Do you know the benefits of automation and want to save your time and money by eliminating human error? Learn 3 easy things to automate in your business today.
Anyone who regularly follows daily business news has probably heard more than enough about automation at this point. It’s still a hot topic in spite of all the buzz, but many people have the wrong idea about it. Robotic arms spray painting cars in factories is only one type of automation.
Software that streamlines business tasks and speeds up workflows is another facet of automation.
Our experts compiled a list of three things that every small business owner should automate in order to stay competitive. Best of all, you won’t have to invest a whole lot of money if you plan on rolling out software to tackle any of the following challenges.
This might be the easiest business chore to automate. You’re more than likely monitoring quite a bit of data when it comes to keeping your stock levels in check. A computer program could do this for you much more effectively than you can on your own. As a repetitive task, it’s a prime example of the sort of thing that AI does very well.
While automating your inventory management workflows won’t be completely free, there’s no reason it has to cost too much. Invest in a good inventory management software application and it should pay for itself in good time. Look for something from an independent developer.
These often give the best deals, and they’re usually quicker to adopt new technologies compared to the big players in the market.
For instance, consider the multi-channel order and inventory management services provided by the Emerge app. It offers a much wider variety of automation features than you’d find in a product developed by a more mainstream developer. It can even manage back-to-back orders and prepare a historical timeline, so you’ll be able to go back and check if there were any discrepancies.
Content Management System
Pundits often talk a big game about content management systems, but they seldom explain what they do. CMS software takes care of the creation and modification of digital content. Most packages handle the following tasks:
- Web publishing
- Format management
- Version control
- History editing
- Search & retrieval
Consider investing in a lightweight content management system that isn’t overloaded with interface widgets. You’re more than likely going to spend a lot of time working with text anyway, so you don’t want something that’s sacrificing performance for UI goodies.
Some programs like sNews have become quite popular because they’re built on such simple platforms.
Users of sNews have long praised the app’s ability to work with sites built on MySQL and PHP. It includes a .htaccess file that automatically makes URLs search engine friendly. If you’re not as familiar with database code, then there’s no better time to start learning a bit than now.
Customer Relationship Management
How many times have you fallen out of contact with a customer?
It’s so easy to lose touch, which means you’re probably losing sales in the process. CRM apps keep track of every customer you speak with, so you’ll always be free to recall them in the future.
Some fully automated CRM options take down customer contact details whenever certain criteria are met. You’ve probably noticed how most modern email and SMS apps populate their address book autonomously. In some cases, this is even annoying since they get overloaded if you tend to send out a ton of emails.
Modern CRM apps can import these lists and organize them without requiring you to do anything. That’s only the beginning of what this technology can do for your business. The most sophisticated CRM programs can automatically send out messages and correspond with clients for you. Best of all, you might not even have to spend anything on this form of automation.
Open source solutions are free, and you might be able to find one that satisfies your company’s needs without having to invest in anything. While it might take a little time to learn how to use them, there are plenty of resources out there.
Entire communities exist online that are dedicated purely to teaching people how to use certain apps. There are even free coding resources offered by these same organizations.
This gives you the freedom to write your own modules if you were interested in integrating your new CRM software with your existing site.
Keeping Your Eye Out for New Automation Solutions
While these three things constitute the low-hanging fruit for most small business owners, there are many other processes that you can automate. Once you have these down, you’ll want to start looking for other workflows to streamline.
Some people have started to manage most of their messages automatically. Technology has gotten to the point where it can answer many businesses queries a bit more like a human than it might have in the past.
In any case, though, keep an eye out for new solutions. Engineers are coming out with innovative apps on a daily basis.
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