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Don’t Be Lazy: Why You Should Build Your Marketing Automation System to Scale from Day 1

I don’t know about you, but when I’m doing something I think no one else will see, I tend to do things a little…differently.  For instance, I’ll write in shorthand that only I understand. Or I may not actually fold the sheets and towels in my linen closet. It’s my little secret, because I know I’m the only one who has to deal with it.

Solopreneurs and businesses under five people tend to be the same way. They do things in a way that works for them, with shortcuts or abbreviations or processes set up in such a way that no one else could easily take over. Because you’ll be doing it forever, right?

Well — not if you hope to actually grow your business. Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to your marketing automation system.

The most important tip I can give you when purchasing and implementing your marketing automation system is to take the time to set it up right, from day one!

Here are two other hard truths you’re going to have to accept. Trust me, I’ve seen what happens when these are ignored, and the result is endless lost hours and money down the drain to fix it retroactively. You don’t want to be the person responsible for doing that to your company, do you? I didn’t think so.

It’s not about you.

As the business owner or the “marketing automation guy/gal” at your small business, it’s tempting to set things up in the way that’s easiest for you, rather than what will scale with the business. This could be an enormous burden later down the line as the business grows and other people have to use the system.

So don’t be lazy. Remember, this marketing automation system is not for you, it’s for the business, and the business will have different needs a year from now. Take the time to come up with an implementation plan that takes into account where your business will be in the next few years. If you’re on your own, talk to other solopreneurs for advice. If you’re part of a company, talk to the owner and other employees.

And keep in mind that someday you won’t be the only one manning the MA software. Build in room for collaboration and expansion and make it easy for other users to understand.

Processes are your best friend.

When it’s just you, systems are kind of a nuisance. But as your business grows, it’s the lack of systems and process that will become a nuisance, and introducing new ones will inspire a furor like none other. Nip it in the bud — now.

Like a kid in a toy store, you’re going to want to dive right into your new marketing automation system and start playing and building things. Don’t. Instead, start by outlining processes for things like naming conventions, tags and campaign organization. Create clearly identified templates for consistency.

Another important tip: Build a process guide for everything you’ve done, so that if someone else has to pick up what you’re doing without warning, there are clear directions for how to proceed. Continue to evolve your processes as you dive deeper, and update your guides.

I know it’s hard doing it this way. But just like the chagrin I felt when my closet full of unfolded towels and sheets became an unexpected avalanche of fabric, you know that being forward-thinking and proactive now will serve your business well into the future.

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