Automation can lead to the benefits every small business owner desires: increased productivity, shorter work weeks, and of course, more profits. With the advancement of technology, there are many opportunities for automation within a business. What areas of business are most beneficial to automate first?
We asked business owners and technology professionals about the areas of their business that they are automating. From customer management software to touch-free toilets, the list of areas to automate holds a lot of potential opportunities.
Here are a few areas to consider automating within your own business.
At European Denture Center, scheduling for people’s first appointment is completely automated. It allows us to quickly capture contact information and get people on our schedule as soon as possible. We are able to see patients faster and attend to their needs in a more timely manner than if everything had to be done over the phone or in person. When deciding what area of business to automate, consider your customers and figure out how to automate your business to best serve their needs.
Henry Babichenko, DD, European Denture Center
We are constantly meeting with clients and analyzing their cases together. In our overscheduled world, sometimes clients need reminders about appointments — and reminders of reminders, too! Forgotten appointments translate to wasted time and money for everyone. While you’re responsible for scheduling appointments, software can handle things from there.
With automation software, clients can receive appointment reminders via email after obtaining the client’s name, email address, and appointment date and time. As simple as that!
Hunter Garnett, Warren and Simpson
When identifying what activities to automate, it is important to first figure out what your greatest bottlenecks are. Once you’ve pinpointed these bottlenecks, ask yourself if that process can be automated in any way. Even if it is just one or two steps, it can make a huge difference for your company.
Brad Sacks, More Than Gourmet
With health and safety top of mind in today’s environment, it is important to consider how automation can help keep your employees and their families safe. At my company, we specialize in automated restroom supplies that allow people to avoid frequently touched surfaces like toilets and sinks which helps keep them safe!
Elliot Greenberg, Touchfree Concepts
If you find yourself copying and pasting customer information from a spreadsheet into a marketing CRM, then one area to automate is list management. The contact form of a website should sync with a sales CRM, which should sync with a marketing CRM. For example, our Contact Form 7 WordPress is synced to Pipedrive, our sales CRM, which is integrated with Mailchimp, our email marketing platform. Mailchimp is integrated with our Facebook Ads Manager, which can help drive traffic back to the website. The bottom line is that having all systems speaking with each other is critical to marketing success and timely sales opportunities. Sync your systems, and never again copy and paste from a spreadsheet.
Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
Research is one area of a business that consumes a lot of time and can also be a costly undertaking. Software can help you automate tasks such as data analysis and integrate the results with minimal risks. Tools such as Google alerts help you stay on top of trends by keeping track of mentions in real-time so you don't have to keep searching for information.
Gresham Harkless Jr., CEO Blog Nation
Areas Without the Presence of Critical Thought
The areas of business that are most beneficial to automate first are the areas that require a consistent outcome without the presence of critical thought. For instance, there is no reason for a person to manually run reports every week if the format of the report does not change and all that is required is satisfying the same inputs. A close friend of mine reduced his entire data entry job down to 20 minutes of initiating automated tasks and then went on to automate two other positions. As you can imagine, this was a huge cost saving to the organization!
Lukas Ruebbelke, Briebug
Highly Routine Activities
I recommend automating business activities based on two criteria. First, look for business activities that are highly routine and function based on rules (e.g., creation of invoices, filing expense receipts to your accounting system). Such activities are generally easy to automate. Second, apply automation to your highest value business functions like sales and marketing. Automating sales and marketing tasks has been the biggest win in my business.
Bruce Harpham, Technology Marketing Consultant
Abandoned Cart Automation
I would definitely prioritize abandoned cart automation. There’s nothing worse than guiding a customer through multiple steps of the sales or marketing funnel to find that they backed out at the very last minute. It’s a waste of time, budget, resources, and more. One way that you can combat that is to set up an abandoned cart email or SMS reminders. Sure, they won’t convince every prospective customer to pull the trigger and buy after abandoning, but these reminders can still be effective when set up correctly.
Liam Quinn, Reach interactive