As a business owner, you know that time and money are your two most valuable resources. With automation, you can save both of these resources and optimize the efficiency of your small business operations. Most business owners are making the switch — according to a survey, almost 66 percent of businesses have already done, or have at least started, some automation processes in their organizations.
Here’s a quick look at some things you should automate to get the most out of your business.
Employee Onboarding Processes
Good help is hard to find, so the traditional training of new employees takes time and effort to separate the chaff. Automating this process makes it much easier, not to mention efficient. You can use software to create automated onboarding forms that new hires can fill out quickly and easily. You can also set up automated emails to remind new hires when they need to complete specific tasks throughout the onboarding process. This saves time and reduces paperwork while ensuring a smooth transition into their new role.
Invoicing & Billing
Automating billing processes saves time as well as money. With an automated invoicing system, you can quickly generate invoices with just a few clicks and send them directly to customers via email or text. Additionally, mechanical billing systems can be integrated with payment processing services so customers can pay their bills online. This will save you from manually entering customer payments into your accounting software each month.
There are custom apps available online to suit your flow. Meanwhile, off-the-shelf apps and websites like Invoice Ninja, Zoho Invoice, Wave Invoicing, and others offer free invoicing and billing features.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A CRM helps automate tracking leads, contacts, and customer data so that it is all in one place. Automated CRMs also have tools for managing sales pipelines, creating reports on customer data, and sending automated emails based on customer actions or triggers. This will help streamline sales processes and ensure that no potential leads fall through the cracks due to manual errors or oversight.
Most products like Hubspot and Zoho have free plans you can use. However, a complete CRM suite for your business may take $15 to $120 per month, depending on the features you use.
Marketing & Advertising
Many marketing tasks, such as email campaigns and social media management, can easily be streamlined with specialized software or online tools. These tools allow you to create automated campaigns triggered based on customer actions or other criteria such as time of day or seasonality. Additionally, they provide analytics into how effective these campaigns are in terms of website visits, conversions, and others so that you can adjust your strategies accordingly.
It would be best if you focus your automation on social media marketing. Social media can be a great way to connect with your customers and promote your brand—but only if you’re using it effectively. Automating your social media posts will help you save time while maintaining a strong presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Hootsuite and Buffer are two popular social media automation tools that can help you get the most out of your social media efforts.
Managing finances is another important aspect of running a successful business. However, if done manually, tracking expenses, preparing financial statements, filing taxes, and other tasks associated with finance management can be highly time-consuming. Results from a Small Business Taxation survey underscore the average preparation time of more than 80 hours.
Fortunately, many software solutions are available to help automate this process. These solutions make it easy to track expenses, prepare financial statements quickly and accurately, file taxes on time without any hassle, and more.
Automating your business means shifting to mostly digital flow and data to handle your everyday processes. This shift means you must secure your company and client’s data against digital threats. Although automation apps and tools have their digital firewall and anti-threat protocols, it is still essential that you engage in more robust security for your network and data.
There are data privacy software organizations that can integrate high levels of protection for your data with the automation processes that you require. Your business processes will be automated without increasing exposure to internal and external threats. Automating data security also eliminates the potential for human error and produces verifiable results that can be consistently audited. With an automated approach to data protection, your business has a strong foundation from which to maintain its security posture.
Automation is becoming increasingly important for small businesses today, allowing them to maximize efficiency while minimizing costs. From invoicing to marketing campaigns, countless tasks can be automated to free up more time for strategic activities while still getting efficient results.