3 Steps to automating your business

There are a wide variety of systems that exist either online or as software to help you organize and manage your contacts, projects, content, time & a lot more. The real question to ask yourself is; How can I use this existing technology to make my business run easier and more efficiently?

Step 1: Assess your needs as a business.

Think about your reasons for shopping for software. Make a list of challenges that your business faces and separate it into 2 categories; “Need” and “Want”. The Want list should be broad and this is where you should think outside the box, even if it is not possible right now, technology is going to facilitate more and more. The Need list should be relatively brief and include your main challenges that technology might be able to help with. You can also list this by order of importance. If you don’t know where to start, Consult with an expert by contacting us.

For example, if I were running a restaurant, my lists might consist of the following:

WANT: Make ordering more efficient
NEED: Point of Sale System, Accounting Software, Employee Management Software

Create your own list and proceed to the next step where you can start to research what systems already exist out there.

Step 2: Research existing systems and functionality.

During this phase you should try and find software or web applications that exist that provide things that are on your Need list. Sometimes you may end up having to use multiple systems together to accomplish all your Needs.

There are a wide variety of existing systems and applications that are used across multiple industries. Accounting software is the most obvious, and QuickBooks is the most popular, yet there are specialized applications for a wide variety of industries and purposes. If you are looking to manage projects and collaborate with clients you can use Basecamp, ProjectBubble or ActiveCollab. Sending out emails to subscriber list? Try MailChimp or Campaign Monitor. Looking to manage content via a website? You can use WordPress or Drupal. Try a quick search in google: “YOUR INDUSTRY management software” and see what comes up.

The research can take a long time, but it is important to find systems that are fast, affordable and flexible for your business. If you can’t find the right fit for you, a custom application can always be built to suit your needs.

Step 3: Test and Optimize.

Once you have a couple systems in mind, be sure to test them extensively. Any good system should provide a trial version or a complete demonstration. Be sure to think about how your existing systems (if you have any), will either be complemented or transitioned over to once the new system is in place.

You may have found some useful software or applications in the last step, but perhaps you need something beyond what exists already. You may still have a couple of things on your “Want” list and we are happy to discuss the options for realizing your goals with you. We have a wide variety of experience conceptualizing and developing custom applications for clients to match their specific requirements. Contact us today for more information.

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