Your time is valuable. There’s a reason why the saying is “time is money.” As someone who works or runs a small to medium business, you probably don’t have much of it to spare. You are doing the job of several people to cut down on costs, and every second you spend doing something that you could automate is a second you could spend growing your business.
Automation is a key to finding more time for your business, and maybe even more time for yourself. It can simplify your business processes, and prevent delays from data-entry, and information gaps in some cases. Simply put, automation tools can help you run your business better and more efficiently. Yes, you will have to invest to take advantage, but in the end, you will find that saving time and running your business better will make it more than worth it. Here are some automation tools that every SMB should use.
It might not seem like it at first glance, but accounting is one part of your business that is ripe for automation. It can save you a lot of time, because accounting processes can be time-consuming and are mostly busy work. You also need to be very accurate with everything you enter, since any mistakes can lead to headaches down the line.
You should have a robust accounting software that handles everything you need. However, on top of that, you can also integrate your accounting software with an automated accounts payable solution. It will take incoming invoices and make sure that they are scanned and paid promptly. All of the vendor and transaction data will automatically go into your accounting software, and you can set it for prior approvals. There’s no waiting for signatures or any human factor at all. This will save you time, avoid missing payment deadlines, and help you take advantage of any early payment offers from your vendors. On top of that, by using automation you will be able to enjoy a completely paperless AP process. This is just one way to easily automate an accounting process, and there are many others out there.
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The last thing you want as an SMB is to miss out on any leads. It can easily happen when time is short, you are swamped, and your inbox is overflowing. You need to be able to respond quickly, and in a way that does not seem automated or robotic. You want your customers and potential customers to feel like they are valued and being treated as individuals, as opposed to dollar signs.
A software like Constant Contact can help you with this. When you get a new subscriber to your site, or to your newsletter, it will automatically send out an email to them. Not only that, but depending on what a user does, it will send a different email. It can also follow up and even answer questions in certain situations.
You can spend some time up-front crafting custom emails that will be sent according to the actions of the subscriber, but after that you won’t have to lift a finger. The interface on constant contact involves drag and drop so you hardly have to be a graphic designer to create catchy and engaging marketing emails. You never have to lose a lead again because it was lost in your inbox.
There’s no doubt that digital marketing is more important than ever. It’s a cost-effective way for SMBs to get their brands out there and interact with their customers and prospects. However, like most other things, it can be fitting, and it can be hard to keep up with a daily posting schedule when there are so many other things on your plate. However, there are tools out there to help you automate some of your social media so that you reap the benefits in less time and with less effort.
HootSuite allows you to manage all of your social media channels in one place. You can schedule all of your posts so that you will have cohesion amongst the platforms for your campaigns. It also provides you with robust analytics so you can have all of the data you need to measure the success of your social media efforts.
Payroll is another business function that must be done efficiently, and it must be done correctly. Doing payroll not only takes up a lot of your time from checking hours, and making sure that everyone gets paid correctly, but it can also take even more time if there is a mistake. On top of that, there is always the risk of staff morale issues if there are consistent errors. Align with regular pay periods, you must also keep on top of adding and subtracting people from your rolls.
APS Payroll is a comprehensive payroll software solution that will automate most of the tasks that take up your time. It can automatically onboard a new hire, remove old ones, collect and verify hours, and much more. All of your HR functions can be handled by one service. This includes setting up interviews for the recruitment process, administering your benefits, and complying with the ACA. When it comes to making sure that everyone gets paid correctly and on time, you can rest easy knowing it will be taken care of. Your staff will thank you.
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If your business is like most others, you spend a lot of time preparing, sharing, and sending out documents. These documents can include things like invoices, sales content, contracts and legal documents, and in-house policy documents, for example. You certainly don’t want to reinvent the wheel every time you have to produce one of them.
With a document management system like DocuWare, you can create custom forms so you always have your needed documents at hand. All you have to do is tweak them for your specific situation, and you are ready to go. It also offers cloud storage and signature capabilities, so sharing and getting approvals is a snap. There’s no need to save, email, re-save, and make sure you have the most updated versions. With a document management system, they are always the most recent version, and they are always at your fingertips.
There’s no need to spend a lot of time on things that can easily be automated. By investing in solutions like these, you can save yourself the time, effort, and hassle that comes with manual business processes. Spend your time wisely, and automate with these tools.