Monthly Archives: February 2014

How I Use Automation in My Business

I’ve been asked to share how I automate some of my business processes. However, I will start by saying that what works for me, may not work for you. But I do hope you can apply my example to your own business situation. Remember, it’s all about choosing the right tools to best serve your ideal client.

The contact request form on my website adds a contact record to my CRM (contact relationship manager) software as well as QuoteRoller, the software I use to prepare proposals for prospective clients. The proposal is emailed to the client and another application, RightSignature, is used for electronic signature acceptance of the proposal.

The next step is to have QuoteRoller create an invoiceID-100157962 in Freshbooks, the time and billing software I use. The invoices and payments automatically go to Xero, my accounting software.

Did you notice no printing of paper was involved in this process? Even better than that, only a minimal amount of typing was involved.

By narrowly defining the services I provide, I was able to set up a catalog of services in QuoteRoller so that preparing a client proposal is done with a few mouse clicks and minimal editing.

By choosing software tools that integrate AND understanding how that data is shared, I set up a reliable and accurate business system that supports my business process.  If client information changes, I update ONE system and the rest automatically get updated.

Where should you start building your business system? Start with documenting your business processes and then think about what tools you need in order to support and automate those processes. Please do not over think this. Keep it simple! Focus on the tools and processes you need in order to best serve your ideal client. I wrote about software integration here.

By the way, most of the links in this post are affiliate links which means I may earn a few coins if you sign up via my link. It is no way effects the price YOU pay for the subscription. I only support software that I firmly believe are solid products. This is also not an all inclusive list of the tools I use for my business. If you peruse my blog, you can read about some of the other tools I use.

If you’d like help with this process, get in touch. I’d be happy to assist.

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The Accounting Puzzle

For the first time in years, I bought a jigsaw puzzle to put together. While some see it as a tedious, frustrating task, I found the process of assembling the puzzle very satisfying and somewhat relaxing. Sort of like accounting. What some see as pointless and frustrating I find satisfaction in assembling the puzzle of your financial records. At least most of the time.

photo-1While a jigsaw puzzle may contain 500 pieces to assemble, your business systems (email, marketing, accounting, etc) does not necessarily need to contain that many pieces. Adding complexity to the way you do business makes it that much harder for customers to do business with you and prevents you from really knowing the financial health of your business. This complexity will also cost you in extra time and effort to maintain complex systems.

Do you really need 50 product/service names for the 15 products or services you sell?  No, because too many choices likely means the customer chooses nothing.

Do you really need an income account for every product or service you sell? No, because consistency in recording transactions becomes almost impossible and your financial reports impossible to gain usable financial insight about your business.

On the flip side, do you really need an expense account for every conceivable type of expense your business has? Again, no. Too much detail makes it almost impossible to be consistent in recording your financial transactions.

Unlike a jigsaw puzzle that contains upwards of 500 pieces, you can choose to keep your business model (and the accompanying business systems) as simple as possible. Keep it simple is the best advice I can give to any business. Life has its own way of adding pieces to the puzzle of our businesses without us adding to it.

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