What should I automate?

What should I automate?

Using software, using computers, is all about taking advantage of the fact that computers are great at simple, repetitive tasks. They’re getting better at making decisions, but it’s the drudgery that they’re best at taking away.

So what do you do that could conceivably be automated?

The best way to start is to sit down in front of a giant piece of paper – or even better, a huge whiteboard – and figure out how your business works.

Where do your orders come from? What happens when someone rings up? What happens when someone buys? How do you deal with returns? Or complaints.

Think through the different things that everyone does every day. Draw out a flowchart of the different decisions people have to make. Who needs to know what? Where does the information come from?

There will be some paths through this flowchart that are complicated. That need careful handling. But there will be other paths that are just dull. Repetitive work that doesn’t need much thought. It just takes time.

Automate that away. It’s the sort of thing a computer can do best. And that frees up your staff to do more important stuff.

Take Action: Write down the various tasks you and your team do; what do you do every day, every week, every month – or just as and when? Which ones of those tasks are mindless, tedious and repetitive? What can you do to automate them away?