Automating your business – what you need to know

When it comes to growing your business, you need to start looking into innovative ways to free up your resources and save your money.

You don’t always need to do everything the way you’ve done it since the start, and a lot of your business’s tasks can be handled by other means. That means that you should be looking into methods like automation if you’re looking to grow as a business and become even more successful.

As a business owner, you should constantly be looking for new ways to improve your business, and the next step for most businesses is to automate. If you haven’t already, then you’re potentially wasting both your own and your employees’ time.

What is automating?

If you’re not familiar with the process of automating areas of your business, then there’s a chance you don’t know exactly what it means to automate your business. It’s not entirely having the business run itself, but it’s about making use of the resources available to you to minimize the interference from you and your employees as much as possible.

There are a lot of areas within a business that you could apply this to, and it’s important that you make the most of it when you have the chance to. It’s something you could benefit from as the leader, and make sure you’re not wasting anything you have to offer.

Who should be doing it?

Automation is something that can benefit nearly every business, so long as you actually have processes within your business that can be automated. With that said, the software that you would use to automate is quite an investment, and you would likely be paying with a subscription to cover your business. If your business is too small to justify such costs, you should wait until you’ve grown enough to need it.

Bigger businesses don’t need to be bothered with processes that can easily be done on repeat by applications and programs. If you spend an hour a day doing something that you don’t need to be doing, that’s 7 hours being wasted per week. That adds up, and it adds up for your employees too. If you’ve got the money, you should be investing in automation, so that you can save resources for more important tasks.

What are the benefits?

Productivity is something that every business can benefit from, and saving you and your employees from having to do the same repetitive and tedious tasks on a daily basis can help you significantly. You can focus on growing your business when your hands are freed up, and you won’t have to pay for said tasks to be completed by hand.

With automation, you also lower the risk for manually inputted mistakes, which makes your business more efficient as a whole. You won’t have to go over things to correct them, as they’ve been completed automatically. It’s not going to be complete without fault, but that depends on the systems you invest in.

What are the drawbacks?

If you’re using automation as a method of saving money for your business, then you might find that you don’t need all of the employees that you currently have. As a small business, automating can be quite difficult to figure out what use you have for everyone working for you, and you would have to make the decision between automation and your current employee. It’s possible that you can open up new roles due to your access to a lot more resources and time.

Five things you can automate in your business

So where could you apply automation within your business? What can and should be automated? Here are five things you can automate in your business.

1) Marketing

If you’re constantly having to analyse your own data to check whether or not your current marketing schemes have been beneficial for your business, you’re wasting time and resources. There are plenty of helpful applications out there that quickly and easily calculate the different margins of different schemes, making it easy for you to find out whether or not your marketing ideas were successful.

Some applications even allow you to check on things in real-time, which is great if you’re working on something that can be changed on the fly.

For example, if you’re trying to figure out whether or not your website is successful in keeping customers, then you could use automated systems to constantly analyse user activity. You can see where your website is failing, and get working on a fix as soon as possible.

2) Finance

If your business is going to be successful, then you need to know what exactly is going on with your incoming and outgoing money. If you aren’t paying close attention to each detail, then there’s going to be a high chance that you’re leaking money somewhere within the process. It’s not something you have to monitor tediously, and you can quickly keep track of it with the right support. 

A good automation system allows you to monitor actively how much you’re making, how much you’re spending, and keeps the information available for those who need it. It’s a sensitive area of any business, and automating such a process doesn’t have to remove all employee interference, and would be up to who is in charge.

You may also use this to handle employee monthly payments and vendor payments to make sure that no one is missed and that it’s not taking up anyone’s time. Once they’re in the system, it will require minimum attention from you to keep things going.

3) Supply

When you’re running a large business, keeping track of everything you need manually can set you back a lot of time. It’s a lot of work to manually log everything that you sell, which is why you should make sure you’ve implemented systems to ensure that everything that is sold is automatically logged.

This allows you to make purchases on more supplies exactly when you need them. You don’t have to worry about overstocking yourself, and you won’t run out of stock if you’re making sure things are ordered when needed.

Being understocked can cause a lot of trouble for a business, and you’ll want to go as long as you can without running out of stock. You won’t get any more sales, and there’s a chance that those customers won’t come back when you’ve got them in stock. Customers will either look elsewhere if they can’t wait, or change their mind on whether or not they need the said product. A lot of the time, marketing is only effective in the moment, and trends can run dry.

Automating your supply chain means that your business can be a lot more stable, and able to keep up with the current demand for your products. Trends in the market can often affect how much you sell, and you can’t always be ready to stock up on what’s needed manually.

4) Training

If you’re working with a large team, or multiple teams under you, it can be hard to keep everyone on the same page. When employees need training, getting them to where they need to be is important, and doing so can be made much easier with things like an LMS or learning management system. You might be wondering, what is an lms? It’s a system in which you can save the time of your HR department by getting everyone on the right track within the system.

Being able to easily manage who should be doing what when it comes to training means that your human resources team won’t be swamped with work when trying to get everyone trained, and there will be minimal complications when trying to cover a lot of employees at one time.

5) Customer service

A lot of the time when you buy something from a business over the internet, you receive an email confirming your order and thanking you for your patronage. This is something that every business can benefit from, as it helps the customers out a lot.

Customers like to know that their order has been received and that their money hasn’t just been lost to the void without reason. Sending out an automatic email can greatly improve your customer service, and allow you to be a lot more transparent with your customer without having to do anything yourself.

Automated emails are also a great form of marketing, too. If you’ve set up email marketing for your business, your customers could be receiving emails promoting your business and giving them the incentive to return and purchase more products from you over your competitors.

Periodically sending out discounts, or automatic reminders to people who have left products in their carts is a harmless and convenient way to remind your customers about their interest in your business.

There are lots of different tools out there for you to make use of, and a lot of them have different levels of intimacy required when it comes to helping to run your business. Systems like ERP might be favoured for those who still want to keep some employee contact with the work that’s being automated, as it’s highly customizable and modulate