What do you love most about your small business? Least? You might not be as passionate about the nitty-gritty aspects of business ownership, like running payroll or organizing customer information. Learn how to automate business processes so you can streamline operations.
The best way to spend more time growing your business is to alleviate the tedious tasks you have on a day-to-day basis. So relax, take a break from time-consuming tasks, and focus on what matters most: your business.
What is business automation?
Small business automation is the process of using automation tools like software to simplify, decrease the cost of, and speed up operations.
Business automation is popular today. One study found that 79% of top-performing companies use marketing automation, and 97% of business-to-business companies use CRM software. And, another report found that 79.8% of businesses use accounting software or online applications.
Small business automation tools
What keeps you from growing your business—not enough time in the day? These business process automation tools could help.
Here are three responsibilities most businesses have that can be sped up through automation tools:
- Organizing data
- Payroll and accounting
If you want to attract and retain customers, stay on top of information, and spend less time on mandatory tasks, see how tools can help.
Marketing automation tools are a great way to spend less time sourcing customers. Businesses market through many different outlets, including social media, business websites, and email.
Consistently posting on social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest is important. But, engaging customers through social media can take some time.
Buffer is a helpful automation tool for social media posting. With Buffer, you can schedule content and post to all of your social media sites in one place. You don’t need to log in and out of each social media site to post. And, you can plan content out for months at a time.
Want to see how many shares your posts get on each different social media account? With websites like Buzzsumo, you can quickly analyze the number of shares you get. Buzzsumo is also a great way to speed up your competitor research so you can compare your marketing efforts.
Your website is a great way to post upcoming promotions and events. To make sure your marketing efforts are effective, you need to get noticed. Increase traffic to your website with SEO.
If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, it is the process of improving your website’s visibility in search engines. Include keywords on each of your web pages so people can find you on search engines.
There are also automation tools that let you track the success of your marketing efforts. For example, Google Analytics and Hubspot track the number of people visiting different pages on your business website. Depending on what the data indicates, you can make changes to your marketing efforts.
Sick of spending minutes on end typing up new emails for each customer? With email marketing, you can send and track mass emails to sub-segments of your customer list.
Create email templates and simply enter information. Add customer and lead email addresses to get started. You can use automation tools like HubSpot, MailChimp or ActiveCampaign to send more emails, save time, and increase open rates (the number of people who open the emails).
2. Organizing information
If you tend to be disorganized and scatterbrained, you could benefit from keeping all your information in one place. Even if you are organized, automation tools can still help you save time.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools are a great way to organize information. Most CRM tools let you schedule events like meetings and phone calls, set up reminders, and keep track of customer information.
CRM tools tie closely into your marketing strategy. One of the main CRM features is that it lets you easily connect your sales and marketing efforts. That way, you can more closely understand the relationship between the two.
3. Payroll and accounting
Payroll and accounting might not be your passion. That is, unless your small business is an accounting or bookkeeping firm. But, these tasks are required by the government.
Every time you run payroll for employees, you need to withhold taxes and send them to the government, depending on your depositing schedule. Doing this can cut into your valuable time for growing your business.
There are different cloud payroll software options that can help automate this process. A full service payroll solution withholds, deposits, and files payroll taxes for you. That means less calculations and stress.
Accounting also takes up a significant amount of your time. You need to keep your accounting books organized to stay compliant with the IRS. You must track business expenses and income. And, you might need to create and send invoices to customers.
Maintaining your accounting books and creating invoices can be time consuming. Using an accounting software solution can help automate these responsibilities and get you back to doing what you love.
The benefits of automation
You might own a coffee house, mini golf course, card shop, clothing boutique, or pizza place. Your passion might not be marketing, organizing information, running payroll, or keeping track of accounting books.
Automating the tasks you need to do, but don’t necessarily want to do, can save you time, energy, and, in the end, money. And, automation still lets you customize so things like marketing materials look how you want them to.
When you can simplify all the details that get your business noticed, organized, and legal, you can work on expanding. Isn’t that what getting customers and promoting your business is all about?
Knowing how to automate business processes, while keeping your personal touch, is a great way to save you time and promote your business.