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Small business automation – your priorities for the year ahead

by Avik Mitra January 31, 2019
Small Business Automation

In recent times, ‘automation’ has become a term of consequence when it comes to the IT industry. For beginners, automation involves the use of technology and artificial intelligence to reduce both manpower and error as far as practicable. Small business automation has therefore acquired quite a big craze in the industry, of late.

To put it in a rather simple way, small business automation involves a holistic transformation in the process and operation of brands. You can easily gain more by investing less.

Okay, let’s make it simpler again! Small business automation is a somewhat ‘push-button’ stuff, which is like pushing a single button and the work is done. Interesting, eh?

Automation includes the use of high-end technology in order to accomplish tasks on an auto-mode, that would otherwise involve either manpower or time or a lot of effort, which might result in errors and therefore decrease productivity.

For example, consider the system of password reset. It is an automated system that asks you to reset your password in case if you happen to forget your password. All you are to do is just click the ‘reset’ option. A link is sent to your e-mail address, by means of which you can set a new password. It is an automated system and does not require human intervention. Even expense submissions can be automated or self-serviceable.

Automation – A collaborative functioning

Small business automation implies reaping benefits by incorporating automated systems. There are several areas where the technology can be applied, such as the closing of sales, getting leads, serving the customer, etc. ‘Automation’ is primarily an automated service system that cuts down the extra task from the list, allowing the businesses to take care of bigger things, such as growing or expanding the business.

According to the reports by Statista, small businesses are at advantage on various fronts once they install automated systems. Let’s look at a chart below as revealed by Statista:

business automation statista report

So, why don’t you plan out something for your small business for the year ahead? Small business automation is always at your help.

In what ways?

Let’s innumerate then.

At the customer help desk

By assigning most part of the administrative task to an automated system, a small business can easily save a lot of time and energy and channelize the same to more productive use, say, the growth of the company.

For instance, an interviewing software would not just cut down the time needed to carry out interviewing sessions but would ensure a more systematic and defined approach.

Even the scheduling of interviews can be left to be taken care of by automation. By setting a system to do tasks, that are rather tedious and repetitive, on automation, small businesses can become more focused on their goals besides being strategic.

With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, small business automation becomes an easy and convenient process. For example, installing an automated system to record and register the vacation time and leaves of employees. You can even use automation to get inquiries.

Let’s take the help of an example to understand this.

Agile CRM is a customer service automation software, that assists in maintaining three different aspects of business, that include enabling sales, customer service, and automated marketing.

Payment on automation

A lot of quality time goes waste in having to process the payment details of the employees. Small business automation can actually benefit much by incorporating an automated mode that facilitates automated payment. several apps have come to the forefront that aid in collecting payments on an automated-mode.

Examples include expense apps that facilitate the collection of payments for car and hotel rentals.

There are AI tools that help you make recurring invoice on an automated mode. The dates are pre-scheduled and the payments are generated automatically likewise. Further, there are reminders that will guard you against processing late payments.

Zoho would give you a good example for a payment automation software. By installing Zoho, you can actually automate sales tasks on daily basis, get leads from visitors, besides also managing the accounts of the customers.

zoho

 

Recruitment

While not entirely, but partially the automated machines take care of the procedure of recruiting. In cases of recruitment, small business automation would help you in integrating smaller tasks that are repetitive and does not require much intelligence to handle.

For example, you set a list of questions on MCQ basis. The initial part of the interview is taken care of by your automated system, whereby it can qualify or disqualify candidates in keeping with the scores set as the eligibility criterion.

And of course, most of the repetitive tasks can be left on the automated systems. Such tasks might include the likes of calculation of leaves of the employees.

In case of small businesses that have just started off, setting up a complete team of human resources or enrolling in the job portals might not sound much significant. Scheduling interviews or reviewing the applications of the job applicants would require human intervention. However, the tasks prior to this, like filling up the forms can be set on an automated mode to cut down on both effort and time.

JobDiva is an excellent example of a recruitment tool. It will help you out with your staffing needs that consist of both back-end as well as back-end components.

gartner report

Now, as you know the benefits of small business automation, let us talk about a few more tools that help you in cutting down the initial load at work.

Xero

As you expand your business, the tasks multiply and so does the accounting. One of the most appropriate tools for small business automation, Xero does all the basic accounting tasks for you, such as raising invoices, scheduling and processing payments, and managing the flow of cash.

Founded in 2006 in New Zealand, a huge number of businesses are relying on Xero to handle their accounting tasks that include processing and running of payrolls, auto adjustment of taxes. In fact, it wouldn’t at all be wrong to call the tool a powerhouse of stock and accounts management.

WordStream

It sounds a lot better to get the help of third-party platforms such as WordStream to cater to the advertising needs of small businesses. This AI tool aids small business automation by simplifying paid advertising processes.

WordStream primarily helps in keyword research campaigns as well as in managing SEO and PPC campaigns. If you are trusting WordStream for your business, be sure to get all these benefits:

  • WordStream will look after and take care of your campaigns in search marketing and account management
  • Manages your Google Adwords account
  • Optimizes the paid search campaigns while aiding in conversion and bringing leads,

Zapier

Another small business automation tool, Zapier boosts productivity to a good extent. This tool offers a connect between different web apps by way of Zaps. Zaps will accomplish an assigned task without having to open the app. They will automatically open the apps and complete the task. All you have to do is choose the tasks that are to go to action service from trigger service. Custom fields and static texts can as well be used.

Hootsuite

Maintaining a campaign or running one, for that matter, is a rather boring task that should keep you sticking to your computer 24*7. And when it is business, you surely cannot ignore. Social media is the biggest ever boon that has happened to businesses, small and big. And to ease out the burden of being at your computer always, Hootsuite comes to the rescue.

All you have to do here is, schedule the posts, and the rest will be taken care of by Hootsuite. The posts will go live as and when you schedule them.

By automating your social media promotions, platforms such as Hootsuite not only save your time and resources but increase productivity as well.

Let us look at a few business process automation examples below:

I) Logistics and shipping company

When you have to deal with the complexities of a logistics and shipping company, the first thing you do is to have automated control on a part of your business besides reducing the cost to a good extent.

Such companies greatly rely on automated systems in order to boost their productivity. Given below are few of the features that are controlled automatically by these companies:

  • Recovery of revenues
  • Retrieving data and statistics
  • Reducing all the parallel controls
  • Integrating a number of departments production, budget, HR, finance, etc.

II) IT service desk

In any industry that has to do with customer services, such as IT or banking, business process automation is a good choice. Mentioned below are the ways in which small business automation makes your work easier:

  • Monitoring and handling of calls for the allocation of teams for customer service
  • Integrating different processes to boost productivity
  • Resorting to automated consultations

Why should I automate my business?

Because you want to save time and resources. Simple! Small business automation helps you manage your business better and more efficiently by taking care of comparatively low grade and repetitive tasks. You are therefore left with more time and resources to plan your goals in a better way.