2022 Ultimate Guide: 8 Steps to Automate Your Entire Business

The Definitive Guide on How To Automate Your Business

Who This Guide Is For:

This guide is built for you if you’re a:

  • Business owner
  • Founder
  • Entrepreneur
  • CEO, CFO, CTO, or COO
  • Chairperson
  • Board Member
  • Manager
  • Anyone wanting to learn how automation can benefit a business

You'll Learn:

  • How automation works
  • Why automation is beneficial
  • How to automate every facet of your business
  • How to implement automation
  • How to find where automation will make the most impact
  • How to show your employees the benefits
  • How to glean the full benefits of automation
  • And much more

How to Get the Most Out of this Guide

Before we fully dive into the guide, here’s what you can do to get the most out of it:

  • If this is your introduction to automation: Make sure to read the guide front to back. You’ll be able to get a full lesson on automation and learn where you need to start.
  • If you’re needing specific information: Just click on the corresponding chapter below and jump right to the info you’re needing.
  • If you’re needing help getting started: Get in touch with us. The team at Bailey can help make your automation visions a reality.

Regardless of what you’re needing out of this guide,you’re sure to find it below. Read through the whole guide or click through with the table of contents below:


PART

1

:

Why Automation Matters

Before we go any further, it’s important to talk about why an automated business is a worthwhile endeavor. One common belief about automation that we would like to immediately discredit is the idea that it’s a movement meant to replace your employees.

On the contrary, business process automation is actually employee-centric and meant to maximize the potential and productivity of your workforce. When you’re looking at how to automate your business, your initial focus is going to be on simplifying and identifying the required, repetitive tasks that are using up your employees’ time and energy, without producing outside returns. 

In short, automation matters because it’s the future of business. It enables your business and your employees to grow and thrive like never before. But we’ll touch more on these points further along in the guide. Before doing that, let’s touch on the primary and most obvious benefits you’ll see when you create an automated business.

Benefits of Automation

There are countless tangible and intangible benefits that you’ll see when you automate your business. The primary benefits that you’ll see include:

  • A More Efficient Workplace: With repetitive tasks automated, your business will be more efficient and consistent with its productivity and output. In addition to the repetitive tasks being virtually eliminated, many tasks that require human input will also be streamlined with the help of automation in other phases of the process.
  • A Finer Degree of Quality Control: Human error is inevitable when an employee is having to do tedious and repetitive tasks over and over again. It’s easy for mistakes to fall through the cracks. With these kinds of tasks being automated, you’ll have a much lower error rate.
  • Reduced Costs and Increased Profits: With employees having the ability to spend more time on value add, billable, and strategic work, you’ll be maximizing their productivity, sales, and profit potential while also reducing overhead and operating complexity.
  • Happier Workforce and Reduced Turnover: Your employees are going to experience higher levels of job satisfaction when they get to spend more time on work they like to do. This means you have a happier workforce, less turnover, fewer onboarding costs to replace turnover, and a greater chance of attracting the best talent.

PART

2

:

Making the Decision to Automate

Now that we have a better idea of the benefits and philosophy behind automation, it’s time to take the first step of automating your business: making the final decision to automate. 

With that being said, most businesses can benefit from at least some degree of automation. Due to their scale, mid-sized and enterprise-level businesses tend to see the most radical changes when they automate, but even small businesses can see a big difference when they make the decision to go ahead with business process automation.

If you’re still on the fence, there are several questions you can ask yourself to see if your business would be a good candidate for business process automation:

  • Does our workforce have daily tasks that allow you to sell your products or services, but the tasks themselves aren’t billable, value adds, or strategic?
  • Are these tasks repeatable, standardized, and/or high-volume?

If the answer is yes to either or both of these questions, your business is going to be a great candidate for business process automation. If you’ve made the decision to automate, the next step is going to be finding out where you should implement automation.


PART

3

:

Finding Where Automation Will Work Best

Automation isn’t really something you want to implement haphazardly. Throwing automation at the wall and seeing what sticks is going to cost you more time and effort than necessary. Instead, when you’re looking where to implement business process automation, you should take a targeted approach and find out where automation can make the most significant impact on your business and your employees.

