It is easy to see why any business would want to automate at least some of their daily business tasks. As we’ve highlighted here, there are tremendous benefits you can gain when you automate your small business.
The first step to automating a small business is to identify tasks that you can automate. The best tasks to automate are simple, repetitive and require manual efforts to carry out. A great example of this is posting social media updates. Posting content to various social media sites one at a time, which is a simple job that’s repeated more than once a week, is a prime example of what can be automated. But the application is not limited to social media processes alone, there are four functional areas where a small business owner can use automation to save time, money and increase productivity.
Want to know which areas automate and what tools to use? Here are four (4) areas business owners can apply automation –
1. Marketing – There are so many opportunities in small business marketing you can leverage to apply automation. Social media scheduling, blog scheduling, lead generation, email marketing, etc. Business owners can collect leads automatically by offering digital products and have software like Mailchimp send personalized emails to each new lead, they can maintain consistency and save time by using tools like WordPress and Hootsuite to schedule posts to their blogs and social media accounts. Marketing plays such a critical role in the life of a small business that these tools would help upgrade your marketing while making it less stressful.
2. Customer Service – Every business owner would love to treat each customer well but there is not enough time and help. That is no longer the excuse for businesses that learnt to leverage automation at different levels of their interaction with customers; collecting feedback, sending updates and reminders, responding to enquiries etc. The fact is that automation is so prevalent today that even mainstream apps like WhatsApp and Instagram now provide the option of automated welcome and keyword triggered responses. That automation can be applied in more areas of customer relationship management. With tools like Zendesk, HubSpot, and Salesforce, the business is better equipped to interact effectively with customers at scale.
3. Administration – The smooth running of the day-to-day operations of a small business depends to a large extent on how well, the administrative tasks are carried out. This is why business owners must incorporate automation tools into various administrative tasks like employee recruitment, scheduling appointments, etc. to enhance productivity and efficiency. Simple tools like Calendly can be used to schedule appointments, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) like Greenhouse can be used to automate recruitment exercises and so on.
4. Accounting – One of the most stressful aspects of a small business’s accounting activities is that at the end of the month is payroll, and the larger the size of your employees, the more stressful it would be. But payroll is not the only opportunities small business owners can leverage to automate their businesses. Others include receipt generation, order collection, bookkeeping, invoice reminders, etc. All of which can be automated with various affordable tools. There are a few top payroll apps in Nigeria and others like Wave, Accounteer, Quickbooks and Zoho.
There are many opportunities for small business owners looking for growth to infuse automation into their business processes. I hope this article will inspire you to start looking for automation opportunities in your business.
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