If there’s one thing that every business owner craves and seeks, it’s more time.
There never seem to be enough hours in the day to cross everything off your to-do list, strategize for the future and engage with your employees. Something almost always has to give, and the business—or you personally—end up suffering as a result. Since time is a finite resource, what can be done?
You probably have considered outsourcing some of your tasks to others within your company, but what about automating some of them too? Rather than a redistribution of your workload, automation can take even more items off of your plate (and not just shuffle them to someone else’s). Here’s a look at four areas in which automation can be a lifesaver—or at least a significant time-saver.
Social Media Scheduling
It’s no secret that, while the platforms themselves are generally free, social media management takes a considerable amount of time. As a business owner, it can be tough to extricate yourself from the weeds of your operation. You want to do things right, so you often end up doing them yourself even when someone else may be capable of doing so in your stead. It’s been found that 23 percent of CEOs and business owners spend between six to 10 valuable hours each week on social media, according to VerticalResponse. In this area, it’s time to release the reins.
By giving your team a clear idea of the variety, tone and goals for your social content, other people can spend time creating it. Then, through using a platform like TweetDeck or Hootsuite, your team can schedule content to automatically be delivered via your social channels. This way, your time is freed up, and their time is better allocated in meaningful ways. By not having to worry about the actual posting of content, your employees can ensure any of their time spent on social media is through active engagement with customers.
Email & Marketing
Most companies have some sort of email marketing system in place, either through a marketing automation tool or a homegrown platform of their own. If you’re one of them, bravo! You’re already taking steps to get back more of your time. If not, consider looking into something that can help you set campaigns to run without having to think about them day to day. Some popular options include Infusionsoft, HubSpot and Marketo.
Beyond email marketing, though, it’s important to think about how you may be losing time in your own business inbox. You know those emails you send “from the desk of the CEO” to customers every quarter? The personal touch is wonderful, but you can retain that—and schedule these emails instead of manually personalizing and sending each one. Think of the time you’ll save.
Also, if your inbox is consistently overwhelming, figure out a plan for organizing it every day. You could use something like the Pomodoro Technique, which gives you a focused amount of time to devote to a certain task, and is said to increase productivity. Whatever method you choose, just make sure your inbox isn’t weighing down your day.
While social media scheduling and email automation are two areas that most business owners have thought about, what about file backups? If you’re like most leaders, this is something that is largely unnoticed. Since you don’t spend a great deal of time backing up your files each day (or even each week), it may be easy to forget what a time waster this can be.
If you don’t already have a storage solution in the cloud, it’s high time to find one. Your first priority is security, and after that’s established, look for attractive features. MozyEnterprise is an example of a cloud-based solution that offers backups and file syncs automatically and gives you mobile access. Do your research, and be sure you find something that fits the bill for security and lessening your load.
A final piece of the time puzzle that typically is overlooked is in services like domain renewals. As you grow, your competition (or others looking to make a quick buck) will start keeping tabs on when your domain name expires. If you’re still manually renewing, stop. Hosting companies usually offer the choice to have automatic renewals take place, and it’s a great way to save a little bit of time and a lot of potential headaches. Look to GoDaddy or other trusted hosting companies for more information on how to make this switch.
As the owner of your business, it’s understandable that you want to have control over every aspect of your company. If you founded it, of course you want to be sure no one dilutes the message or mishandles your baby. But when mundane tasks are consuming your precious time, a little control should be released in exchange for more time to handle the important things. Find a way to schedule your social media content, automate any email you possibly can and set file backups and domain renewals to take place routinely—without your help. You’ll notice minutes getting untied, which will give way to hours.
Having more hours in the day? It really might be possible.