This means finding how automation can create an easier workload for your team, finding where automation can expedite processes, and finding where automation can reduce your operating costs. So how do you do this? You’ll need to do an opportunity assessment to get a full idea. Here are some things you’ll want to look out for:

  • Find the most time-consuming workflows and start there: Go from department to department and see where your employees are tracking the most time. If they’re spending inordinate amounts of time on tasks that are repetitive and recurring, then hone in on those tasks and start there. As mentioned, these are going to be the best candidates for initial automation efforts. Also, look out for tasks that are complicated and multi-step. These tasks could possibly be streamlined by automating certain parts.
  • Understand the different moving parts of the tasks: Once you’ve identified the tasks that are good candidates for automation, you need to gain a deeper understanding of these workflows so you know how to automate them. What apps are involved in the workflows? Are these tasks cross-departmental? Understanding how these tasks flow is going to be an essential part of implementing your business process automation strategy.
  • Talk to employees: Don’t forget about the ones who will be benefiting greatly from these workflow automations. Your employees will be able to tell you their pain points and you’ll be able to figure out if automation is a solution to those tasks and bottlenecks.

Once you know how to identify automation opportunities, you can start drilling down into automation department by department. Let’s look at automation by department and how automation can help each department.

PART

4

:

Automation by Department

Each and every department in your business is going to face challenges that can be solved by automation. By taking a targeted approach to solving these problems, you can implement workflow automation in a way that improves the efficiency of these departments and reduces tedious work for the employees. Let’s take a look at some of these departments and see how automation can impact them for the better.

Marketing

Your marketing team constantly needs to lend their creativity and strategic minds to their work. When they have tedious or repetitive work on their plates, it can take away from their ability to put the full breadth of their talent into their marketing efforts.

Marketing automation can benefit this department in a wide variety of ways. Here are just a few ways your marketing department can benefit from automation:

  • Simplify lead generation - You can automate lead generation processes. Connecting apps like Facebook Lead Ads with Salesforce, Marketo, and other essential marketing apps can save your team time and allow them to respond to leads and adjust lead ads faster.
  • Make social media simple - Your social media team can easily automate things like cross-posting across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more. You can also automate notifications that let your social media team know when you’re getting mentions and engagement.

Streamline email marketing - Automating your email marketing allows you to automatically add subscribers to mailing lists, organize email contacts, deliver nurture emails, and more.

Sales

Automating many aspects of the sales process and sales funnel is extremely advantageous to your sales team. When your sales team has more time on their hands, they can focus on landing those sales, prospecting, and maintaining great relationships with current clients. Sales teams can also be prone to high turnover, so when you give your sales team more time to sell, they’re going to stay with your company longer.

Here are a few ways your sales team can benefit from workflow automation:

  • Automate lead generation and follow-ups - You can automate the lead generation process and follow-up emails. Your sales team only has to handle the high-level communications with prospects, instead of spending time constantly checking in. 
  • Automate proposals - Your sales team won’t have to constantly generate proposals for prospects, this process is easily automated for them.
  • CRM automation - Your sales team doesn’t need to spend hours adding leads and contacts to CRMs like Salesforce. It can be done automatically for them.

Finance

Your finance and accounting team deals with repeating work that requires 100% accuracy. 

When employees are required to do repetitive tasks, human error is inevitable. When automation enters the picture, your finance team can reduce errors and decrease the time they spend in spreadsheets.

Here are some of the ways that business automation can help your finance and accounting departments:

  • Keep invoices organized - With automation you can improve your invoicing process. Make sure invoices are created and delivered automatically, on time, and accurately. 
  • Track and record expenses - Automation can make expense tracking much simpler. Expense reports can easily be automatically imported and added without the need for manual input. Connect your favorite apps like Quickbooks Online and Google Sheets easily. 
  • Keep track of new clients and client record updates - With automation in place, your new clients and client updates can be automatically reflected in your various CRM and accounting software.

HR

Implementing automation leads to company growth. As your company grows, HR will need to keep up with the new demands. With automation at your side, you can ensure that they can handle the new volume of HR-related issues and personnel onboarding.

Here are some ways automation can impact your HR department:

  • Automate recruiting efforts - Take the tedium out of recruiting and keep things organized by automating resume screening, interview scheduling, and more.

Automate aspects of onboarding - With automation, your HR team doesn’t have to worry as much about administrative tasks like sending out legal documents, securing signatures, scheduling training, and sending out new hire materials.

