Updated: Nov 22, 2020
An interview with Jason from Zensible Solutions
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. A. Einstein
However, purposefully doing the same things over and over again, knowing the result will be the same is just weird.
You know I'm all about the #YOLO, babes - just doing the things we love in life and not wasting time on anything else. So I recently teamed up with my good friend, Jason from Zensible Solutions because he is an absolute must-have in your life if you agree with anything I've just said.
There are things in your working day / week / month that you will repeatedly be doing manually - but what if I told you these things could be done whilst you are off doing something more exciting? What if a press of a button started a chain reaction of service excellence for your clients (like setting up meetings and reminders or sending them updates and progress reports or giving personalised advice)? What about building and growing your business in your sleep (like collecting feedback, receiving orders or finding your ideal client)?
We are talking super cool automation tools.
Automation isn't wizardry. This is about knowing you have a certain amount of time in the day and then asking yourself: how do you want to use it? Streamlining your business for simplicity, quality of service and improved delivery, whilst you're able to get on with other things can only be a good thing.
Are you doing the same things over and over again because it's 'just easier'? What. Easier than not having to do them? Or you 'don't have the time' to look into automation? .. I heard it. Did you hear it?
Automation in Business Definition:
Automation is using technology / tools / software to carry out recurring tasks or processes where manual effort can be replaced. It is done to achieve greater efficiency and streamline processes.
ZENSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Top 10 Automation Tools
I asked Automation Guru, Jason, to share just 10 of his recommended tools, which will bring ease to your business efficiency - so these are his gifts to you:
Jotform 💡 gather information so you can use it
Being able to collect data electronically is the start of lots of automation. Whether this be a feedback form, application form, order form, contract etc., the data collected can be stored and used to trigger actions. Jotform enables you to create simple forms that can be emailed to customers, shared on social media, embedded into your own web page or landing page. Jotforms flexibility means that you can create advanced forms with conditional logic and also integrates into many other automation tools, as well as adding a signature, taking payments and a growing number of other functions. What I really like about Jotform is that it can be used for free to get started and then grow as your requirements grow. They are always adding new features and components for both the free and paid plans.
Great for forms - applications | feedback | order | contracts, to be used over email | social media | website
Airtable 💡 store all your information in one place
If collecting data electronically is the first part of automation then storing that data is going to be required. Airtable is such a great tool for this, think of your spreadsheets and lists all in one place. It is my hub of all automation projects. Using Airtable to store all of your data gives you a central place from which to work and begin to understand your business. But Airtable is more than just a place to store data, it can be used to display your data in multiple different views and can be used to create a CRM, stock management, HR, content management or any other systems you can imagine.
Great for seeing your information in one place and it's ready for you to start using it
Zapier 💡 create an automated process with your information
Now we are collecting and storing data, we can start to create a workflow automation and Zapier is one of the best tools for getting started. Zapier enables you to connect to 1000's of different online services (such as the above, Jotform and Airtable) to create triggers and actions. An example trigger can be that when a Jotform is filled in, the actions will be to email someone, add a record to Airtable and add the contact details to my CRM and mailing list. Zapier is a very powerful tool and very easy to get started with and their free plan means you can experiment right away.
Great for connecting your tools together to create an automation process (triggers that lead to actions)
Parabola 💡 transfer information between 2 or more places
Parabola is an incredibly powerful tool that you should be aware of. It's another online automation tool comparable to Zapier. It has a steeper learning curve but it enables you to create workflows by taking data from a source (like Airtable, Spreadsheets, Dropbox, CRM, API etc). You can then transform the data (such as add/remove columns, filter rows, add date/time stamps, remove characters etc) and then insert into a destination (like Airtable, Spreadsheets, Dropbox, CRM, API etc). Great for automating the data transfer between 2 or more systems
Great for taking information from one place, sorting it, then inserting it into another place
Adalo 💡 build mobile or web apps
Not strictly an automation tool but certainly a great component to your automated workflows. Adalo is a no-code app builder. This allows you to build mobile or web apps with no coding experience and because it can integrate with systems such as Zapier and Airtable and can be used to collect and retrieve data whilst on the go, such as Stock-taking, Audits, Booing systems etc and can then feed into your systems and trigger other processes.
Great for building an app if you have no coding experience and another way to collect information
Trello 💡 project management tool
I have tried many different "Todo" and project management apps but none of them so far have swayed me from Trello. Trello is such a simple tool to get started with and so flexible, you basically use it as you want. Although you can use it in a very simple way, the built in automation (Butler) and multiple add-ons means you can build very complex workflows, bespoke to your needs. On top of the built-in automation tools and add-on's, you can also connect it to Zapier to trigger other workflows based and the status of tasks inside Trello.
Great for staying organised and creating workflows bespoke to your needs to make you work strategically
Quickbooks 💡 bookkeeping and accounting software
I've recently started using QuickBooks and chose it due to the cost but more importantly, it's integrations with Zapier. There are 13 triggers and 20 actions that can be used to automate just about anything from client creation, invoicing, expenses, payments etc. The automation and the reporting mean that very little effort is needed, it makes it a great candidate to add to your client on-boarding automation.
Great for payroll, online banking, reconciliation, mapping features, pre-authorization of electronic funds
Google Data Studio 💡 visually track your business progress
Again, not strictly an automation tool but Google Data Studio combined with other automation tools allow you to aggregate your data and create digital dashboards to be able to see progress visually with charts and KPI's. This could be sales, stock, social media growth, profit or anything that you want to analysis. Pull the data into one place (example: from Airtable) using Zapier, transform the data how you want it (example; using Parabola) and output to Google sheets form dynamic display in Google Data Studio. This is the power of chaining these automation tools together to create workflows.
Great for using your information to track your progress with charts and KPI's
Mailchimp 💡 email marketing templates and CRM
Mailchimp is a very popular tool among most small businesses and although I prefer the simplicity of Mailerlite, I find MailChimp is better for automation using Zapier. The ability to add/remove new subscribers, tag and create campaigns, as well as the ability to custom design emails templates - then use in Zapier to add dynamic data, saves so much time. For example, I have an Indonesian word of the day email that I send to a growing number of subscribers wishing to learn the language. The same email template is sent every day with just the word and sentence changed. It reads from 2000 words I have in Airtable, so runs without any interaction from me for the next 2000 days.
Great for creating email templates and scheduling personalised content to go out to your mailing list
Phantom Buster 💡 find ideal client leads
Phantom Buster is another great tool that is getting better by the day. This is what is referred to as a 'scraping' tool. It can be used with most of the popular social media platforms and allows you to collect information from social media to create sales leads by searching for keywords or hashtags. Information can be obtained about the individual or company, this can be added to your sheets or database to create leads that can be followed up. Another very powerful tool.
Great for getting information on your potential ideal client to be followed up and turned into business
HELP AND SUPPORT
If you love the sound or look of any of these and would like any help in setting them up for your business, please contact Jason for further details.
Otherwise do check out what he offers and how he can bring value to your business and how automation can help you:
Jason Martin | Managing Director of Zensible Solutions
ZensibleSolutions.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
PS Thank you so much, Jason, for sharing your expertise!
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