If you’re looking to grow your small business and start seeing more results, it’s time to consider automating certain aspects of your company’s operations with these tips on how automation can help your small business grow.
Businesses of all sizes have realized the advantages of automation and are taking advantage of it to improve their workflow, save money, and increase productivity. Whether you run a one-person startup or manage an entire Fortune 500 company, these benefits are universal.
Automation has become a big deal in recent years, with many business owners looking to maximize efficiency to save time and money and make room for more growth. However, some businesses are still not using this technology, or if they are using it, they are not using it to its full potential.
Why Use Automation In Business
One of the best things about automation is that it eliminates needless tasks, which frees up your time and attention to work on more meaningful tasks. In addition, automation reduces errors, increases consistency, and allows you to create value for your customers all day, every day. So, if you’re looking for ways to boost productivity in your small business, consider investing in some automation tools.
Knowing What Your Business Needs Before You Automate
Before you automate your business, make sure you’re actually aware of what you need. Just because a system or tool can solve a problem for you doesn’t mean it will efficiently solve that problem. In many cases, automating inefficient workflows and processes will only worsen them.
When looking to leverage automation in your business, ask yourself: does a task really need to be automated? If so, what exactly does it need to accomplish?
It's important to know what your business needs before automating processes. So it's not all bad if you have done everything manually in your business up until now. Because, most likely, you've learned a lot about how your business works, there is a good chance that you will be able to automate specific tasks easily.
The manual work gives you insights into what is taking up too much time, what you don't have time for, and even what you flat out just don't want to do anymore.
What Automating Can Do For Your Business
The benefits of automation are substantial. It allows you to get more done in less time, but it also can give your customers access to fast and efficient service, which will make them more likely to come back. And by freeing up your valuable time, automation can help you dedicate it to tasks that require your full attention.
Additionally, automating specific processes allows you to use data to predict when something is going wrong before it becomes a problem. This means fewer surprises and greater customer satisfaction!
How can automation help your business grow?
The first thing most people do when starting a business is get to work. While that’s undoubtedly true, there are several tasks that you might not have time for (or experience with) that you should delegate.
For example, if your business needs an accountant, hire one rather than trying to do all of your company’s finances yourself. The same applies to many other jobs and tasks – from graphic design and marketing to shipping and warehousing.
You hire people who have the expertise and knowledge in what you need to get done.
Automation is not the opposite of hiring out. Instead, it is a compliment to it.
Automation can be done as a first step to getting the help you need in your business.
The Difference Between Hiring Out And Automating
Which is better for your business?
It might surprise you, but outsourcing versus automation isn’t a one or the other decision; you can use both to grow your small business. But be aware that some tasks aren’t suitable for an outsourced/automated approach and will require in-house staff (and vice versa).
For instance, computer repairs are probably something you should outsource, but your client's checkout/payment process most likely requires automation.
If you’re on a tight budget and wonder how to save money, automating certain tasks may be your best bet. Automating can allow you to get the work of 2-3 people done with just you.
How To Begin With Automation For Your Small Business
There are many tools on the market today that can help you automate your small business with relative ease. Automation can make running your business more manageable, from scheduling to team communication to invoicing.
Automation won’t do all of your work for you, but starting with simple tasks will save you time to focus on growing your business without getting caught up in simple daily tasks or projects.
4 Steps to Getting Started With Automation
Audit your workflows, systems, and processes
It’s impossible to automate something you can’t define. So before moving forward, it’s essential to understand what tasks will make up your automated business processes and any dependencies that might exist between those processes.
You’ll also want to consider which technologies will be needed to build your automated processes. For example, if you plan to use a chatbot for customer service, you’ll need a tool like Intercom or Drift. Likewise, if you plan to use a tool like Zapier to automate tasks between different tools, you’ll need those tools before building out any automation.
An audit of your processes will help you determine the tools that could help get your automation started.
Determine how much time and effort you want to put into this project
One of the biggest things that get in the way of getting started with automation is having the time to step away from doing the work to set up a way to get it done more efficiently.
While you may be ready to get started, you may not have the time it takes to get it done.
You can look at your schedule and see when you have free time to dedicate to the project and plan for it. Or you can outsource it and invest in a professional that can get things up and running for you. Lucky for you, you are here with one right now. Hello!
Either way, you have to find the time to do what needs to be done correctly, so it doesn't cost you more time and money down the line.
Select what platforms will work best for your specific business needs.
There are so many tools designed to make running a business easier. But, as with all things, there will be pros and cons. And there is no one size fits all.
Finding the tool that works best for you and matches your preferences is essential.
Look at the results from your audit and determine The things you must have and what is non-negotiable. Then select the tool that meets your requirements accordingly.
Get started with simple tasks
Start with tasks that involve a lot of back-and-forth. For example, suppose you create and send quotes to customers. In that case, the process most likely consists in sending an estimate to a customer (who will often reply with changes or clarifications), then calculating those changes and sending them back. Implementing the usage of a Client Management Tool such as Dubsado or Honeybook can make these things more manageable.
Scheduling is another big one for service providers. Instead of emailing back and forth or writing things in your planner manually, some tools will sync with your personal and business calendars and let clients book their own appointments.
Only you know what you need
Although several software tools can undoubtedly automate different aspects of your business, you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on these tools. Instead, you might only need something simple. Book a discovery call so we can discuss what might work best for getting started with automation in your business.