The repetition of tasks – no matter how necessary – is enough to slow any small business down. By automating certain processes, however, you can free up the time you need to get proactive about growing your company.
Small Business BC says automation tools are essential for streamlining business processes in ways that eliminate unnecessary steps. And with so many advances in automation in recent years, there’s no shortage of methods to simplify your day-to-day practices.
Here are 4 ways to automate your small business in areas that matter the most.
1. Automate Your Marketing
Promoting and selling your product successfully takes more than just targeting the right audience. It demands an intelligent approach to measuring results and tweaking your marketing efforts.
The key is to find marketing automation tools that organize and systematize all the components of your promotional strategy, including your:
- email and digital ad campaigns,
- lead generation tactics,
- sales pipeline management, and
- marketing analytics
Fortunately, marketing has become one of the easiest processes to automate. There are dozens of dedicated platforms like Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Infusionsoft that can streamline your marketing functions and help you reach multiple customer channels.
2. Automate Your Customer Relationships
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are central to refining your interactions with existing and potential clients at every stage of the buying journey.
Use CRM programs like Salesforce, Pipedrive, or Apptivo to:
- compile customer contacts, purchase histories, and communications,
- access real-time client data,
- better anticipate customer needs, and
- make your interactions more efficient and productive
The biggest advantage of customer relationship automation is that it can drive sales growth by helping you create a more positive customer experience and hang onto more clients. Research suggests that improving customer retention by just 5% can boost profits by 25-95%.
3. Automate Your Employee Relationships
Leading a thriving team today requires an ongoing commitment that extends from recruitment through engagement and back again. So it’s no surprise that automation trends in hiring, training, and human resources focus on making it easier to manage the vital employee relationships that support your success.
Take advantage of resume screening software, candidate pre-qualification chatbots, or automated interviews to reinforce your hiring agenda and find the right candidates faster.
Training apps and automated learning management systems can help you:
- align company goals with employee training objectives,
- identify inadequate workplace skills,
- plan instructional sessions, and
- measure training results
Save valuable time by modernizing the document-drive processes attached to managing employee contracts and onboarding, employment records and tax forms, and health and safety measures.
4. Automate Your Bookkeeping
The day-to-day administrative chores surrounding invoicing, payroll, and expense management are not only time-consuming, they contribute little to the growth of your business.
In addition to robust cloud-based accounting programs like Xero and QuickBooks, consider exploring the wide range of apps and automated services specifically designed to:
- Customize and automate your invoicing – facilitate online customer payments, track time, and generate estimates with Zoho Invoice, Harvest, or FreshBooks
- Manage your payroll – let ADP, Payworks, or Wagepoint automatically upload timesheets, process pay, calculate and remit deductions, and file government reports
- Scan expense reports or photograph your receipts – use ReceiptBank or Expensify to extract digital expense data, enter it directly into your bookkeeping system, and upload and store payment documents in the cloud
With so many automation options at your disposal, it can be easy to squander time on solutions that are more complicated than your business needs them to be. Start by looking for repetition in your processes, then choose the simplest automated tools available with the ability to perform those activities for you.