We understand the value of money. We try to save it as much as we can. And that is why we want to be efficient with our finances.
Small businesses can cut costs in various ways:
- Engaging in barter deals with other small businesses and influencers
- Taking time to research banks for the best possible business loan rate
- Aggressively outsourcing non-critical functions
- Using more of SaaS-based businesses
… and so on!
Apart from money, there is another resource – TIME. But it doesn’t get accorded as much significance as it should.
When a business is small, operating processes are more ad-hoc rather than streamlined. Because of this lack of structure, spending a little too much time on certain tasks is often inevitable.
Therefore, saving time becomes imperative for small businesses and startups.
6 things every small business should automate
The question is:
How can small businesses save time as well they save money?
The answer is:
By reducing the manual factor and replacing it with automation.
This article talks about 10 tasks small businesses can automate in order to save time.
1. Email acknowledgments
When you receive an email outside your support team’s window of work, they cannot respond immediately. The longer the lead has to wait, the lower are your chance of converting the lead into a customer.
A simple templated email acknowledging the receipt and giving a certain timeframe for reply should be enough.
You can send such an email in an automatic reply through an “autoresponder”. A small business marketing automation system can help set up autoresponders quickly.
2. Social media posts
Your company must maintain its presence on all social media networks to have a consistent brand. But you cannot hire a social media manager to monitor and post to your social media handles all around the clock.
This is where automated social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer come in!
All the messages you want to convey to your social media audience can be quickly scheduled through a single software. When the time of posting strikes, the software sends out the posts on the chosen social network.
This way automated scheduling allows your company to stay in touch and maintain a personal connection with your social media audience, all the while staying organized and saving hours of your time.
This is one of those “unproductive but necessary” functions. Generating a single invoice may not take much time but, when you are dealing with tens or hundreds of vendors, the hours can quickly add up.
What if your order tracking and invoice generation of automatic?
You would not only save many hours but you will also avoid a large percentage of manual errors.
Automated invoicing and accounting software like Freshbooks and Harvest help organize your books, streamline your financial processes, and automate most of the repetitive financial tasks – it saves you several hours of your time.
4. Simple, standard queries from customers
Often, a large percentage of incoming queries from customers require single line answers or preset (static) answers.
With automated customer support tools such as pre-programmed chatbots, you can augment your customer support team’s effort. The chatbots will fetch replies to standard queries and reply to the customer’s query instantly.
In fact, several brands are already deploying customer support bots with Facebook Messenger or on their websites with tools like Intercom.
5. Scheduling meetings and appointments
Nobody likes back-and-forth on email over meeting timings.
What if your contacts could see when you are free and schedule the meeting accordingly?
What if the same software could schedule meetings considering the time zones of all attendees?
This is possible through automated scheduling functionality provided by smart small business CRM systems. This is a truly elegant and fuss-free solution to meeting and appointment scheduling.
6. Collecting customer feedback
As useful and helpful customer feedback is, collecting it by asking the right questions and at the right time can be a nightmare to set up. This is another one of those “unproductive but important” functions.
Tools like marketing automation workflows can make the process of customer feedback collection very smooth and quick.
Need to collect feedback at the end of all purchases? With marketing automation software, you can set up the tool to send an automated email to the customer as soon as they make a purchase.
Need to send mass feedback email but to only a select group of your customers and leads? Simply collect them in an email segment and your marketing automation software will send your email to all of them at once.
Automation saves time and makes your processes more efficient
There are several more small business use cases that can be automated to save time.
This extra time can help your marketing and sales team stay focused on their most productive tasks, by automating repetitive or standard administrative tasks.