Small businesses need to bring their product or service to market, whilst minimising unnecessary expenditure, monitoring competitors, retaining staff and providing memorable customer experiences. With so many demands on their time, automation is increasingly being leveraged by business owners in order to spend fewer resources on labour intensive, back office activities. Whilst not all processes can, or should be automated, using technology to support certain lines of business can drive considerable efficiencies for users, and without breaking the bank. Here are some examples:
Automate your sales process
It’s important to know as much as possible about your sales cycle, including where new leads come from and why certain prospects don’t convert, in order to refine outreach and get the best out of your sales teams. But it’s difficult to capture that information without the right processes or technologies in place. A customer relationship management (CRM) solution can give you these insights, by aggregating data from customer interactions and providing reports based on this information, to help users more effectively track deals and reach targets.
Automate your HR department
Your staff are at the front line of your business, so managing them properly, and ensuring they feel valued, is important. There are a range of automated HR tools which can support your team in this process. For instance, automated onboarding solutions can help employees integrate themselves into a new position faster, by providing them with important information on company values and processes all in one place.
Timesheet tracking apps automatically enter hours completed by employees each day and on what task, providing users with data which can be used for budgeting and invoicing clients. Appraisal processes use automated workflows, coordinating the review procedure for management and providing users with up to date performance metrics on employees via a centralised dashboard.
Automate scheduling and conferencing
Scheduling appointments can often take too much time and too many emails. However, there are a range of smart tools such as Calendly, which can simplify this process, by giving recipients a menu of times to choose from and automating calendar invites into their diary.
Elsewhere, automated conferencing tools help users to more easily catch up with contacts when working remotely, and give shared cost numbers so calls can be scheduled across multiple regions, without the long distance phone bills.
Automate disaster recovery
Contingency planning is critical, to ensure downtime is kept to a minimum and that customers aren’t disrupted should the worst happen. IT infrastructure such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) allow users to create replicated versions of their product environments and automatically recover their data if systems fail.
Automate bookkeeping data entry
Manual data entry within bookkeeping is one of the most inefficient practices to sustain, due to the sheer amount of time and expense it takes to get it right. And with automated data entry solutions widely available for this very purpose, there’s no need to spend hours typing in data from your bills and receipts anymore.
AutoEntry is one such tool, and works by capturing and analysing details from scanned and photographed images of paper documents, and inputting this information directly into your accounting software. Simply scan, take a photo with the mobile app, or send your documents via email and AutoEntry will do the rest. Once AutoEntry has captured and entered this data, it creates a digital record of the image and attaches it to the transaction in your accounting software. Businesses will no longer need to store any paper copies, so they can declutter their office and go green.