4 Ways to Automate the Workplace
Small businesses and startups don’t often have the budget to hire large numbers of employees, so the majority of workloads tend to fall on one person’s shoulders. Fortunately, technology can help your out by doing a lot of tasks for you, especially those that are tedious or time-consuming and distract you from doing what you do best: running and growing the business.
Rather than run yourself into the ground, consider putting some of your office tasks on automation to save time, money, and your peace of mind.
Here are four ways to automate the workplace so you can concentrate on more important things:
1. Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a broad category that encompasses things like customer interactions, data, support, sales and more. CRM is the sort of thing that you could devote an entire team to managing—or you could automate the bulk of the work. Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM software companies out there, and for good reason: it’s the same quality platform whether you’re a small/medium business or an enterprise company.
Salesforce offers a mobile app, which in this day and age should be standard, in which users can update information—or familiarize themselves before meeting a client—while they’re out of the office. This CRM software also has a web-to-lead feature which you can integrate with your Contact Us page to automatically redirect the potential customer to a thank you or confirmation page, create a lead record, or email a personalized reply from a library of specific responses. Many other features and ease of use make this software both popular and high quality.
2. Invoicing and Paying Bills
Bill paying and invoicing should be one of the top tasks to automate as it’s minutiae like this that takes your time and attention away from the work that will help you grow your business. Hiveage is our own invoicing and billing software-as-a-service that lets you not only create estimates, but when it’s time to bill your clients, you can turn those estimates into invoices with one click. You can also set up automatic payment reminders and acknowledgements, manage multiple teams or businesses, and handle subscriptions and auto-billing.
What’s even better is that you’ll have an organized tool to help you manage profits and expenditures. Besides tracking your income with Hiveage, you can also track expenses and automatically generate a variety of useful reports, including income versus expenditure reports, invoice summaries, and more. With a user base that extends to over 140 countries, you can send invoices in various languages, and with a modular pricing plan, you can add the features that best suits your needs.
3. Project Management
When it comes to assigning tasks, email doesn’t always cut it. Automated task management through services like Wrike gives you a great way to make sure everyone is on the same page and up to date on what needs to be done. This software makes it easy to create and assign tasks to various team members, especially those that need to be taken care of on a daily or weekly basis. In addition to sending out tasks, you can track each individual employee’s progress and the progress of entire projects, giving feedback wherever it is needed.
4. Employee Scheduling
Not all small businesses operate on a 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday schedule. If you’ve ever spent hours shuffling names on a spreadsheet, trying to work around vacation requests and scheduling preferences, then you know that an automated scheduling system can save you lots of precious time. Fortunately, there are many options, including apps like When I Work and ZoomShift.
No matter what scheduling software you choose, the trick to using it wisely is to double-check the final schedule. Automated scheduling can sometimes take a toll on employee morale because it doesn’t always factor in regularity among schedules or adequate time off between shifts. Once your software generates a schedule, double check it to make sure that it fits everyone’s needs.
These five things will relieve a lot of the day-to-day burdens that you face. There are, however, many more ways to automate tasks around the office. Nowadays, everything from time tracking to data storage and management can be automated. As you find more ways to streamline your business, you’ll save more time and money.