Advancements in technology have shown great benefits to small business owners through automation. Technology has grown to a level where you can implement it in practically every aspect of your business. Automating tasks prevents you from wasting your energy and allows you to focus your energy in the areas that require your undivided attention.
With only 24 hours in a day, it is crucial that you maximize the hours you spend on growing your business. Throughout the day you will encounter tedious activities that take up a lot of your precious time; just to name a few: sending e-mails, posting on social media, financial data entry, etc. Still not sure what automation is and why it is important? Here are a few insights to benefit some aspects of your small business.
Optimize for Better Client Relationship
There are many efficient and streamlined ways to onboard a new client that sets up the relationship for success. Critical in the early stages is to listen to their needs, understand their ways and methods of working, and understand how they will fit in your business practice.
For instance, if you want to receive a signed contract shortly after meeting with your new client, one-click solutions like e-Sign from Adobe can help. Not only is it a timesaver, but it promotes consistency and accuracy when completing tasks repetitively. It takes time to write contracts if you don’t standardize them; printing, scanning, faxing, e-mailing and filing.
Using work flow improvement solutions can really drive productivity and ultimately the profitability of your business. Simple things like using checklists can help in understanding what you need upfront and what exactly will be needed from you and your clients on an ongoing basis.
Manage your Documents and Programs like a Pro
Managing physical documents can be a hassle. They are often kept in filing cabinets, most times unorganized, damaged, or even missing. Using a document management system specific to your vertical market can bring efficiency through automation.
There are solutions like FileThis that can fetch your important documents automatically and file them for you, thus saving you hours every week to focus on things that move the needle for your business.
Think about the tools you use for your business and learn how to use them as a pro to boost productivity. For example, in Microsoft Outlook, fine-tuning simple functions like turning off notifications, using rules to pre-sort emails and taking the extra second to tag junk email have all boosted my productivity and are saving me hours every week.
Improve your Cash Flow
For most small business owners, a lot of time is spent on finding out the status of an invoice or bill. Which ones have been paid? Which ones are outstanding? Has the client received it? These questions should not take up so much of your time, but they do and it greatly disrupts your workflow.
Most cloud accounting software have built-in automation to schedule and send out recurring invoices to loyal clients, receive payments online, and pay your monthly bills automatically with very little time being consumed.
Solutions today can also send out automatic payment reminders in the form of e-mails, text messages, or even phone calls for any missed payments by your clients so that you don’t have to do it yourself.
Build your Brand on Social Media
These days marketing requires a high investment in social media. Businesses need to engage with their audience on a daily basis; there are no such things as off-days. Although social media is an important aspect of every business, it is also one of the more tedious ones; doing things like posting on Facebook or tweeting can quickly eat up your time.
In order to spend as little time as possible on marketing and social media, you must take advantage of automation. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer will streamline the social media process for you. Through the software, you can setup your social media schedule to specific days and times. All you need to do is create and curate the content, the software does the rest.
With these types of marketing automation tools, you can complete your entire weeks’ worth of social media in less than an hour.
The power of automation enables you to complete most business tasks in matter of minutes, thus decreasing the amount of time you spend on low-growth activities and increasing the amount of time you can spend on high-growth activities for your business.
Nick Chandi is co-founder of SlickPie Online Accounting Software . SlickPie is a Vancouver-based cloud accounting software. He is also president & CEO of Welcome Networks Inc. a cloud based virtual desktops provider to small businesses in Canada and U.S.