How Automated are your Operations?

How Automated are your Operations? In Blackboard Fridays Episode 131, Jacob talks about Productivity. Need this implemented into your business? Talk to the international business advisor who can do exactly that – Contact Jacob, Learn More, or Subscribe for Updates.

Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?

“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.

Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.

At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.

You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritise first.

That’s me.

Learn more here. Or Let’s chat.

Transcript

Let me tell you one of my favorite stories. This was a business coaching colleague of mine some time ago. He went into a sales meeting, it was him and one of his business partners went into a small accounting firm. They met with the managing director and three of her partners to have a sit-down.

Just as the meeting was getting going, the reception has popped her head in and said, “Look, just to let you know, our kettle’s packed it in. I’ve got to go across the road to grab those coffees, they’ll be about five minutes late.” No big deal, but the managing partner jumped straight out of her chair. “We only recently bought that kettle” she said. “We’ve still got the receipt, I know exactly where it is” and off she scurried.

15 minutes later, she came back in. Very very happy girl in her face. “Found the receipt, still under warranty, we’ll get that kettle fixed for free.” My colleague, with courage that I certainly don’t have, launched into the conversation, by asking the managing director and each of her three partners their hourly rates.

He shared that even though this was a get to know each other meeting, and they weren’t charging, let’s assume his hourly rate, his colleagues hourly rate, add all of those up, divide by four for the 15 minutes that she was out of the room, looking for that receipt, and informed her that that kettle had just cost her 450 dollars.

It’s a saying that you’re probably familiar with. That you, as the business owner, are worth 500 or 1,000 or many thousands of dollars per hour to the growth of your business. And yet you find yourself doing the $20 an hour tasks.

Today, we’re going to talk about how you evolve yourself away from those, and how technology has created a situation to make that even easier and more profitable.

At first, it is some of those simple tasks that you can outsource to a support person, or another delivery expert. Somebody who you can pay on an hourly rate, less than you can charge the matter, at or less than your time is worth.

You delegate internally. If you systemize your processes, then you will be able to delegate efficiently, set very clear expectations, and manage those people, without having to micromanage, without your time continually getting pulled into those lower value tasks.

Increasingly, globalization, and again, the support of technology, has meant that some of those tasks can even be delegated offshore. I’m a big believer that offshoring has a place in almost every Australian business. As your business develops, specialist capability becomes essential.

Now at the beginning, that was probably things like funding your bank manager, your accountant, perhaps having a lawyer. As the business grows, you find that you have needs to delegate away, to outsource some of the key tasks that you as the business owner, have taken responsibility for.

Get the right support around things like Strategy, Marketing, People and Culture. Start building your own Personal Wealth. Of course, all of those business support functions’ things like getting your office cleaned, which are not the best and most valuable use of your time, and increasingly, not even the best and most valuable use of your team’s time.

As you grow bigger and bigger, you may bring some of those functions in-house, where you need the strategic capability on a full-time basis. But finding part-time support people or outsourcing those to specialist professional services, is a great way to get the leverage without all of the expense.

Now, ten years ago, I would have put IT, information technology, squarely in that business support. It was something you needed to have. Emails, a website, but it wasn’t something that was really a strategic value to your business. That’s simply not the case anymore.

See, all of these, are still largely driven by people. Indeed, here, we’re able to introduce you to exactly the right person, any of those slices, who can help your business for the business stage that you’re at.

Technology has now reached a point where it’s not about people anymore. We now have the opportunity, through cloud technology and data, to delegate, to outsource, to pass over some of the tasks that are taking your time or your team’s time, without actually needing another person to do it.

Cloud technology still sounds, to a lot of business owners, like a buzzword. The easiest way I can think to describe it, is that the cloud is somebody else’s computer. Instead of having everything sitting on your desktop, or your server, which might go down at any point in time, you can outsource the storage of that information to somebody else’s.

When you’re talking about companies like Amazon and Google, who host a lot of the cloud technology globally, you realize that their technology is actually a heck of a lot better than yours, and they’ve got backups and the ability, if one computer goes down, to still have your information running and live, again, getting rid of some of those issues that you may have had in the past.

The main benefit though, is not just getting rid of some of those administrative headaches, it’s the ability, by storing everything in the cloud, on that other person’s computer or range of computers, that they can be talking to each other, and sharing data. It’s thing like APIs, that exist, that allow different programs to talk to each other, or through even things as simple as online speadsheets.

The ability to get data out of one program into the cloud, where another program then can import it, can read it, and can feedback that information to you in real time. It’s the real time benefit of using the cloud to support you as the business owner, that I think so many privately owned businesses are still not quite understanding.

They don’t really appreciate just how much they can be getting done. Not at 20 dollars an hour, not by getting an expert to come in on a one day a week, or a few hours a month kind of basis, but to be able to actually have this free, or next to free, out there, never taking a lunch break, never having a sick day, continually processing that information, completing tasks in your workflow, producing information that gets pushed back to you in real time.

Now that sounds like something that would actually steamline your operations, that would reduce your overheads, go straight to your bottom line, or indeed, which I’m seeing in a lot of businesses that I’m working with, help the team to add more value, to charge more, to work with more clients, or to deliver greater value, to increase referrals and repeat business.

If that sounds like an opportunity to you, well then you do have a choice. You can go and become a bit of an expert yourself. Research how this could apply to you. If you love that kind of stuff, go nuts, have fun. But really, that’s a task that at 500 or 1,000, or many thousands of dollars per hour that you are worth to your business, you are much better off outsourcing.

So even though the eventual result will be something that is very low cost or free, and working continuously, it does still start the way that a lot of these other functions and specialist capability support have started. That’s having a conversation with an expert, somebody who understands cloud technology, who understands data, and most importantly of all, wants to take the time to understand your business, to see how your operations can be automated.

Next Steps

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