How automation can help with your pricing

business systems Apr 20, 2022

How can automation help with your pricing? If you think automation has nothing to do with pricing and the other financial aspects of your business, you’re wrong! Automation can help you get more for your time without working harder or longer. It enables you to automate some of your systems and processes so you can work more efficiently. And if you’re charging via fixed cost packages or retainers (as I recommend!), automation enables you to charge more for your time and not get penalised for being more efficient.

I recently had the pleasure of talking to business process automation specialist Kelly Goss. Kelly works specifically with a no-code automation platform called Zapier. It’s excellent for utilising different automations within your business and is perfect for any sized business. Here’s why you need to think about automation, how to get started and how it will positively impact your time and money.

What exactly is the no-code automation platform, Zapier?

Zapier is essentially a connector tool. Different pieces of cloud-based software will generally have a marketplace of different apps they can integrate with. With their native integration, you have just a few things to configure, and you can then integrate between the two platforms. 

But what Zapier and other no-code automation platforms do is act as a connector where native integrations may not exist. Zapier has agreements or award arrangements with over 3,000 different software tools, allowing them to connect with other tools. This allows you to transfer data between any combination of those tools where native integrations don't exist. 

Automation enables you to create custom step-by-step workflows

Automation enables you to do a lot more than just the native integrations. You can use no-code automation platforms like Zapier to create custom step-by-step workflows, allowing you to do what you need to do, depending on the circumstances within your business. If you want to add a new contact to your CRM and change the formatting of that contact's name, you can. You can also set it up to automatically tag that contact or add them to your email marketing platform.

I have used automation both for myself and with clients. I’ve used it to create invoices in Xero, send receipts to people, and create tasks within Asana. I use Kajabi, so I've got it set up to automatically send a receipt to people. I also use it to create tasks in Asana. So, for example, if you book a podcast interview with me, it then provides me with six or seven tasks, makes sure I've got their bio, sends the questions I’m going to ask in advance and so on. It makes sure that I don't even have to think about what needs doing, as it just does it for me, and that’s just revolutionised me being in business on my own.

There's a lot you can do with it, and the possibilities are pretty much endless. 

Save yourself time and money with automation

Automation enables you to automate many manual and repetitive tasks that you would normally be spending a lot of time on. And even if you’re considering outsourcing some of this stuff to someone else, you may realise you don't need to. You may still outsource some of the tasks but find you don't need to outsource the actual doing of the process. 

It makes you think about what the process you want to have will look like. So it stops you from doing it in 25 different ways every time.

And that’s one of the things to remember - it's not just about what you can automate. It's about looking at the initial part, what you’re doing now and understanding HOW you or your team are doing something. You can then look at if it could be done better and more effectively - by taking out totally unnecessary things and THEN automating them. 

Because it's very easy to automate an inefficient process, that then makes it even more inefficient. So go through your processes and make notes about how you need them to be, rather than just setting up zaps for what you’re currently doing. Because it can take quite a long time to set up the more complicated zaps, and you don’t want to waste time setting up unnecessary ones!

How to get started with automating your business processes

Start by getting clear that you need automation in your business. So many small businesses don't have sound systems for general processing. It may just be you in it at the moment, but eventually, you may have a Virtual Assistant or somebody who might be able to help you with your business. If you already have documented processes and automation set up, you can allocate that task over or give the process to somebody else easily and quickly.

Look at your business holistically. If you’re thinking of automating your processes, the first thing to do is break down everything so you know how you're doing things and understand the tools you've got in place. 

Zapier is probably one of the easier, no-code automation platforms to learn, as it’s quite intuitive. It’s easy to find information on their website about what integrates with what, what the different triggers and actions are, what you can accomplish, and you have lots of templates you can use to get started. It’s something you can set up pretty simply, and if you think about your biggest pain point, you can probably get a workflow set up relatively quickly in an hour or two.

You also have more opportunities with Zapier and a straightforward process to follow. You just need to know your starting trigger and what action you want to accomplish. You can then put those two together as a simple two-step process - step one = trigger, step two = desired action.

Automation is going to help you with pricing and efficiency

When it comes to automation, the key is to try and understand what the benefits will be to you and then relate that to the pricing aspect. The main thing is, how much time are you going to be saving? And then how are you going to be getting more from your pricing because you're spending less time on a task relating to that pricing?

For example, if you’re a coach or consultant who charges £50 an hour and you’re automating something in your process that's related to your service and saves you one hour a day. You’ve saved five hours a week and 260 hours in a year. If you’re billing out at £50 an hour, you’ve saved £13k. That's a lot of money! 

This is why it’s so important that you price in packages. So if you have a £500 package and can automate half of that process, the client doesn't need to know that. You can still charge the same, but it takes less time. That's a really important efficiency in your business. Whether you choose to outsource that to automation or outsource it to someone else, it’s your choice, but either way,  it's saving you time and money.

Spend time on tasks that need the human touch

Because outsourcing the task itself isn’t your only option. If you’re outsourcing a task that you could actually automate, you're saving money by not paying somebody (such as a VA or other freelancer) for the time they're spending on the tasks that you're automating.

I think many of those tasks are the kind of tasks that aren’t adding any value to anybody. You want to be outsourcing tasks that can't be automated very easily and where the person doing the task adds value. These are the tasks where they're doing something particular because of a skill set, where they’re adding value as well. For example, the human-related tasks that require a personal touch, such as the one-to-one sales process.

If you relate this to employees within a business, you’re looking to empower your staff to automate the manual and repetitive tasks that they do regularly. Nobody wants to be doing manual and repetitive stuff all the time. It's mundane, and it's probably depressing on a long term scale. If you're empowering your employees and your team to be automating the things that they don't need to be doing, you're allowing them to shine in their roles and add value too.

Automatically build personal touches into your processes

Even automation can show the personal touch without you having to be involved. One of Kelly shared one of her favourite automations - when one of her clients pays, and the invoice is reconciled within Xero, an email gets sent out, thanking them for paying the invoice. It’s so simple yet so effective!

And for me, I have that automation too. But I’ve got mine set up to send them a copy of the invoice. Because I use Kajabi, and it doesn't have a VAT receipt, this automation means I can send out a VAT receipt straight away without doing anything. This is such a time saver for me, as it alleviates the need to keep answering email queries about receiving a VAT receipt!

You can save yourself loads of time and money by automating your processes. But when you’re stuck exchanging time for money, you need to remember - that if you become more efficient and automate some of your processes, you can’t bill for all of your time. 

This is why it’s so crucial that you charge via fixed costs packages or retainers. They enable you to charge more for your time and not get penalised for saving yourself time and money. You can learn more about moving from hourly billing to fixed pricing here. Whilst you can get help on pricing services and packages here. And if you’d like to get help with automation within your business, check out the resources on Kelly Goss’ website - She has loads of great free advice in her blog, access to a cheat sheet for Zapier, an ebook on automation and links to her first book, ‘Automate It With Zapier’.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.