If you aren’t sure what automation means or you have no idea where to begin for your business, check out this list of ways you can begin to automate to save time
Email database. If the maintenance of your email database is taking up too much time and you’re still using Excel to hold the list of people, try on online email database and campaign tool. Not only can you embed forms in your website to help people subscribe, they can also change their email address and unsubscribe online. Which means no more manual updating of a list. When it’s time to send an email to them, you can simply build the email and send to a list that is automatically updated for you! Check out Mail Chimp, Campaign Monitor and Benchmark.
Event organisation. Creating invites, sending calendar requests and keeping track of RSVPs can be time consuming. There are many online event services where you can create an event, upload a list of invitees and then simply export the list of those who have registered at the end. You can also share links to the event on your social media, website and via email. Look at Eventbrite, Event Smart and My Booking Manager.
Online ordering. Do you have an ordering function on your website? There are plugins and services you can use to manage your products and make the ordering and fulfillment process smoother. Look for Shopify, Big Cartel or WooCommerce.
Social media. The world of social media can be a great place to automate. Be careful not to use automation where you will be penalized, like Instagram, where accounts are being deleted for using publishing tools. Scheduling your updates for the future, using tools that prompt you to publish yourself, is a great way to save time. Check out Planoly, Hootsuite and Buffer.
Staff advocacy. Your staff are likely to be too busy to share your content and regularly talk about how fantastic your products or services are on their LinkedIn accounts. Find tools that will share your business content automatically for them or publish on their behalf. Look for Bambu, Sociabble or Amplify.
Invoice issuing and payments. If your small business accounting is not being done online, then you are missing out on some great opportunities to automate. Your recurring invoices can be set to go automatically to customers and payments logged for tax purposes too. There are so many benefits of automation when it comes to finance and the integrations can be beneficial to your business. Try out Xero, MYOB or Reckon One.
Task management. If you have multiple staff and you have trouble keeping up with what they are all doing from day to day, a task management system may benefit you. You can track tasks by people, time, project, business line and more. This makes weekly team meetings far more efficient and when multiple staff are working on one account or project, means you can all stay up to date. Look for Trello, Asana or Producteev.
Shared calendars. Any team needs to be aware of who is going to be where and when. Organising a meeting with more than one person can involve endless emails and discussion. Having visibility over when your team are available can save time and help understand timelines for projects as well. Check out G Suite, Calendly and Office 365. For a system that can automate many different parts of your business, look at what Zapier and IFTT can do for you. You will be surprised at how much you can trigger remotely! With all business operations, make sure you’ve researched the options thoroughly, particularly here when it comes to data security, privacy and compliance.