A small business is required to do pretty much the same tasks as a larger business, but with fewer people. This presents a few very specific challenges around processes, time slicing, scalability and skill sets.
Automation can benefit a small business by easing up manual tasks and streamlining processes. Automation also allows you to benefit from the skills of others (affordably), and gives you more time to dedicate to networking; the bread and butter of small business.
Tools like G Suite,Zapier,IFTTT,Hubspot,SOLID,BambooHR and Zendesk can help you automate everything from your inbox to marketing, tech support, HR and business operations.
Especially if you start early.
The sooner you embrace automation and include it as part of your company culture , the sooner you’ll reap the benefits, reduce your operating costs and improve scalability.
“But why should I??” I hear you sigh over your 4th cup of coffee. I get it. You’ve got a list as long as your arm of things to do today. Listen up. Here’s how automation can benefit a small business:
1. Processes become scalable (up… and down)
By definition, automation takes an input and runs it through a set of predetermined actions automatically and repeatedly, giving you exactly the same result each and every time. No matter how many inputs you include.
This makes automated processes extremely scalable; there is no difference to the result if you include 1 input or 100,000 and vice versa.
How many times have you ended up making a process work “for now”. Then, plan with the best intentions to fix the problems later, or “when you have time to breathe again” (say it with me… har har).
By implementing automated processes from early on, you’re removing duplication of manual tasks and setting yourself up for success through scalability. This translates to massive future savings in time, frustration and inherently, money.
For Example: Sending 100 individual marketing emails from your private email account will take forever. But using something like MailChimp or Hubspot allows you to create a template, upload a datalist and send those 100 emails in a flash.
2. Become more effective, far quicker
SaaS (Software as a Service) is software delivered over the internet, rather than the old school CD installation route. ‘Encarta’ anyone?
Anyway, the point is that with such a massive variety of online software available at the click of button, you’d be crazy not to leverage someone else’s genius to accomplish a task quicker and better.
Team communications getting tough? Slack streamlines communications between team members. Social Media tracking and publishing becoming a nightmare to manage? Hootsuite can help you with that.
You can become far more effective, far quicker, by leveraging automation. Best of all, SaaS is usually free or available pay-as-you-use or through a monthly subscription model.
Entrepreneur has a great list of tools for small businesses to use right over here.
3. Decreasing operating cost
Yes, you read right. Automation is an investment . The trick is to understand your business, understand your process and evaluate which investments now will bring you the biggest rewards later.
Whilst it can be a large initial investment, automation will decrease your operating costs over time through:
- Reduced errors
- Increased time savings
- Reduced training costs
- Metric visibility
- Reduced turnaround times
We’ve got more detail over here , but you get the picture.
4. Gives you time to focus on what matters - growing your business
Networking, building relationships, brainstorming new ideas - this is where your vision, creativity and drive should be spent.
Not on customer management, billing and support. That’s what we at SOLID are brilliant at . You need to put your energies where they are most beneficial to you - specifically as a small business.
Automating your processes and tasks that are clunky, repeated, and wasting your time will give you the freedom to do just that.
Automation is the answer (Everything you need to know about Business Process Automation).
If you’re keen to try it out but are unsure of what to look for in an automation provider, download our eBook “ 6 Questions to ask before choosing your Business Automation Software ”. It’ll give you a checklist of what and what-not to do.
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