Gone are the days when growth meant employing more people and asking them to work longer and faster. Thanks to technology, growth is all about automation. If you want to succeed, you have to automate. It is a necessity of the times. Something so reliable is a must-have for every business. What are the advantages of automation? Having higher output and increased productivity are two of the biggest reasons for justifying the use of automation. Despite the claim of excellent quality from workmanship by humans, automated systems perform a more efficient process will have less variability than human workers. However, the biggest concern is, “where to begin” and “how to begin.” Addressing this issue, we will talk about 9 proven ways to automate your business for fast growth.
Ways to Automate Business for Fast Growth
1. Build Culture That Accepts Automation
If people are not ready to accept change, you cannot force it on them. The most obvious reaction that employees have to automation is that it will make their job redundant. So, the first thing to do is to build an environment that is conducive to change. Once the stage is set it is easier to convince people that automation is here to reduce their workload, increase accuracy and make things simple. The aim of automation is not to fire people but to assist them.
"Repetition is cancer to the soul."
- Joshua Lewis
2. Start With the Easiest Process
Don’t just jumpstart the automation of your business with any process. There is a method to the madness before you proceed. Since you are also new to it, the best thing is to start with the simplest process. This way even if something goes wrong you can still handle it and fix it without much stress. If it works fine, you will have the confidence to move to the next less simple process and so on and so forth. Starting with the easy one will also give you an insight into what to expect, as you advance, both from employees and the machinery involved. With this, you will be able to plan better.
3. Focus One Function at a Time
Your focus on automation cannot be on all aspects of your business in one go. If you do that, you will not have time to see your shortcomings and it will result in a less than seamless operation, if something does go wrong, it can set you back days. Identify one function at a time, automate where necessary, check the results, validate them, and only then move on to the next one. Remember until you are completely satisfied with the automation, do not roll it out. Repeatedly testing the function in different scenarios is the only way to find out all the loopholes. Once they are fixed, it is time to bring it to the production floor.
4. Make It Simple and Repeatable
Automation does not have to be a complicated thing. Look for how simply it can be done. Keeping it simple (stupid!) will prevent breakdowns and also reduce downtime. Having a complicated process in place will only increase the chance of something going wrong and increase maintenance time. If there is a breakdown, it will be relatively difficult to fix. Think in simple terms when thinking of automating. This will help you prepare better for times when there is an outage with your process be it machinery, employee or software breakdown.
5. Streamline Assignment and Communication of Tasks
In order for automation to work, you have to make sure that the task management and its communication is streamlined. If tasks are assigned without much thought and are conveyed in an equally careless manner, there is bound to be a system failure. This could be a communication breakdown between people, systems or otherwise. A proper system has to be in the place that will send out the work to be processed and its proper communication to the parties involved.
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6. Build Specialised Teams
Small teams in your business are the most efficient way of setting yourself up, each team acts like a family that is very focused on the task at hand. Automation is more easily leveraged by smaller efficient teams. While building a team takes time, it is well worth the effort to ensure you have chosen the right people and the right technology. Together they will create a free-flowing workflow for a smooth-running business. Automation will aid them in working faster and flawlessly thereby increasing the competency of the team as a whole.
Processes that have been well documented will always ensure that you have a reference to go back to if something does fail. A failure can be anything from software not communicating correctly or staff not adhering to procedures you have put in place. Documentation is the key to growth in business and automating your workforce. It creates accountability, gives room for improvements and moves things out of the heads of the team leaders and managers and makes it available for improvement for the entire business.
8. Work on Your Business
Sometimes you get up on the wrong side of the bed, an office day looms ahead, you just want to get it over with. For most, these days are called weekdays. It doesn't have to be this way, empowering your staff to be able to follow your lead with great systems gives you the time to look over your busyness and turn it back into a business. Ask them to help you make the business bigger and better. Work on it rather than in it. This will also make the people receptive to introducing automation where necessary and ultimately drives sales that can increase the income of your team.
9. Create Attention-Grabbing Business Cycles
Having sales and business cycles separate from each other is not a good idea. Sales start when a prospect shows interest in your product and is a part of increasing business exposure. Hence, an important aspect is to have a business cycle that can draw more eyes. A business cycle will help you get constant attention to your business. Big companies operate only in business cycles. However, new and small companies do not have enough capital to invest in the same way, but they can slowly build it up. Automation works best when your business cycle is successful in getting continuous interest.
10. Use AI
Artificial Intelligence can be incorporated into any business. This can be done in the form of search engines that are capable of optimizing results. For example, feed your business metrics as data into an AI search engine to find out simple things like quantity, price and marketing expenses. As time goes on no one has to take out time to learn machine language. This is because the best automation results can only be produced through time and monitoring. Start gradually and build on the results as you proceed.
The Final Word
Automation does not mean making jobs redundant. If used correctly it will help you increase your business capability. Either way, the only way it is going to work is to have your whole workforce aligned and on-board. Work with them and empower them with knowledge. Tell them how automation can help reduce their workload and increase efficiency. In the end, a business is only as good as its workers and as happy as its customers. Automation will benefit them all. Repetition is cancer to the soul, once your business is automated you will have never have seen your team happier.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2018. It has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.