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Automation may be considered a job killer, but it’s also a life-saver for small businesses who are looking for ways to streamline daily tasks while saving both time and money.
It’s already a reality. And, it’s time for you to start embracing this technology.
Need a place to start? Here are 11 tasks that you should be automating if you want to save an hour a day.
1. Accounting, invoicing and taxes
One of the most feared tasks that small business owners dread is accounting as well as to send an invoice. It’s tedious and time consuming. Thanks to automation, however, this is a concern that you no longer have to lose sleep over.
There are many online invoicing services that automate bookkeeping tasks ranging from recurring payments, payment reminders, storing of receipts, real-time financial alerts, bank transfers, and even filing your taxes.
Instead of manually all this information, automation handles all of your bookkeeping needs. These services save you a ton of time, and a lot of headaches, when it comes to balancing your books and organizing your files during tax season.
2. Social-media updates
Engaging and interacting with your audience through social media is a must for small business owners. But, posting content and responding to comments can eat-up a large portion of your workday. Thanks to tools like Buffer and Hootsuite you can schedule social media updates in advance so that you can focus on tasks that can grow your business.
Other tools, like Commun.it and Paper.li, can help you identify and reach out to social media followers and engage with them by sending automated messages like thank you notes to new followers.
3. Website logins
It’s not uncommon for small business owners to have multiple login information for their various financial, social media, and vendor accounts. That’s a lot of passwords to remember. Thankfully, password managers simplifies this problem.
Password managers aren’t just for convenience’s sake; think of it as good online hygiene, writes April Glaser for Wired Magazine. “Most password managers save and generate secure passwords for you, meaning you only have to remember one password – the one that opens your vault.”
In short, password managers save you time while keeping your sensitive information secure.
4. Data backup
You never know when your computer is going to crash due to a virus or a hardware problem. In the past, this was devastating.
I can’t tell you how much information I lost in the early days of my career. The cloud, however, has rectified this problem. Your businesses data can now be automatically stored on the cloud, which means that if you do experience a crash, it can be easily recovered.
5. Filling online forms
Google, as well as software programs like Roboform, let you automatically fill in online forms. Using your stored information, such as your name, address, and billing info, helps so you can breeze through subscribing to emails, downloading content, and signing up for new services.
It may not sound like a big deal, but constantly filling out that information consumes more time that you may have realized!
6. Employee scheduling
Are you scheduling employees using a pen, paper and Excel spreadsheet? It’s not just time consuming. It’s downright dreadful.
Thanks to tools like Hubworks and When I Work this task is now automated for you since they can balance your employee’s availability with your scheduling availability.
When I Work claims that it will only take you 15 minutes to schedule your team for the week–believe it.
7. Email marketing
Email marketing is another essential task for small business owners. But, again, this can be a time consuming responsibility when responding to each and every email that you receive.
Mailchimp, Aweber, and Drip will do everything from launch sequences, welcome messages, wish customers a happy birthday, post purchase follow-ups, and abandoned cart recovery.
Does email automation work? It’s been found that automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” marketing messages.
8. Business analytics reporting
Without even realizing it, you probably spend a lot of time switching between one business dashboard to another.
Tools like Cyfe take care of this issue by providing one convenient dashboard where you can monitor everything from analytics, marketing, sales, social media, and customer support.
9. Customer support
Automated tools like Salesforce help desk give you the chance to handle after-hours support, improve conversions, preemptively address any questions or concerns, reduce the workload for your team, and assist customers with resolving a problem as quickly as possible.
Services like Gusto and Wagepoint may not automate your payroll 100 percent, they will take care of time consuming tasks like employee on-boarding and tax filing.
11. Lead magnets
A lead magnet, according to Barry Feldman, is simply a “free offer you make in exchange for an email address (and possibly additional information).”
“The purpose of a lead magnet is to inspire the people who are consuming your content to get on your email list. You’ll aim to convert them to customers in the future with lead nurturing tactics, most notably, email,” adds Feldman.
But, what if you’ve never created a lead magnet? No problemo. Designrr will do this for in just 30 seconds without you even having to type a single word.