Guest Post Written By Rae Steinback
About the Author: Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course).
Running a small business can take up a lot of time. It often seems like the days never end with every task ticked off the to-do list. This can be especially frustrating when you look at how much of your time is spent on tasks that aren’t even a part of your core business operations. They are just things you have to do to keep the business running.
You have to do things like handle your marketing, send invoices, apply for SBA loans and manage your schedule. These are all important for the success of your business, but you might wish that you had a little more time to focus on the things that are central to your business.
While you might not be able to automate everything, there are tools that can take much of this work off your schedule. Using them can free up more time to focus on core operations and help your business grow.
If This Then That (IFTTT) is a platform that lets you set up rules that will trigger responses in one app when you perform an action in another. As an example, you could set a rule that backs up all of your new Google Docs in Dropbox. You could also set it up to automatically post about new blogs on Facebook when you publish them to your site.
There are millions of automations depending on the apps you use. The point is that it makes it so your apps work together and it can save you a lot of time. Instead of having to switch between several apps to perform tasks that are the same or similar, you can just set it up so one action triggers the entire chain actions that need to follow.
Most small businesses need to engage in at least some level of social media marketing. The problem is that it can take a lot of time and small business owners can have trouble keeping up. Hootsuite makes it easy to manage your social media activity across platforms and do things like schedule posts and collaborate as a team. If your operation is small, they have a free plan that allows management for three social media accounts by one user.
Poor lead capture forms can be one of the biggest weaknesses in the sales process. With Leadformly, you can create better forms and capture more leads. While creating forms might not sound like automation, this service makes it much easier and it offers a lot more than simple lead form generation. You can create multistep forms and they can be set up to ask specific questions based on the information provided. These forms not only generate more leads, but they also help to qualify the leads as they come in.
ActiveCampaign is a marketing automation platform that helps you engage with leads once you have them. It uses a range of tools like email marketing to help you nurture leads through the sales funnel. When you use tools like Leadformly and ActiveCampaign together, it automates much of the early sales process. This makes it so you only have to deal with the leads that are very close to a purchase, so it can save you a lot of time.
Accounting is one of the tasks that can take up a lot of time at a small business. With Xero, you can automate much of your accounting and save time to work on other areas of the business. This cloud-based accounting platform has features like automatic invoicing, the ability to accept payments right in the app, sales tax accounting, inventory management and more. Xero offers a lot of features in one platform, so along with simplifying accounting, it can also streamline a range of other processes.
With automation, you can save time to focus on things that will make your business better and help it grow. The automation tools listed here are some of the best available today, but there are many more. Experiment with these tools and take some time to find other services that can make your business more efficient.
To conclude, if you’re running a small business, automation is a great tool. You can save time and boost your bottom line with these automation tools