When most people hear the word “automation,” they usually think of massive factories with robots building products. While this was true a couple of decades ago, artificial intelligence and machine learning have come a long way to disrupt industries.
Today, automation isn’t just about large corporations and robots. Automation software is multifaceted and is applied to various business models. From agriculture to banking to marketing, its application is vast and adapted to fit some specific business demands.
Small businesses leverage automation software to engage in repeatable tasks and processes with little to no human intervention. This approach helps small and medium enterprises leverage automation to increase efficiency and profits.
Some automation tools used by small businesses include the following:
- Accounting process automation
- Employee on-boarding
- Invoicing systems
- Inventory management
- Marketing and e-commerce automation
“Routine tasks currently done by managers will be fully automated by 2024, replacing almost 69% of the manager’s workload,” Gartner.
What’s Small Business Automation?
Small business automation is the use of software to create and implement repeatable instructions or processes that can be conducted with little human intervention.
With the right automation strategy, small businesses can optimise business processes, cut costs, minimise errors, and boost profits.
What Are the Key Benefits of Small Business Automation?
Business Process Automation (BPA) Helps Achieve Significant Cost Savings
When automation software takes over repeatable and time-intensive tasks, companies need fewer employees to achieve their objectives. This approach also frees up staff to engage in more meaningful work, enhancing employee satisfaction.
By automating and streamlining onboarding protocols, startups and small businesses also boost productivity quickly. As the software doesn’t fall sick, takes days off, or makes mistakes, enterprises save a significant amount of money while increasing profits.
It Helps Streamline and Enhance Collaboration
Team projects that demand the collaboration of several individuals can quickly become challenging to track and manage. However, with automation, even the most complex projects are tracked and executed seamlessly.
In this scenario, small business automation tools ensure the flow of information to the appropriate team member and deliver it at the right time. Once informed, team leaders and managers can monitor the responsibilities and progress through a single interface.
The primary benefit here is that automation helps all stakeholders stay up-to-date on the project’s real-time progress. It also ensures that staff doesn’t waste time working on completed tasks as everyone knows exactly what’s going on.
It Helps Optimise Remote Work
Small businesses, in particular, were hit hard by COVID-19 and experienced massive disruptions. Today, it’s safe to say that remote working has become the norm across industries (at least to a certain extent).
Automation has made adopting remote working more efficient and effective by automating workflows and processes. Automation also handles tasks like drafting and deploying contracts, enables rapid approvals from multiple colleagues for routine purchases, and works as a personal assistant.
It Helps Deliver Enhanced Customer Experiences
Customer service is critical to brand value and business relevance. Resource-intensive functions like sales, shipping, and post-sale follow-ups can be automated to deliver enhanced and consistent customer experiences.
Automation technologies like chatbots and data collection tools ensure that customers receive the correct answers to their questions on time without human interactions. This approach ensures that orders are placed quickly and seamlessly, improving end-user experiences.
When customers are happy with brand interactions, it’ll significantly impact sales, and of course, your bottom line.
It Helps Improve Marketing Strategies
With the help of data, automation tools are now leveraged to better align sales and marketing functions. In this scenario, marketing automation technologies will engage the target audience, track interactions, improve relationships (with personalised communications), and ultimately help close the deal.
Marketing automation tools are also deployed to engage in audience targeting, ad-buying, and email-marketing with little human intervention.
It Helps Ensure Compliance
Maintaining regulatory compliance is increasingly challenging for small businesses. For example, adhering to the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) often consumes a lot of time and resources.
Check out our very popular blog post on How to Build a GDPR Compliant Application!
It also requires compliance agents and professionals to oversee it. However, with automation tools, you can incorporate the regulatory framework into workflows and processes to ensure compliance every step of the way.
How Do You Automate a Small Business?
As you can see from the above, automation has a significant impact on cost savings and overall profitability. But is it right for your business?
To better understand if small business automation is right for you, you must first evaluate your business processes and needs. This approach will shed light on the operations that demand the most resources and time.
At this juncture, it’s crucial to take the time to analyse each process individually and ascertain if there’s room for improvement. Whenever enterprises do this, they minimise the risk of blowing their budget on expensive automation technologies that fail to solve all their business problems.
It’s vital to formulate a robust strategy before committing. By understanding what repetitive processes can be automated, and the benefits of doing it will help you choose the right automation software for your business.
If turn-key automation solutions don’t solve all your business needs, it’s best to go for a bespoke automation solution. While the initial investment may seem high in the beginning, your return on investment is significant and can’t be ignored.
To find out if bespoke business automation is right for you, schedule a commitment-free consultation with us!