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You Ask, I Answer: Automation In a Recession?

Ann asks, “In the “great recession” is finding ways to automate process and free up time find efficiencies the biggest challenge for agency managers and leads?”

You Ask, I Answer: Automation In a Recession?

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Christopher Penn 0:13

In today’s episode and asks in the Great Recession is finding ways to automate processes and free up time finding efficiencies, the biggest challenge for emergency managers and leads? Well, the great recession technically was 2008 to 2011.

But I assume you mean, the impending recession that a lot of people are talking about? It depends, it depends on what’s wrong.

If you are a small shop that’s already lean and mean, automation might not be a huge game changer for you, it might not be a big change in your efficiency.

On the other hand, it might be if you are an incredibly inefficient agency, right? If you’re doing everything by hand, the answer will always vary based on where you are, where you where your strengths and weaknesses are.

That said, larger organizations tend to have more opportunity for efficiencies, tend to have more opportunity for process documentation for improvement for automation.

At the last agency I worked at which was a decently sized agency like 300 people, by the time I left, there were 100% jobs, entire jobs that could have been replaced.

One of the most junior Jobs was account coordinator.

Remember this, this person was copying and pasting, Google search results into a spreadsheet, eight hours a day, I don’t know how this person didn’t just claw their own eyeballs out or bring a pickaxe to work, because that’s just soul deadening.

Work.

And 100% can be done by machine, right, you could free up that person’s eight hours a day to have them doing something more valuable than copying and pasting.

If your agency doesn’t have any automation, right now, there’s a very good chance, there are some opportunities, some easy things you can do to find those efficiencies.

But as with everything there are, there are diminishing returns, right after you’ve automated way all the easy stuff.

The next most difficult things tend to be more time consuming to automate, it takes longer to automate things, it takes more skill, better tools to do that kind of automation.

So copy pasting chores, right, you can automate that today.

And that would see a huge, huge win a huge time saver.

Transcription of meetings.

Easy one, right? Transcription of client calls super easy.

Automating the templates for your reporting, putting them in something like Google Data Studio, where it’s not only automated, but it is real time.

So the clients happier, easy win.

But then once you’ve solved all these stuff, then you have to start saying okay, what is the opportunity cost of automating something versus some innovation, some r&d, or some new business building? It all depends, it depends on your challenges as an agency.

That said, if you know you’re going into a recession, if you know that a recession is imminent, freeing up time is a good idea.

And then taking that time and devoting it to the generation of new business to sales to selling more stuff is the way through, because in almost every economic downturn, the same advice holds true.

Whether it’s, you know, the 1800s or whether it’s today, cash is king, cash flow is king.

If you have more money coming in, then you have going out, you’re doing okay, if you have less money coming in and is going out, you are inevitably eventually doomed, right? It may not be today, it may not be next week, but eventually, you’re going out of business.

So if you can find ways to reduce wasteful overhead to keep the amount of money going out smaller, and you can find ways of bringing in more money in the door on a cash flow basis.

You will, you will weather the recession better than most right.

Where recessions get people is always when you flip the table and suddenly you have less cash coming in.

You have less less cash coming in.

And you have not done a good enough job optimizing the cash going out and your business runs into trouble.

You personally run into trouble right? If you’re spending more than you’re earning as a person as a household as a company.

Christopher Penn 4:58

Eventually you run out of runway eventually you run out of room.

And that’s when that’s when the real problems begin.

So, if you can tighten up, find those efficiencies, reduce your spends, and increase your revenues.

You’ll be well positioned for the Great Recession and automation may well be part of that.

But do some self awareness, do some checks to figure out where you are, and what you think the things are that you could automate away fairly easily.

There will be a few things, do those sooner rather than later? And then really take a hard look at your cash flow.

Good question.

Thanks for asking.

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