We’ve all been there before. Bogged down with projects, deadlines, and client or staff concerns, and suddenly you have what can only be described as an “Oh shit” moment. The walls close in, your eyes widen, and suddenly everything zooms into focus as you realize “I totally forgot to email Larry that invoice last week!” or “How could I have forgotten to send over that contract?! What’s their name and email address again? When was I supposed to send it?“. Your mind rushes with all kinds of worrisome thoughts about how others may perceive you’re performing at your job, or even self-doubt about your own capabilities. However, I’m here to assure you: don’t be so hard on yourself! Human errors happen all the time, and in this era of information overload we’re all more distracted than ever.
No matter how capable and careful you are, things can slip through the cracks. No one is perfect. This is why leveraging technology to automate those important but relatively menial business tasks has never been more important. Fortunately, automating tasks like invoicing, recurring reminders, sending contracts, and other client management features has become accessible (and cost-effective)–even for small businesses and startups. While there are certain large companies that offer suites of automation capabilities (Salesforce, Slack, and Hubspot for instance), the cost to have these tools can feel astronomical to small businesses, and many times those systems can’t even adapt to the exact needs of your business.
When we tried using these advanced services, we quickly realized the primary limiting factor: these systems weren’t built to fit our specific business needs. In 2018, we began building our own in-house CRM (Customer Relationship Management) web application. We found it refreshingly simple and coherent compared to the bogged down systems that have dozens of features we have no need for. What started as simply ‘a place to list client profiles’ evolved to ‘let’s add calendar reminders for invoicing’, and now ‘let’s automate the email messages that go directly to clients once a payment has been received’. The beauty of building your own custom CRM software is that it can start simple and cheap, allowing you the flexibility to only add additional features as needed. Having full control over our day to day business operations is empowering, and the automation aspect provides a sense of relief. Most importantly, our in-house system can do exactly what we need it to do, and we don’t have to pay extremely high monthly fees.
Not only does eliminating the Oh Shit moments produce a greater sense of relief and collective accountability, it also frees up everyone’s most precious commodity: time. How much of your time is currently being spent sifting through folders and files (digital or physical) trying to find specific client documents? How long are you spending creating and sending out invoices, making sure you’re using the correct contact info? How many minutes do you have to spend setting calendar reminders for certain events depending on the type of client and their status? The value of freeing up your time by handing off these types of repetitive tasks to a system cannot be overstated. Having more time to work on your business not in your business is a key concept laid out in a book we recommend by Michael Gerber called Beyond The E-Myth, and automating tasks with a custom software solution is an excellent way achieve this shift.
When it comes to conducting business, your time and reputation are always at stake. Normalizing your business operations, reminders, and communication leads to better accountability, and more time to invest in other aspects of your business, all of which lead to greater profitability. We’ve already helped clients actualize this potential in the real estate, law, and insurance industries, and we’d love to explore ways we can help you do the same.
If you haven’t begun automating parts of your business, or aren’t sure how to get started, we’re happy to help you during a free strategy session. Contact Winnona Partners today to get started!