Content provided by a guest contributor.
Time is something that small business owners and entrepreneurs rarely have but often want. In fact, at some point or another you have probably wished for more hours in your work day to get things done. If not, you have probably often worked overtime to make up for time lost during the day on admin or ad hoc tasks. Although overtime might not be something you can avoid completely, you may be able to lessen it by automating the following tasks.
1. streamline your Finances
Streamlining your financial processes, using accounting software, ensures on-time payments and allows you to follow up on those that are outstanding if need be. Investing in accounting software or an accounting package (such as Xero and Quickbooks) allows you to set reminders, create and send follow-up emails for late transactions, and access performance reviews with ease.
2. Make use of Email scheduling tools
Email scheduling tools (such as MailChimp) let you automate your email marketing by allowing you to create and release drip marketing strategies when, for example, a customer signs up for your email newsletter. Establishing and maintaining good relationships with your customers is integral to your business’s growth, and automated email marketing can help you in that endeavour.
3. automate your Social media marketing
Social media can be time consuming, and leveraging it as a marketing tool/platform is no different. Social media post scheduling is an important way to save time, and social media management tools (such as Hootsuite and Zoho Social) can help you do so.
4. Use an Employee scheduling tool
If your business requires employees to work and keep to changing schedules (or shifts), and employee scheduling tool will help save the time you would have taken to create and log the schedules in an excel spreadsheet. Through employee scheduling tools (such as When I work) you can schedule your staff and communicate with them, and they can access their shifts to ensure greater accountability.
5. Consider automating your website logins
Although one of the lesser inconveniences of your work day, constantly logging in to certain identified webpages can waste time in the long run. Password management tools (such as 1Password or LastPass) store your log-in details securely, making logging in to these frequently-used sites easier and quicker.
6. leverage Customer service tools
Automating customer service may not be possible or practical for all businesses. However, customer service tools (such as FreshDesk and Zendesk) do allow you to address customer complaints or queries more reliably, quickly, and accurately, improving the customer’s experience with your business and (possibly) their opinion of your product.
7. Minimise unnecessary Internal communication
Often, the content of emails sent internally by employees is better dealt with in-person and only clogs up inboxes, and sorting out your inbox takes up enough of your workday already. Internal communication tools (such as Asana, Trello, or Slack) are a great alternative to email communication, help employees better track projects, afford employers greater visibility across teams, and may also allow you to assign tasks to specific team members.
Automating any one of the tasks above can save you a considerable amount of time in your day-to-day business operations. Instead of wasting time on unnecessary emails or getting consumed by social media, you can use the time you save through automation to grow your business and develop more effective and efficient business processes.
The content in this article was sourced from the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).
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