Business owners are always looking to reduce operating expenses. The most obvious way to “trim the fat” is by eliminating products and services. Usually, the top 3 expenses in a company are Employees, Facilities, and Print (now you see why I sell printers…). We understand those 3 are vital to conducting operations, so we don’t cut them, we just change how we use them.
Some companies overload their employees. They decide who is needed, and the rest are let go. As for as facilities, some choose to downsize or sublet. And printing, well… who needs that copier company anyway… we can just go to (insert favored big box store here). We make what we think are correct choices, but how can we be sure?
Remember your last interaction with any type of customer service (cable company, phone company, insurance company, etc.)? What do you recall from the experience?
Did you press a number for the appropriate language, wait for the department choices, push the button, and find another menu? Did the information you provided to verify your identity carry over, or did you explain it again to the live person on the other end? When it’s over, everyone is angry and nearly 2 hours have passed.
There is more bad news… and you probably haven’t considered it; you worked for that company… and you paid them for it!
Do-it-Yourself culture is so common that many of us don’t recognize when it’s being forced on us. Companies that embrace automation are taking our favor for “DIY” and using it to their advantage.
Automation is growing in popularity and is quickly replacing a lot of jobs that once kept many “unskilled” workers employed. Look around: the self-checkout at the grocery store, the ATM machine, Red Box, online food ordering/shopping, and (since the push for a $15/hour minimum wage) touch screen kiosks at fast food joints.
These systems are convenient; unless the self-checkout keeps telling you that there are unauthorized items in the bagging area. The fact is, companies didn’t put the system in place for your convenience. Robots have been replacing human jobs at an alarming rate. They do a more efficient job at a lower cost; it’s almost a no-brainer.
In small business, we often make the mistake of assuming the technology our larger competitors use is out of our grasp. We believe automation and “computers” cost too much and we can just “do-it-ourselves”. I recently did a podcast about how we use money as a reason, but really, it’s just an excuse. That podcast can be found by clicking here.
We lie to ourselves and try to believe “Computers make people mad, we focus on customer service”. But when I call their office on the phone, I hear “Thank you for calling ABC Company, can you please hold”. I then sit in silence for 3 minutes before the secretary comes back, only to tell me the person I was looking for isn’t in right now, but they can take a message. Do you consider that “outstanding customer service”?
Why do so many companies pay too much and still inconvenience customers? Example: an entry level phone system costs less than $1,000. Nearly all have an automated attendant capable of answering calls while the secretary is handling other business, after business hours, and during lunch. Phone systems also have individual voicemail boxes that can deliver a message to the intended recipient. Embracing technology doesn’t make your customer service experience worse, it makes things more efficient!
As you can see, Do-it-Yourself culture has become routine. If you haven’t considered automation, it’s likely because you can “Do-it-Yourself” or pay a staff member. DIY has a place in business, but too many business owners make the mistake of picking the wrong things to DIY. The opportunity cost is far greater than the physical cost of acquisition.
If you had more time, how much more could you get done? If you can’t afford another employee, consider automation. It’s cheaper than an employee and it can take a considerable amount of workload off you and your staff! What you will have is a well-oiled machine, capable of high performance!
Here are some things that can help your business, but may have been overlooked because you “don’t have time” and you don’t want to spend money.
Branding and social media marketing; It’s HUGE! We already know DIY culture is real, so why not use it? I want to put my brand in front of as many people as possible. A solid DIY video can do that for you. And the bonus is subscribing followers. If I’m a contractor, it’s difficult to get a kitchen remodel in front of anyone that doesn’t go to the house I worked on; so, I need pictures and a place to put them. Social media is the place! Did you know there are services that allow you to schedule social media posts? Set it up once a week, or once a month, and it’s handled.
For more information on social media marketing, tune in to my next podcast (coming out 12/15/16) about engaging the Do-it-Yourself community with marketing that inspires viewers to take action, and it all still leads back to you. I also have an online course that helps you build a Facebook page for your business. It can be found here.
One final point, multifunction printers and email have made the fax machine obsolete. Yet for some reason, a lot of offices still use it. The most common inbound fax comes from solicitors, wasting paper and ink/toner with their $79 round trip to Cancun garbage. Automation can eliminate that! You can still receive faxes but do so in a way that allows you to print only what you want to print. The rest can be stored digitally.
Imagine how many other ways you may be overspending by trying to “Do-it-Yourself”. Taking control is simple; CLICK HERE to schedule a 15-minute phone meeting with me “The Pro”.
Long story short, DIY the wrong way. It should be used in our marketing efforts to engage prospects, not in our business processes. There are plenty of resources out there that can take your business to the next level, but we are deterred by a price tag.
What could you accomplish if your employees were spending their time on money making tasks instead of busy work?
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