Redundant functions and rote tasks do not seem to have a place in the digital age. However, those who are starting out in business tend to fall into routine and repetition. You can be losing not only money but also time and effort if you go this way. With automation, you will be able to focus on your core competencies. So why not take a look at how you can achieve things with the help of software or artificial intelligence (AI)?
Here, you can check out these 7 business areas that are ripe for automation:
Manual accounting, even on a virtual spreadsheet, seems Mesozoic at this point. But businesses still do it. Why? It is familiar and costs next to nothing. It is also time-consuming — not how a lean team should roll. These days, cloud software simplifies financial recording for firms ranging from startups to corporations. This service also streamlines the bookkeeping and accounting process, which can be daunting for beginners.
Is it expensive? It depends on the provider and the product. Fortunately, there exist startup-friendly offerings out there.
One of the best ways to drive engagement is to find user-generated content (UGC) and share it with your followers. But in order to curate the most relevant UGC, you need to monitor trending topics, the hottest memes, etc. With the amount of information you need to wade through on the internet, automating the curation process will save you a lot of time and effort. There are many freemium software options to choose from. You can test-drive a few of them before subscribing.
Customer relationship management
Everything that will help you keep track of customer relationships falls under this area. The list includes address book contacts, business cards, database entries, emails, newsletter subscribers, and purchases. Imagine if you have to keep track of such things in a day. You and your team won’t be able to do anything else. It is for this reason that you need a CRM automation tool. Aside from enabling you to add contacts and capture leads, a reliable CRM allows you to keep it up-to-date.
Small businesses and startups tend to handle customer inquiries individually. This practice does not seem sustainable. First, your attention is already divided. Support quality may suffer. If not, the other aspects of your business are in danger of facing neglect. Next, dealing with different clients every day can take its toll on you.
The most sensible course to take is to outsource customer support. Virtual assistants for hire are easy to find on freelancer platforms. Further, you can also take advantage of chatbots and other intelligent customer care systems.
Sending promotional emails or weekly newsletters does not have to be painful nowadays. With email service providers (ESPs), you can customize and schedule emails so that they will reach target readers more effectively. With advanced ESPs, you will also be able to conduct A/B testing. The results will provide you with insights into how you can better engage potential customers. Most programs are also easy to set up.
You can be hands-on while you are building your core team. But, just like answering every customer chat and call, searching for and interviewing applicants for your startup can raise your stress levels. Imagine if you also have to prepare the tests that will help you identify the right match for posts. You need assistance from those who know how the hiring process works. Either you hire a virtual assistant or look for software that will do the dirty work for you.
Scheduling, editing, and analyzing the performance of social media posts require several employees. But if you do not have a big budget, a sizable staff, and enough time of the day, then automating this area is for you. There are free and paid tools that will help you with social media management. You can try several versions to see which one best suits your needs. For starters, look for one that allows you to monitor the mentions of your brand across social channels.