10 Tools to Help Automate Your Small Business
Using the right software can help streamline your business. Unfortunately, many businesses are slow to utilize new tools because they lack resources. Cost, time, and skills are a few common reasons businesses opt out of using new tools and software in their business. However, not using technology can hinder your business in more ways than one. Business automation allows you to complete different tasks with minimal human supervision, meaning your employees could start investing their time in more important and productive tasks that grow your business. There are many different types of automation tools available for businesses of all sizes. Let’s discuss a few of your options to help you find the right ones for you.
- Money Management
If your business has a budget and must monitor its spending, consider using money management automation tools that can help prevent cash flow problems and overspending. Money management automation software can help you understand where your money goes by giving you visibility into your expenses and limiting the amount of money you can spend on different projects. You can also use money management tools to streamline payment processing, send invoices, and track revenue to make taxes easier.
A money management tool may also act as your accounts payable (AP) system that prevents you from falling behind on payments by allowing you to track due dates and pay partners on time. AP systems can also track inventory and help AP departments pay out invoices while managing approvals and offering real-time reporting.
- Text Automation
Text automation allows you to text customers by scheduling your messages beforehand. Text message automation can support your customer service department, allowing you to troubleshoot issues, communicate with customers who have concerns, update appointments, and even make purchases. With text automation software, you can send and receive texts from your customers without using your cell phone. You can and should also use it for marketing purposes, including drip campaigns and text blasts to offer customers discounts, deals, and other incentives for making a purchase.
- Marketing Automation
Marketing automation software streamlines your entire marketing strategy by allowing you to schedule different aspects of your campaigns. This software eliminates the need for humans to perform repetitive and time-consuming marketing tasks like scheduling social media posts or sending out emails.
Automation software in the form of a full-service CRM goes even further, allowing you to segment your contacts, automate email campaigns and social media posts, and perform customer service.
- Lead Generation
Marketing is an important part of every business, but what do you do with the leads you get through your marketing efforts? Lead generation software takes your qualified leads and gives your sales team everything they need to move prospects along the funnel. With AI-powered tools, you can perform lead scoring, track progress, and develop lead nurturing campaigns to help walk customers through the sales process with as much or as little human interaction as you need.
- Project Management
With so much to do, it can be difficult to keep track of all your tasks. That’s where project management tools come in. Project management tools help teams stay on top of projects to meet deadlines and understand what they should be working on throughout the day. Project management software isn’t just a list of tasks, though. Instead, you can use it to set automatic updates and alerts to help you understand where different team members are in the project, including what’s been completed and what hasn’t been started, to give you valuable insights into timelines and tasks.
- Appointment Scheduling
How much time does it take to schedule a meeting? With multiple back-and-forth emails, texts, and calls just to find a time that works for both parties, appointment scheduling is time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. With appointment scheduling software, you can allow someone to schedule their own appointment based on your calendar availability and theirs, completely eliminating any back-and-forth communication just to set up a call.
Depending on your business, you may have different financial departments, including an accounting department, that must track expenses and understand budgeting. Accounting software makes it easy for you to track expenses by automatically marking payments as income or spending, based on your settings. Depending on how robust your software is, it may also automatically perform payroll or taxes, depending on your needs.
- Content Management
Content is an important part of your marketing strategy (or it should be). A content management system will help you organize and manage your content by hosting your website and different marketing materials. With a CMS, you can manage your website and effectively use it as a tool to attract customers. CMS software also has built-in automation tools for marketing, allowing you to set up campaigns and capture leads. For example, with CMS, you can build forms for use on your website. On the backend of the software, you can set up workflows. Then, once someone fills out a form, they’ll enter your workflow automatically to start a series of communications through email campaigns or calls from sales reps.
- Customer Service
Customer service automation tools allow you to deliver better customer service without the need for more staff. Automated platforms use a ticketing system that allows you to prioritize requests internally. However, you can also set up canned responses for frequently asked questions and other automation actions to help customer service reps respond to inquiries.
Data can help you make better decisions about every aspect of your business. With the right software, you can measure everything from your marketing campaigns to internal processes and employee engagement. Reporting and analytics software gives you the metrics you need to track and optimize your business, allowing you to use real insights to better inform important decisions.
Automate Your Small Business
Consider your current bottlenecks when looking for the right automation tools for your business. What areas do you want to streamline to improve your bottom line? The right automation tools can help free up your employees’ time, allowing them to focus on more important business initiatives.
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