you’ve probably already automated without even thinking about it:

  • Auto-responders
  • Forms on your website
  • Appointment reminders

But just like your car, you’re still in control.

2. Automation lets you control what you’re doing with your time.

Imagine you own a bakery.

You need to make dozens upon dozens of cookies every single day.

Can you even imagine trying to run your bakery without a mixing machine?

Making all of those cookies with just an old wooden spoon and a bowl?

You don’t need to be a professional baker to feel daunted by the idea of making multiple batches of baked goods without even a hand mixer. Instead of flipping a switch and letting the ingredients meld, you’re stuck standing there stirring…

And stirring…

And stirring…

Which means that your baked goods are going to take even longer to make and that you have less time to do the fun parts of baking, like decorating your cookies (and eating them).

The same goes for your business. Automation allows you to do more of what you love, so you can choose to decorate your cookies instead of standing there stirring…

And stirring…

And…

3. No one said you just have to set it and forget it.

For many people, letting automated tasks run in the background and take care of themselves would be a dream come true.

But if that sounds more like a nightmare to you, that’s okay.

It can be hard to let go of things completely, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t automate parts of your business.

Good automation will let you double-check its results and make exceptions to the automated process.

To give a real-world example, my business uses automation to set up new clients in our system. This involves creating profiles for them on our custom portal, adding them to our project management software, and sending them emails on what to expect next.

But every single client I work with is unique. That means that a fully-automated set-up doesn’t make sense for my business. Our automation creates the structure we need to begin a project much faster than any one person could do that task, then allows my team to customize it for each client.

Those emails? Editable, and sent by a real person after confirming and adjusting the information in them.

The project management software? The bones are there, with room for us to add more details as needed.

This is still automation, and it still saves my team a ton of time.

After all, what sounds better: manually inputting a ton of repetitive information every single time a new client works with us, or double-checking the information that’s already there to verify it’s correct?

Automation is meant to work with you, not just for you.

Automating the tedious tasks of your business means you can spend more time working on the things you love.

And if you love to be in control, automation will respect that.

If your automation is done right, you might even get to a point where you use it the same way you use automatic windows or signal lights: without a second thought.

If you’re ready to gain more control over your business, let’s talk.

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