August 3, 2022

How To Automate Your Business & Take Back Your Time

Your business isn’t going to run itself…or is it? Automating your business can eliminate repetitive tasks and free up time for more meaningful work. Keep on reading to find out more.

Living in the digital age means that more and more people are turning towards technology to help streamline their business processes. It makes sense, right? If you had a magical tool that would allow you to take a manual process and turn it into an automated one, why wouldn’t you? 

Automating your business is a great option to consider because it can help streamline tedious tasks, optimizeworkflow, and give you and your employees their valuable time back. If automating your business sounds like a dream come true, keep reading to find out more information.

What Does It Mean To Automate Your Business?

Think of automation as any process that has transitioned from relying on a human to utilizing some type of artificial intelligence. For example, people used to have to physically go into a bank to deposit and withdraw money from their bank account.

Now, instead of waiting in line and having to ask permission from the teller to withdraw money, you can simply drive your car up to a machine, plug in some numbers, and out comes the money. 

While humans can never be fully replaced, some repetitive functions of your business can be streamlined through the implementation of automation software.

Why Can Automation Be Useful?

The biggest benefit of automation is that it helps your employees to spend their time more productively and reduce inefficiencies. Because a program can do some of the more tedious tasks, this will allow your employees more time for collaboration and creation

Your employees will thank you for the relief from the tasks that they secretly don’t want to do. Other plus sides to business automation include:

  • Reduction of cost
  • Reduction of human error
  • Streamlined processes
  • Readier access to data and transparency

What Should You Use Automation For?

Depending on your business needs, you can use automation for a variety of tasks. You can entrust an artificial intelligence to balance your books or simply focus on key areas you want to streamline. Aspects of your business to automate include:

  • Accounting
  • Social Media
  • Learning Management
  • Human Resources

Each of these is an integral part of your business, so if you are interested in implementing some new tech, choosing the correct software for your small business is key. 

How Do You Automate Your Business?

Once you decide which areas of your business you want to automate, you can begin the process. Consider the steps below:

  1. Choose an automation platform
  2. Create goals
  3. Monitor progress

Following each of these steps creates the opportunity to improve quality control over your automation process.

Choose an Automation Platform

When embarking on your research journey through automation platforms, focus on:

  • Cost: How much of your budget can you allocate to this new tool? Remember, don’t just consider immediate cost — consider how much it will cost or save you in the long run.
  • Interface: This is going to be based on personal preference. Many platforms will allow you to complete a free trial, so use it! Shop around and see which one you like best.
  • Learning curve: When implementing technology into a platform, you or one of your employees is going to need to learn how to use it. Many software review websites will include the learning curve process in their ratings. But just like cost, think of it in the long term: it might be time-consuming now, but it can be a time saver on the back end.
  • Purpose: Begin with a purpose in mind. This way, down the road, you can evaluate whether or not the software is serving that purpose. If it is, then keep on keeping on. If it isn’t, take some time to reevaluate the best solution for your business. 

Create Goals

When you started your small business, you likely had goals in mind. When you implement new tools into your small business, it is wise to create goals for how you will use those tools as well. 

Ask yourself:

  • What is my desired outcome?
  • What steps will I take with my new software to reach that outcome?
  • What data do I want to use to monitor my progress?

If you need more specifics on goals, consider using SMART goals. When using goals in a business setting, it is a good idea to have a process by which you create and track your goals. 

Creating specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals will make the next step much simpler.

Monitor Progress

Much like you monitor the progress of your employees and finances, you should monitor the progress of the technology. You want to make sure that you see a return on the investment that you made. Return to the goals you created for your automation and check:

  • Is the technology helping my business streamline processes?
  • How has the data changed from when I started to the present day?
  • If my technology isn’t performing, do I need to adjust my goals or the technology?
  • Are the goals I set then still relevant now? If not, how can I adjust them?

What Are The Best Automation Platforms For Small Businesses?

Automation can greatly improve processes for:

  • Accounting
  • Social Media
  • Human Resources
  • Learning Management

No matter what stage of the business process you are in, it’s never too early or too late to implement technology that can help your business run more efficiently. 

It’s time to let you in on our picks for the top automation platforms in each of those departments.

Accounting

For this division, we’re riding the Wave. Benefits of using Wave include:

  • Technology designed with small businesses in mind
  • Reliable and secure
  • Tracks and saves all of your data automatically in the cloud
  • Accountant approved

Social Media

When trying to market your business and create a social media presence, it can feel overwhelming to try to stand out in such a saturated place. Marketing automation software, from email marketing to customer carechatbots, has been around for ages. 

However, utilizing automation for customer support and lead generation on social media is the cutting edge of contemporary marketing technology.

This time, we’re steering you towards Social Pilot. This platform includes:

  • Dynamic content calendars with automatic scheduling
  • Comprehensive analytics reports
  • Content creation platform and suggestions based on trends
  • RSS automation tool

Human Resources

We are going to be smart here and choose IntelliHR. Here’s why:

  • People-centered with opportunities for collaboration and guidance
  • Actionable real-time insights and data
  • Includes payroll and recruitment
  • Access to best practice HR systems

Learning Management

Whether you are onboarding an employee or providing professional development, creating training automation can save you time and hassle. Training platforms are better than they used to be, with interactive ways to learn business essentials.

We’re going to illuminate some information about eloomi, which includes:

  • Buildable training with images, videos, and assessments
  • Real-time insights
  • Multilingual options
  • Scaled learning offerings

What If You Want Full Automation?

If automating your business sounds like heaven to you, then maybe you want to get hooked up with multiple platforms. Automating everything has the potential to be great, but it might be overwhelming to have multiple platforms. 

Luckily, there are umbrella platforms that will help you operate everything in one place. Think of this as your automation station. Keep reading for some of our suggestions.

Zapier

Zapier connects your work apps, so when one platform is working, it can begin a chain reaction, and the rest of them will do their jobs too. It’s an affordable way to promote efficiency within your business operations. 

You can set up these chain reactions in any way you want. So, say you link your human resources' platform to your learning management system. As soon as a new employee completes their HR process, Zapier will automatically send them a training notification, and the employee can begin their onboarding. 

While this might sound small, not having to worry about those little steps can be a huge relief.

Wrike

Wrike is another all-encompassing service that will allow functions to move forward automatically once you get things set up. If for some reason, there is a kink in the chain reaction, Wrike will notify you immediately so you can make the necessary fixes.

Because this is artificial intelligence, Wrike will flag any issues with paperwork, financials, posting, and learning processes. This takes the pressure off of a human error, as the technology is programmed precisely for that reason. 

Takeaways

Before you go, take these bottom line ideas with you:

  • Automation is a great option for promoting business efficiency.
  • Automation is known to increase employee productivity because they enjoy meaningful work more than tedious tasks.
  • When choosing an automation platform, take your time, play around with the interfaces, and choose the best option for you, your business, and your employees.


Sources:

The Ultimate Guide to SMART Goals ⎸ Forbes Advisor

A Guide To Using RSS Feeds ⎸ Business Insider

4 Tips for Effective Virtual Collaboration ⎸ Harvard Business Review

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