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Automation 101

June 01, 20237 min read

“Decide if a task repeats, if it does then you should first optimize the process then look to automate what you can prior to delegating any work .” - Lateef Farooqui


Meet Lateef Farooqui, founder of Boss Up Solutions, who has automated 1000s of tasks, from simple to complex, saving businesses countless hours and expenses. His process, O.A.D. (Optimize, Automate, Delegate), maps your business process, builds automations and SOPs to make your business more scalable and profitable through efficiency and foresight. Learn how to automate your tasks using Zapier and similar tools with Lateef's expert guidance.

So why should you want to learn automation? Whether you hire someone to build it for you, or you decide to roll up your sleeves and DIY - you can truly build a business that is more efficient.

So if you are ready to learn automation, we have to start at the basics - but it is worth the time 👊

First, let's start by defining some terms you'll need to know:

  • Trigger: The event that starts an automation. This could be something like receiving an email, creating a new file in a specific folder, or filling out a form.

  • Events: Actions that occur during the automation process. These could be sending an email, creating a new task in a to-do list, or updating a spreadsheet.

  • Filters: Rules that determine which events are allowed to continue through the automation. For example, you might set up a filter that only allows events from a specific email address to trigger the automation.

  • Paths: Different routes that events can take through an automation. For example, you might set up an automation where events from one trigger go down one path, while events from another trigger go down a different path.

  • Format: The way data is structured within an automation. This could be things like the type of file being created, the order of columns in a spreadsheet, or the way text is formatted in an email.

  • Delays: A way to pause an automation for a set amount of time before moving on to the next event.

Now that we have those terms defined, let's talk about how they all work together to create an automation.

Lateef Farooqui business growth

Imagine you have a form on your website where people can sign up for your newsletter. When someone submits the form, you want to automatically send them a welcome email. Here's how you could set up that automation using Zapier:

  1. Choose your trigger: In this case, the trigger is someone submitting the form on your website.

  2. Set up your filter: You might want to set up a filter to only allow form submissions from people who have confirmed their email address or persons in a certain state.

  3. Set up paths: In the case you want different emails to go out based on answers for example if they select repair vs. replacement or roof vs siding.

  4. Choose your event: The event is sending an email to the person who submitted the form.

  5. Set up your format: You'll need to choose the format for your email, such as the subject line, body text, and any images or attachments you want to include. More importantly will you use all caps, first name only, perhaps street name but no city,state,zip to feel more human.

  6. Set up your delay: You might want to add a delay of a few minutes before sending the email, to give people time to confirm their email address and also to appear human.

Once you've set up all of these steps, Zapier will automatically send an email to anyone who submits the form on your website, as long as they've confirmed their email address.

Zapier Lateef Faroqui

TIP: The key to automation when communicating is to appear as human as possible. - Lateef Farooqui

Here's just a few other ideas on what you can automate:

  • Add contacts to your phone and business directory

  • Assign leads based on distribution rules

  • Create SMS responses to engage prospect

  • Send Voice drops to appear as if you attempted to reach out

  • Sync contacts and data across multiple platforms including your CRM

Once you've set up all of these steps, Zapier will automatically send an email to anyone who submits the form on your website, as long as they've confirmed their email address or perform a number of activities that you likely didn't know were possible.

As you can see, automations can be really powerful tools for streamlining your workflow and saving time. By breaking down the process into triggers, events, filters, paths, format, and delays, you can create complex automations that can perform a variety of tasks. For example, you could set up an automation that:

  • Monitors your inbox for emails with certain keywords in the subject line

  • Sends those emails to a specific folder in your Google Drive

  • Extracts information from those emails and adds it to a Google Sheet

  • Creates a new task in your to-do list app with the subject of the email

  • Sends a notification to your phone when the task is due

  • Reminders can be sent prior to meetings

  • Surveys can be sent after an appointment

Deeper Look at Triggers

Triggers are the starting point of any automation. They are the events that initiate the automation process. In other words, they are the "if this" part of the "if this, then that" equation that defines how an automation works. Triggers can be anything from receiving an email, a new entry in a spreadsheet, a new tweet, or a change in a database. They can be based on a time/date for example "1 hour prior to this date/time" or "2 days after this date time" - time is a powerful use of triggers when building automations in the case of a home repair company one could set reminders post inspection appointments to get a higher sit ratio and appear more professional. They then could follow up with a survey after 2 hours to see how things went with the sales person. These could be used to not only get more sales but also create metrics on sales persons, and help your business improve it's process to accelerate growth.

Understanding triggers is essential when building an automation because selecting the right trigger determines when and how the automation will start. It's important to choose a trigger that is relevant to the task you want to automate and make sure it's reliable enough to initiate the automation when needed. By setting up automations like this, you can automate repetitive tasks and focus your energy on more important things. You also remove the need for these tasks to be performed by a staff member freeing up hours of salary all while creating a consistent process that repeats no matter the frequency the time or day.

It's important to note that while automations can save time and make your life easier, they do require some set-up time and effort. You'll need to choose the right triggers, events, filters, paths, format, and delays to create an automation that works for you. It may take some trial and error to get it right, but once you do, you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of a more streamlined workflow.

In addition to Zapier, there are many other automation tools available, including IFTTT, Microsoft Flow, and and of course our own BUMS Portal. Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it's worth exploring a few different options to find the one that works best for your needs. It is best to learn one tool at first, going out and exploring automation in today's online world can lead you down a deep and dark rabbit hole.

In conclusion, building automations using tools like Zapier can be a great way to save time and streamline your workflow. By breaking down the process into triggers, events, filters, paths, format, and delays, you can create powerful automations that can perform a variety of tasks. While it does require some set-up time and effort, the benefits of automating repetitive tasks are well worth it.

Stay tuned as Lateef shares how to build some common Zaps to solve common problems

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