Business Automation – a cheap way to make your business flow more smoothly
The world has changed. Business automation used to be something very large companies could afford and small companies couldn’t. That is no longer true. A host of changes have made them available to you (to us).
The changes are:
- Cloud technology – you can use the new software without having to buy and maintain expensive equipment or software – you can rent them instead for as little as $50 per month.
- Offshoring – also used to be the playground of the big boys but, these days, you can get work done by someone on Elance or ODesk for very little or you can hire your very own virtual assistant for much less than you’d have to pay an Australian.
There are several places that business automation can help – you don’t need to try to automate your whole business in one go:
Accounting and Bookkeeping
In the old days, we used a MYOB program on a computer in the office and a bookkeeper to come in and enter all the invoices and receipts into it after we’d raised them or bought things. She (it was usually a she) also reconciled these pieces of paper with our bank statements to make sure we hadn’t missed anything.
Now, cloud-based accounting systems link directly with our bank accounts and mean reconciling is no longer so necessary and the process of raising and paying invoices requires much less effort and fewer steps.
This is a quick and easy step towards automation that you can take without too much angst.
If you aren’t active with digital marketing, you should be – your customers are using the web to find the things they want to buy or they are spending their work and leisure time on the web where you can interrupt them to invite them to buy.
And much of this work can be automated. In much the same way as you used to put an ad in the newspaper, you can now run ads on Google or Facebook (and the others) and you can automate them – either by setting and forgetting them yourself or by employing someone else to do it. Or a combination of the two – to get best results, you need to be constantly reviewing and tweaking.
Email marketing systems mean you can write and schedule your marketing emails and follow up emails in batches (I bet you’re not reading this on the day I wrote it)
Job Scheduling and Workflow Management
Something that used to be done by hand or with diaries and emails can now be done using an end-to-end system tailored specifically for your kind of business. If you’re a trades business there are many tools that will incorporate job scheduling, time sheets, ordering, invoicing – different products will be more or less complete replacements for your existing systems.
If you’re not a trades business, you can automate your sales processes, put your shop online, manage workflows.
The possibilities are almost endless. The question is, are you investigating them properly?
You should be.