What if you were suddenly gifted one extra hour each day to focus on actual revenue-generating tasks for your small business? What would you do with that time?
“Most small business owners are so focused on getting work done in their business, they don’t have time to work on growing their business and that can lead to the feast or famine cycle. Automating lets them set it and forget it. They can get more leads and grow their business without having to do all the work themselves,” explained Brenda Stoltz of Ariad Partners.
By automating this list common business tasks, you’ll easily embody the mantra of working smarter, not harder.
Imagine being able to organize all items directly related to your sales funnel. Meet the Customer Relationship Management system.
“A strong CRM system will inform you of all activities related to your leads, prospects and customers. It will also help you to organize and prioritize your tasks and activities, track support tickets and should provide a number of reports for you to track sales, profits, costs, products or services sold,” said Melis Steiner of Melis+Dainon.
2. Backing up your computer
If you back up your data locally or you use a cloud-based software, scheduling the process to automatically back up will ensure that you won’t forget to do it and you won’t have to worry about it. Schedule the back up during a time when employees are away from their computers as to not disrupt the flow of productivity.
Maybe the easiest way to automate common business tasks is right under your nose. Travis Bennett of Studio Digita says that, “the best ‘automation tool’ I’ve found in my business has been my staff. When you run a small business it feels like you’ve got to have your hand in every pot, but for your business to grow, you need to empower your team, training and teaching them to take on the work you’re getting caught up on each day. Take it slow and build trust with your staff until the day you’re confident that when a new request comes in – they’ll be on top of it.”
4. Customer support
Managing customer communications through email can become a nuisance, especially as your business grows. Implementing a ticketing system or an online help desk will streamline the process and keep your employee’s inbox from being flooded with messages. This article highlights some of the best options out there when it comes to help desks.
5. Inbox rules
Mike Catania of PromotionCode.org suggests that automating rules for your inbox flow will give you that time back in your day to be more productive. “Emails of varying importance greedily suck hours from your week without realizing it, so take a half hour each Friday and either unsubscribe from emails you didn’t want or create rules to eliminate them,” said Catania.
6. Social media
It’s no secret small businesses should tap into the power of social media. But how can small business owners facilitate this process efficiently without spending too much time? Erika from Three Girls Media suggests: “One great way to save time with social media efforts is to use a service like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to schedule all of your content. I always recommend setting aside an hour per week to write and schedule your social media posts through a social media aggregator such as those. Working this way is highly efficient and can definitely save an hour or more per day.”
When it comes down to it, you might find that your best option for task automation is to simply outsource it (when you can).
Beck Robertson of PeoplePerHour says that “hiring a freelancer is one of the quickest, most economical ways to handpick and utilize top talent. Outsourcing can help get done almost anything that needs doing. Got a backlog of administration tasks you just haven’t got the time to clear? Regular staff overloaded? Outsource.”
Kurt Heckman, of vCalc and an entrepreneurial mentor put it simply: “High on my list of advice is DON’T do your own payroll.” [We agree].
The original version of this article can be found here.