It’s 2020, and there’s not much to talk about automation. More than 90% of businesses are using automation technology in some form or the other.
The topic of concern, however, is that 10% of businesses still rely on manual operations. A rough backward estimation suggested that there are around 295 million businesses globally, 10% of which is 29.5 million businesses. And if you’re one of them, this article is for you.
The opportunities for business automation are endless. You can begin with the absolute necessities like implementing billing and invoicing software. Or, you can take bigger steps and automate your sales and marketing departments.
That said, let’s take a look at seven essential tasks every business should automate.
Automate These 7 Tasks And Save Your Business Hours
Reporting is an excellent opportunity for automation, yet very few businesses realize it. Most small businesses still rely on manual reporting. This includes maintaining cumbersome spreadsheets to track and manage employee data, sales, revenue, and more.
Manual reporting is time-consuming and prone to errors. Therefore, automated reporting is a necessity for every business.
Automating your reporting ensures data accuracy. And with 90% of business spreadsheets containing data errors, data accuracy is something businesses need to work on.
In addition, automated reporting also saves time, allowing your employees to focus their time on more productive tasks.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tasks
The dynamics of business are changing. A market that once used to be company or product-centric is now becoming customer-oriented. Hence, companies need to prioritize their customers and work towards improving their experience.
And many businesses are investing efforts in nurturing customer relationships. The problem is that they’re spending way too much time and resources.
Although CRM is crucial, it doesn’t necessarily have to be time-consuming. Modern CRM solutions provide automation features that help you entirely automate your customer management tasks. Moreover, most CRMs integrate with other enterprise tools to improve the performance and efficiency of your sales and marketing team.
3. Accounting & Invoicing
Accurate and timely accounting and invoicing are critical to the efficient functioning of an organization. However, it’s recurring, cumbersome, and time-consuming. A survey from Score.org suggested that more than 40% of small businesses spend 80+ hours/year on accounting and invoicing.
But despite spending close to a week of work time, small businesses struggle to receive payments on time. Research from Due indicated that more than 37% of invoices are paid after 30 days. Besides, manual accounting is prone to human error, which can hurt your company’s revenue and reputation.
Billing and invoicing software for businesses, like Moon Invoice, can help you overcome this hurdle. Invoicing solutions automate a wide range of bookkeeping tasks like sending invoices, payment reminders, recurring invoices, and tax filing.
Therefore, the work that normally takes more than 80 hours per year can be reduced to a few minutes. In addition to speeding up your bookkeeping process, invoicing software can also increase the accuracy of your books. With an accounting and invoicing solution, you can create online invoices and put your business on auto-pilot mode.
4. Automated Forms
Hopefully, you’re using forms on your website to connect with prospective clients and customers. It’s worth mentioning, as many business websites rely on a contact email address instead of a form. This practice has a lot of drawbacks, but that’s a talk for some other day.
As of 2020, 74% of companies use web forms for lead generation. However, only a handful of businesses have automated their web forms.
Let’s consider a quick scenario to help you realize the importance of automated forms. Let’s say; a prospect lands on your website. He checks out your services. And bingo! You generate curiosity. The prospect wants to know more about your product or service. So, he heads to your Contact page and fills up the contact form.
If you have a manual process in place, this is what’ll happen. Someone in your company will receive an email as the prospect submits the query. Now, the recipient will check the email, create a new lead in the CRM, and notify the sales team. The sales team will then follow-up with the prospect.
In the case of automated forms, this entire process happens instantaneously. As soon as the prospect submits the form, the data is sent to your CRM. The CRM will then automatically create a lead and assign it to the sales department.
Automated forms eliminate the need for manual data entry and speed up the follow-up process, which increases your chances of landing the client.
5. Shipping & Inventory Management
If you’re a product-based business, shipping & inventory is one of the essential areas to automate. When you handle inventory and shipping manually, you’ve to rely on the available workforce. If there’s a sudden surge in demand, your selling capacity will be limited to the number of employees you have.
By automating this process, you can sell more products without expanding your workforce. Additionally, it also reduces shipping errors and allows you to offer better customer service.
6. Email & Text Responses
Businesses typically receive thousands of emails and text queries per day. Many small businesses, and some enterprises, too, employ a team to respond to these queries.
This process is time-consuming and unproductive. You can save so much time by using email and text automation.
Auto-responses to messages and queries can dramatically improve your customer service. Take, for example, chatbots. 37% of people prefer using customer service bots over human customer representatives.
Besides, you can use automatic responses to distribute alerts, nurture prospects, and send reminders.
Payroll management is one of the most tedious HR tasks. In some companies, payroll-associated tasks may consume more than 36 hours per week. Luckily, payroll can be easily automated.
Various online payroll platforms are available that allow you to fully automate your payroll process. These solutions also help you overcome tax-related and other regulatory issues. And with compliance issues being one of the biggest nightmares for HR departments, automating payroll and HR operations is crucial for every business.
There are endless opportunities when it comes to automation. And as a small business, the concept of automation can be overwhelming.
The key is to take small steps. Implement solutions like billing and invoicing software for businesses to automate essential tasks like billing and invoicing. Once you’re comfortable with the new technology, start exploring more options.
Also, don’t forget to check out Moon Invoice for seamless accounting and invoicing automation.