Customer Support

Your customer support team is an essential pillar of your business, but it’s easy for them to become inundated with customer service issues. With automation, they can handle the more complicated customer requests while automation takes care of the rest.

Here are some ways you can implement automation in customer support:

  • Automating customer service response - Many times, a customer service issue is easily resolved with a simple answer to their questions. Instead of having your customer service team handle these types of requests, automated responses can handle smaller issues.
  • Automating request notifications - Automation helps your customer support team respond in a timely manner. Connecting apps like Zendesk to apps like Gmail and Slack can ensure that a customer support rep is notified as soon as a ticket is created. 

IT

IT automation can be utilized to eliminate a lot of the manual work your IT team likely deals with on a consistent basis. Your IT team has tons of processes that can be automated, and you can free them up for much more strategic work by implementing the right processes.

Here are some of the things you can do with IT automation:

  • Incident response automation - Automating your incident response processes allow IT to learn about incidents quicker, solve them faster, and decrease the duration of downtime. 
  • Application deployment - There are a wide variety of tasks that can be automated during the testing phase of application development. Giving your IT team the tools they need to automate these processes will lead to faster application deployment.

As you can see, we’re just scratching the surface on what automation can do for your different departments. A more in-depth opportunity assessment could give you a clearer picture of how much deeper of an impact automation can have.


PART

5

:

Employee Buy-in and Empowerment

One thing that many business owners worry about when making the decision to automate is how their employees will react. The myths about automation can sometimes lead employees to make the wrong assumptions. Owners need to be transparent with employees about automation strategy and communicate the upcoming changes you’ll be implementing. Fortunately, with the right approach, not only will you get your employees to buy into the idea of automation, you’ll empower them to innovate and grow from the advantages that automation affords them. Here are some tactics to get employee buy-in:

  • Show them the data - Sit down with employees from your different departments and find out which repetitive tasks they spend the most time on. Show them how much time they’ll save by automating those tasks. Once your employees see that the tasks they dislike will be taken off their plate, not the tasks that need their input, they’ll be more comfortable with the implementation.
  • Listen to their input - Once your employees are excited about the idea, they might have their own suggestions that you didn’t find in your data and opportunity assessment. Taking in employee input and implementing it is a great way to show your employees that their ideas are being heard and that you want automation to make their jobs better, not replace them. 
  • Empower them - As you implement automations, make sure you’re training employees on them and how they work. This will lead to employee empowerment and they might be able to innovate their processes further once they understand how automation works and how they can use it to improve their workflows.

Automation is rapidly becoming a more widespread technology. This has led to less misconceptions  and more employees ready to embrace automation. You may find that many of your employees have been wanting automation implemented sooner than later. Regardless of what your employees’ preconceived notions are about automation, they’re going to appreciate it if you make the effort to explain the upcoming changes they should expect and how it benefits them.


PART

6

:

Choosing Your Automation Tools

After you’ve made the decisions to automate, you’ve identified your opportunities, and you’ve got employee buy-in, you’re going to need to decide how you want to automate. There are various automation software options to choose from and picking the right one for your business is a crucial step. Let’s talk about some of these automation tools and which automation software option is right for your business.

Top Automation Software

The first thing we should do is categorize the automation software options. When you look into the automation platforms at your disposal, you’ll see two different categories: API-integration platforms and RPA platforms. Each has its own set of benefits.

API Integration Platforms

With an API integration platform, you can connect an array of different cloud-based applications and automate their interactions. Utilizing these platforms allow your APIs to talk to each other, share data, and optimize your API-related processes. Here are some of the top API platforms that you might consider using:

Zapier - Zapier is probably one of the most well-known automation software options out there. With Zapier, you can make workflows that automatically move information and data between a huge selection of web apps. Zapier also doesn’t require coding experience, making it have a low barrier to entry and a user-friendly interface.

Integromat - Integromat is another popular automation tool. Integromat works in a similar way to Zapier, connecting APIs and web apps. Integromat is more complicated to use than Zapier, but that means it can also be set up to handle more in-depth workflows.  

Tray.io - Tray.io has similar features to the other two platforms, but it is more geared to enterprise-level and large businesses.

Robotic Process Automation Platforms

Next, let’s look at robotic process automation platforms. These platforms tend to be more full-featured and customizable than their API-integration counterparts. RPA platforms can operate without the need for outside APIs. You can customize workflows with your own -in-house APIs and legacy applications. This, of course, often requires custom-coded solutions, making them more complicated to implement than the comparatively simple-to-use API integration platforms. 

