In the era of massive competition, small business automation can be used to stay afloat.
With a large amount of workload to tend to and a number of hats to hone, small businesses are usually pressed for time. Necessary day-to-day tasks pile up and can be time-consuming and redundant. As a result, businesses cannot focus completely on the important tasks at hand. Since this becomes a continuous process, it may lead to an inhibition of growth.
Small business automation is an effective solution for this problem. It is the method of streamlining repetitive and arduous operations by making it hands-free. In other words, Business Process Automation (BPA) utilizes technology in a smart way to make the tasks simple and more efficient, thus increasing productivity.
Here are some of the effective ways to get started with your small business automation process.
Use Small Business Automation For Daily Tasks
If you look closely, you will find that certain daily tasks take up more time than necessary, thus affecting productivity. These tasks can include:
- Checking emails
- Project management
- Providing customer support
Apart from relying on apps and other tools, these activities can be automated by grouping them together according to the relevant categories. For example, going through emails twice or thrice a day instead of every few minutes can save a lot of time.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
You need to identify the tasks that are labor-intensive and repetitive.
Which tasks of your business’s operation require repetitive management and do not have much human-added value? These are the ones that need to be automated first. Some of these tasks may include:
- Accounting and payroll
- Inventory management
- Creating reports
Tools like Openbravo, Freshbooks and so on can automate these tasks for you. These tools will eliminate scope for human error while saving money and time, which you can invest in other important tasks.
Streamline Data and Metrics
Data is one of the biggest assets of small and medium businesses. This includes data involving consumer activities as well as the analytics indicating company’s performance.
There are a number of ways to gather customer data like providing free WiFi, monitoring customer behavior and so on which may become more time-consuming than you thought. Additionally, monitoring metrics to analyze the progress of the new strategies being rolled out by your company can turn out to be quite tedious as well.
The good news is, the entire process can be automated with the help of various tools and apps. For example, Google Analytics, Act, Qualtrics etc. can simplify these tasks. In addition to that, wireless automation has already cooked up a storm over the years making business processes more accessible and increasing connectivity.
With data degradation becoming a major concern, small business automation is being debated as one of the solutions for this problem.
Integrate Marketing Automation
Simply put, marketing automation is the method of streamlining and simplifying marketing operations with the use of software.
Every company deals with a host of conversion paths for their customers. These may include:
- Google search
- Social media conversions
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
It becomes very inconvenient to chase each of these unique conversion paths individually. This is where marketing automation comes in. Tools like MailChimp, HootSuite etc. are highly effective.
Additionally, with mobile marketing gaining momentum, attending to the relevant requirements has become the need of the hour. Recently, the marketing software provider, Marketo announced a partnership with the mobile marketing company, Vibes to automate mobile marketing.
Hire Small Business Automation Experts
With several automation processes going on, these can become quite confusing and difficult to manage at a certain point of time. Hiring an automation expert can be an effective solution in that case.
An automation expert analyzes each business process that has been automated, identifies loopholes, implements the right strategies and devises methods to increase the efficiency of every process. An expert will bring experience to the table and set your business’s automation methods on the right track.
Automation is the next-generation solution for small businesses to focus more on the growth and unlock their full potential. With automation becoming the norm for today’s entrepreneurs, it is time to make the most of it.
Production Line Photo via Shutterstock
The most important thing you need to know about before implementing marketing automation is the implications of everything it can touch. These can serve as pathway to define your specific goal, and how you are going to reach it.