What are the Costs of Automation?

Automation IS NOT expensive, but it can definitely cost you!

Taking a business from 0% automation to 100% automation doesn’t really cost that much money. In fact, it can save you money. In terms of marketing, for instance, you could spend your entire marketing budget on automated marketing and get more value than you currently do spending that money on traditional marketing. As a bonus, automation also increases efficiency in your overall business as a whole, which is something you can’t get through spending money on traditional marketing.

But if you’re automating your business on your own, certain things may cost you exponentially more than just money. Below, I’m going to list some items to watch out for; things that will cost you time, energy, and money and can prevent you from successfully automating your business if you’re not careful.

The Avoidable Costs of Automation

  1. Wanting Automation But Not Committing To It – I have seen this so many times. A client says they want to automate a process. I work with them, create a custom-tailored plan, and show them how to implement it. But the plan doesn’t get used. Rather than embracing the new technology, these clients go back to doing things the way they’ve always done them. They either don’t take the time to learn how to do the automation, or they decide they are more comfortable with the old familiar but inefficient way of doing things. Automation is a commitment. You have to be willing to change your process, your mindset, and your work style. Otherwise, the cost far outweighs the benefits.
  2. It Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated – A big misconception about automation is that it’s super complicated and not for everyone. That’s true and false. Yes, there are automation sequences that are very complex. Things involving advanced robotics or highly specialized products require levels of automation that are handled by experts in those fields. For most every other business, the process of creating automation is simple and only requires a bit of thought and patience, and software that can often be purchased on a free trial. In fact, many products that you’ll use come with free top-level training. You can also occasionally find YouTube channels devoted to understanding how to use the software product. So don’t get caught up on complexity, because things will only be as complicated as you allow them to be. Taking advantage of instructional blogs and videos will save you time and headaches.
  3. Making Automation More Complex Than It Needs To Be  – Creating an automation that is too complex for what it does is a great way to spend money when you don’t have to! Most automation should be kept simple and easy to understand! Don’t make it complex just because you think a complex automation will be “cooler.” Overthinking a process, especially new automation can lead to messy or undesirable results.
  4. Explaining the Automation – If your business has employees other than yourself, make sure that any automation you create is easy for your colleagues or employees to understand. You can create the best automation on Earth, but if the people who are supposed to benefit from it don’t understand it, then it is worthless and could actually do more harm than good.
  5. Don’t Be On An Island – While the process of installing the software or typing out the words on the page might be things you do alone, fulfilling the automation’s full potential is a team sport. Often times you’ll uncover portions of the process in which you just aren’t that skilled. That is the time for you to reach out to your contacts, join a group of others in your industry, or just ask a question to an expert like myself. I’ve now built hundreds of automations, but I had to ask thousands of questions to people more knowledgeable than myself to get where I am. Reaching out for help will save you time and money in the long run.
  6. Testing, Testing.. Is This Thing On? – Pay attention, because this is probably the single biggest piece of advice I can give you. The single biggest mistake automaters make is not testing their products. Maybe you are scared of what people will think or you’re afraid someone is going to steal the automation. You have to get over those fears because you need people to look at your automations, give you an opinion, and help you refine your process. Untested automation will not only have problems, but it will also cause unintended results that could ultimately harm your business. An untested automation can cost you your reputation or customers, as well as the time and money to fix the automation.
  7. Expecting Perfection on Day 1 – Your first 5 attempts at automating a process are going to be a disaster. So many things will go wrong that you’ll just have to laugh at yourself. But that is why it’s important to keep testing, to catch flaws, and to constantly work on improving! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, failures early on will make your process stronger and work better for the long term. Giving up because your first attempt is not perfect will rob you of all the benefits automation has to offer.

What About Dollars and Cents?

I’ve told you all about the costs of automation, but I haven’t really talked about what you’ll have to spend to automate your business. That’s not something to which I can assign a dollar figure, because your out of pocket cost will depend on many factors. Whether you’re going to automate your business yourself or use a professional will impact your cost, as will the extent to which you want to automate your business and the goals you’re trying to achieve with automation. Regardless of your budget, you can make automation work for you.

If you’re going to be doing your own automation, think about the processes you want to automate and then work through each one slowly, one at a time. Your initial costs will include software, servers, file storage, and equipment such as cameras and microphones. Based on what you buy, and how much, your startup costs can either be reasonable or enormous. It’s up to you. If budget is a concern, start small and implement automations as you learn them. The money you save from automating processes will add up and allow you to purchase additional software products to create new automations without breaking the bank. While that method is slow and gradual, it is also affordable.

Hiring an expert is also affordable. If you’re going to hire an automation expert such as myself, I will work with you to develop the most effective automation that accomplishes your goals and works with your budget. Talk to me about what you want to accomplish and what you can spend, and I will put together a plan for Thorium Infolytics to handle your automation needs.