RPA platforms also have the option to utilize unattended bots in a greater capacity. Unattended bots are triggered by a schedule or logic in workflows, meaning they don’t necessarily need human input to trigger. Attended bots do.

Here are the top RPA platforms to consider.

UiPath - UiPath is a popular and widely used RPA tool. UiPath is considered a web-based orchestrator and has the ability to run bots on the front-end and back-end. 

Automation Anywhere - Automation Anywhere is another widely used RPA platform. This software is cloud-native and web-based, making it great for scaling. With AUtomation Anywhere, you can program intelligent automation, attended bots, and unattended bots. 

Custom API Integrations

Custom API Integrations also need to be considered when you automate your business. If you need a custom API to connect to apps and allow them to share data, it will have to be done manually. An automation service provided, such as Bailey, can handle this if you’d prefer to leave it to a professional.

Choosing Your Automation Platform

As you can see, the choice of what automation software to use is an important one. It really will depend on your business, the types of applications you use, and the workflows you need to automate. Many businesses even implement multiple platforms to meet their automation needs. 

If you’re having trouble deciding on which is best to implement, you can always turn to an automation service provider to give you guidance. Here at Bailey, we know which platforms are best for any use case. You can turn to Bailey when you’re trying to figure out your path to automation.


PART

7

:

Automation in Action

Once you’ve selected your automation tools and implemented your automation strategy, all that’s left to do is monitor, assess, and optimize.

When you first implement automation in your business, there is likely going to be a learning curve. You’ll have to see how automations are working for your teams, see where they need improvements, and where the automations you’ve set up aren’t meeting your team’s needs. Monitoring and assessing your automations on an ongoing basis will ensure that you can make adjustments as your business grows and changes.

You’ll eventually need to scale your automations as your business grows and demand changes. If you don’t build your automations to be scalable, more robust changes will need to be made in order to compensate for the new growth. If keeping up with your automation optimizations and scaling them up becomes something that overwhelms you, you can always turn to an automation service provider to help you keep up. 

This brings us to our final step. If you want to avoid mistakes, implement automation as quickly as possible, and make the biggest possible impact on your operations, consider outsourcing your automation implementation to a service provider like Bailey.

PART

8

:

Automate Your Business with Bailey: Get Started Today or Take Your Current Efforts to the Next Stage

By following the above guide, you’ll be well on your way to having an automated business. However, everything we’ve outlined is always easier said than done. It takes time, effort, and careful strategy to make sure automation is implemented properly. Many businesses don’t always have the time or resources to make this transition seamlessly. That’s where an automation service provider like Bailey comes in. 

Here at Bailey, we have a team of automation experts, analysts, consultants, developers, and advisors ready to help you automate your business. When you work with a service provider like Bailey, we’ll take care of all of the steps we’ve outlined in this guide for you. Let’s recap what that means. Bailey will:

  1. Consult you on the benefits of automation
  2. Help you see if automation is right for your business
  3. Assess and identify automation opportunities in your business
  4. Create an implementation strategy for every department that will benefit
  5. Help you get employee buy-in
  6. Identify the best tools for your business and implement your automations
  7. Monitor and assess your automations
  8. Provide ongoing support

If you’re serious about automating your business or taking your current automations to the next stage, then an automation service provider is going to be the most efficient, most effective, and most impactful way to do it. Contact Bailey today for more information and to schedule your free consultation.

PART

9

:

Bonus Resources

Section divider

Automate Your Entire Business With Bailey's Help

The benefits of automating your business are clear, but getting to implementation can seem like a daunting task. At Bailey, we'll help you understand how automation applies to your company, where to focus your initial energy, and how to fully optimize your automations as you grow. Contact us today for more information and to set up an initial consultation.

Fill Out The Form Below To Get Started

Once you fill out the form our team of experts will follow up shortly to establish the appropriate next step.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

"At Bailey, we believe in the power of effective automation to help your business thrive. We look forward to connecting with you about how to make your company more efficient and your team happier."

William Griggs founder and CEO of Bailey
William Griggs
Founder and CEO of Bailey
hands shaking
24/7 Support
graph going up
High ROI
delivery truck
Fast Implementation