Running a small business can be a lot of work – there’s always something that needs to be done. This can be especially challenging for solopreneurs and those who wear many hats in their business. The good news is that there are now many ways to automate your small business and make your life easier. In this article, we will discuss 6 smart ways to automate your small business for high productivity.
What is Automation & What are the Benefits?
Automation refers to the use of technology to automate tasks that would otherwise be done manually. In the context of a small business, there are many tasks that can be automated, from social media to marketing to customer relations and sales. There are many benefits of automating your small business. Automation can save you time, money, and resources. It can also help you to be more organized and efficient, and to scale your business more easily. If you are looking to grow your business, automation can help you to do so more effectively. Automation can help you to manage more customers and clients without having to increase your staff. In some cases, automation can save you money by eliminating the need for human labor and in other cases, it can save you money by reducing the number of errors made in a task.
6 Ways You Can Automate Your Small Business
1. Email Marketing Automation
With Email Marketing Automation you can can streamline email tasks, such as, scheduling emails, developing an email marketing plan, responding to customer inquiries, and managing your email list. If you’re manually sending out marketing emails, you’re missing out on a lot of potential leads. Automating your email marketing can help you stay in touch with your leads and customers without lifting a finger. MailChimp is great program to use for Email Marketing Automation and they wrote a great article all about Email Marketing better explaining the benefits.
2. Social Media Automation
By automating your Social Media you can schedule your posting to social media, responding to messages, and managing your social media accounts all in one place. Many different tools can help you automate your social media, from Hootsuite to Later.com. The easiest way to automate your social media is to create content in blocks and schedule 1-4 weeks at a time and then schedule it using a scheduler . You can simply use the scheduler available to all users on Facebook or you can use other programs, such as, later.com. Make sure to analyze the data and metrics given to you on your social media accounts so that you are scheduling your posts for the most optimum time for your audience.
3. Automating Customer Relations and Sales
Customer relations and sales automation refers to the process of automate tasks such as managing customer data, tracking sales leads, and generating reports. A CRM, or customer relationship management system, is a software tool that businesses can use to store and track information about their customers and potential customers. The main purpose of a CRM is to help businesses keep track of their customer relationships and manage their customer data. CRMs can also help businesses automate and streamline their sales and marketing processes, and improve their customer service. You might be thinking that you can just continue with your spreadsheet since it is working so far and you are right! A spreadsheet is a great way to keep track of your potential and current customer’s information. But, a CRM not only stores the customer’s information like a spread sheet, but most CRM’s can tracks dynamic data like what emails a certain contact has opened, the pages they’ve visited on your website, items they have purchased, and even the last date they have made a purchase. Another advantage, and the reason it made our automation list is that Customer Relation Management system softwares continuously updates automatically! As your leads come in and current customers are active the CRM collects data that you can export and use to better your business’ workflow. Monday.com is a great place to start when looking for a CRM software.
4. Streamlining Your Accounting
Accounting automation is probably the most important part of your business that should already be automated. Automating your accounting is necessary for better invoicing, tracking expenses, and managing your financial data. There are many great accounting programs, but a favorite of ours is wave.com. Wave is easy to use and allows you to manage your bookkeeping, accounting and invoicing in one place through internal integrations. It is a great way to streamline your accounting and best of all it’s free! Yay!
5. Using AI and Machine Learning Tools
There are now many AI and machine learning tools available that can help you to automate your business. These tools can be used for things like marketing, customer relations, sales, and creating content. For example: simplified.com is a program that you can design, write, edit videos, and schedule social media content on. Their AI writer can help you write content, generate hashtags, come up with social media copy, expand on text you have already created, or even create blog ideas and whole blog posts! These types of programs can help you save time and money by assisting you with tasks that you may normally struggle with.
6. Outsourcing Key Tasks
In some cases, it may make more sense to outsource key tasks to a third-party provider. This can be a good option if you don’t have the time or resources to do the task yourself. Let’s say you’re already using a scheduling program for your social media, but it is still taking you too many hours a week to create the content and schedule it since you are not a designer. Hiring a Social Media Manager would be a great option of you. Another example is if you struggle with your finances hiring a bookkeeper would be a fantastic idea and would keep you from making costly errors in your business! Hiring a professional to help with your business may cost money, but it will be the best decision you’ve ever made. You will have less stress and more time to do what you do best.
If you’re ready to get your business more automated the best way to get started is to start small. Choose one task that you’d like to automate and look for a tool that can help you do it. For example, if you’re looking to automate your email marketing, you might want to use a tool like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. If you’re looking to automate your social media, you might want to use a tool like Hootsuite or Later.com. Once you’ve selected a tool, take some time to learn how it works. And if after researching you feel like it will be too much work for you as a solopreneur definitely start looking to outsource the task! You won’t regret it.
Automation is a great way to save time, money, and resources. By automating key tasks, you can free up your time to focus on other areas of your business, but more importantly so you have more balance between your work and your personal life. We sure hope this helped you get one step closer to streamlining your business. Please check out more of WCE’s Small Business Resources, WCE’s Upcoming Events, and don’t forget to join WCE’s Private Facebook Group to find your community of fellow women entrepreneurs.
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