It might be one of the oldest clichés in the book, but it still rings true: time is money!
And yet, despite phenomenal advances in technology, many businesses still waste untold amounts of time on the manual performance of tedious, lengthy tasks. The good news is that many of these workflows can now be automated – delivering enormous benefits to your business.
In this article, we’ll look at five tedious workflows which you may consider automating. We hope that it’ll help you boost your productivity and efficiency, and give you more time to focus on the stuff that really demands your attention!
1. Social Media
There’s little doubt that social media can be a highly useful tool for businesses…it can build your audience, boost your brand, and it’s a great way to develop and nurture highly engaged relationships with potential customers. That’s the good news!
The bad news is that it can also quickly become a bottomless pit from a time management perspective. Finding relevant content to post, allocating time to post it out, and monitoring for replies, comments and messages can all be time-consuming tasks.
Now, while there’s no substitute for the ‘personal approach,’ there are automation tools available that can really take the sting out of social. By automating and batch-processing some of the more time-consuming aspects of social, you can deliver a great social offering with no more than 10 minutes a day of on-social time.
You can use platforms like SproutSocial to find content using RSS feeds, and then schedule that content out for specific times. There are also intuitive tools available which can identify the best time to push content to your followers, and then do this automatically on your behalf – check out Buffer and Social Oomph.
Whether you pay your employees weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, payroll is an unavoidable task that eats up time on a regular basis. A study by Iris Software and Services suggests that, by automating the payroll process, a business with 50 employees could save nearly 8 hours each month – freeing up 13.5 days per year to focus on other tasks
As well as making the task that much quicker and more efficient, automation can remove the possibility of human error, making things easier for everybody involved.
3. Signature Collection
We all know how important it is to get signatures on your documents – the quicker you can get those agreements signed, sealed and delivered, the more efficiently your business will run. Once upon a time, there was no real alternative to the painstaking process of printing and mailing paper forms out to co-signors, then waiting for them to reply. Today, there is an alternative. eSignatures carry the same legal weight as written ones, and the whole process takes a matter of minutes and hours rather than the days, weeks and even months you’d waste with paper.
The key here is to find an eSignature platform that suits your needs. We’re proud to say that 60% of the Fortune 500 and over 100,000 small businesses use SignNow to collect signatures digitally. Our intuitive platform allows you to collect signatures by email, across multiple devices. Find out more about our features and pricing.
4. Project Management – Communication and Collaboration
There have never been so many different ways in which we can communicate with our colleagues and co-workers – and yet getting people to actually communicate and work together is one of the most frequent challenges faced by businesses. All too often, people choose to communicate in their own way via emails and private to-do lists – which give management and colleagues little idea as to how projects are progressing, and badly hurt collaboration.
Internal communications are definitely an area that can be streamlined and improved by automation. Choosing the right software can help encourage strong communication and collaboration in your teams, unlocking a multitude of benefits. Tools like Asana, Do and Trello come highly recommended, as do platforms like Basecamp and Mavenlink if you also need to communicate with customers in the same space.
5. Email Marketing and CRM
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one of the most important parts of business success in today’s modern world, and it’s vitally important to maintain those relationships with regular, timely and relevant communications.
Auto responders can be a great way to manage your customer relationships for maximum ROI. These are essentially automatic emails which you can send to different sections of your database at various points in the sales cycle. With minimal work on your end, you can ensure a regular stream of relevant messages designed to nurture leads and close sales.
There are plenty of email marketing solutions out there, but MailChimp is perhaps the most popular.
Automate and Win!
We hope this article gave you some useful ideas to help you automate some of the more tedious and laborious processes you face in your business. One of the best things about the technological developments of recent years is that they give us unprecedented scope to take these time-consuming tasks off our desk, saving time and money to let us concentrate on the things that really require our attention. Good luck!