One thing you can never create more of is time. It can be very difficult to grow your business when you lack time and resources, especially if you are a small business with limited staff. One of the easiest ways to free up time is to automate your business. This is where the adage of working smarter and not harder comes into place – by using technology.
There is no set list of programs or rules since each business is different but many of the tools that can be implemented are tools that automate the customer experience and administrative tasks. Here’s a great example: If your sales team spends several hours a day or even a week going back and forth with customers comparing calendars, setting up meeting times, and sending reminders – a simple easy fix is using software like Schedule Once or Calendly. These are great calendar sharing tools that connect to your email’s calendar and allow you to send a link to anyone and let them review your calendar and book time with you. It sends a confirmation email to both parties and even sends reminder emails based on the settings you choose! Both offer free options or the ability to upgrade to a free option for a small fee.
There are 5 BIG reasons why you should automate your business.
efficiencyand speed of your business. The first step, regardless of your business niche or size, is to figure out where most of your hours are spent. What tasks are you doing each day and which ones take up most of your time.With automated processes, you also reduce manual errors and inefficiency associated with human work. These don’t have to be huge automation processes either. It can be simply using a payment tool like QuickBooks or Peachtree to process payments and refunds vs. doing things manually using a payment processing system where you need to look up a customer’s information each time – their order, the price, their billing details etc. With a payment toolyou can even set up recurring billing and payments.
- A better customer experience. While nothing can replace dealing with an actual human being, it doesn’t mean you can’t automate your tasks or emails so that your customers have a better experience. Customers
reachout to your company in many ways, being able to access client information quickly and accurately will reduce wait time and confusion. Having one centralized location for all this information will allow anyone in your company to be able to help your customers and have the most up to date information.
- Happier employees. No employee wants to work in a place that’s chaos and repetitive, day after day. Doing mundane manual tasks will only bring down
moral. Conversely, using an automated system to handle those tasks will make your employees feel more productive since they can focus on more important and detailed work.
- Better data. Ask your employees to gather some information and they need to go in and pull some reports or manually create a spreadsheet. Ask an automated system for a report and it can send it directly to your inbox and you can even schedule it to send you new reports each day, week, or month. Having data available at your fingertips can provide you more and deeper insights into who your customers are and how to improve your sales and marketing efforts. You can also see how productive your company is or where there is room for improvement.
- Fewer surprises and
down time. When you automate you have few business interruptions. Automated processes can function even if an employee calls out sick, it’s a holiday, or it’s outside of standard business hours. Many automation software can interact with others making everything work seamlessly!
When it comes to automating your business – start small and work your way up. Pick one area to focus on at a time. Make sure everything is working and get feedback from your employees to make sure they don’t have any issues with the new process or it opens new challenges. Once you are happy with this area of focus, implement into other areas of the business. Once you see how beneficial automating your business is, you’ll find new ways to implement additional processes and your employees will be able to focus on more important aspects of their job functions.
Senior Vice President, Commercial Lender