Advisors today are overwhelmed with the amount of work needed to complete a sale. The amount of effort to maintain operations has skyrocketed and we’re all looking for ways to become more efficient and productive.
One answer that has steadily grown in favor is automation - the ability to reduce human intervention in processes such as data collection, chat interaction, and email marketing. However, a common mistake that advisors make is not being able to understand how to create workflows.
Here are a few tips to help you identify routines and processes that will enable you to work more effectively and efficiently.
What is a Workflow?
A workflow is a sequence of processes that achieve a goal or result. In essence, it’s a group of tasks that happens for work to flow from one person or department to another. Workflow automation is the process of identifying tasks performed by employees and automating them with tools, apps and technology. Before you can automate your tasks, you must be able to identify and organize them in a way that is replicable and can scale.
Automation can sound very complex and intimidating, however, automation doesn’t need to be complicated. The most important thing is to know which tasks should be automated and which shouldn’t.
Quick rule to thumb: Automate the mundane and humanize the exceptional.
Simple Steps to Automate Workflows
Here are the basic components needed to create your own workflows:
Look at your processes and see which repetitive and manual tasks take most of your time and hinder your ability to move forward. As you decide how your time will be spent, your goal is to optimize and increase the value of your time. By removing bottlenecks and streamlining your systems, you will be able to do more and spend less time doing it.
Use an online flowchart generator and map out your processes.
You will need to identify:
- Predefined steps: Draw out the sequence of tasks that make up the workflow.
- Your stakeholders: These are the people who carry out the various tasks in the workflow.
Note that, in some workflows, steps are completely automated and don’t need an assigned stakeholder.
- The conditions: These are the rules of the workflow that explain when a certain step should be taken.
Identify technology – There are many services that you can outsource that can help improve functions within your system. Modern technology allows collaboration with one another, so you collect data with one and then export that data to another application.
Create and test each one of your workflows routinely. Automation is great, however one clog in your flow can disrupt operations until the problem is identified. Providing adequate and timely quality control is essential to maintain healthy workflows.
Maintain and update as you see trends and opportunities to scale. Efficiency drives success and as you begin to automate tasks, you will be able to find new ways to be effective.
Benefits of Automating Workflows
One of the most beneficial reasons to create workflows is to save time! Being able to visualize your processes allows you to analyze where your operations can be improved or where you can grow capacity. But that’s only the beginning, by automating your work, you’ll be able to reduce human error, ensure consistency, and ensure a consistent work/life balance.
—Written by Alvin Adriano