Running a small business takes a great deal of time. Even once entrepreneurs can begin building a staff, they need to be able to put as many resources as possible into their customers. Thanks to technology, however, some of the most arduous tasks can be automated.
And these tech tools allow business owners to actually operate longer without adding new employees. The cost savings involved means that not only can automation make you more productive, it can help you preserve more incoming revenue during those crucial early months.
Over the past six months, I've been working to automate a lot of insignificant tasks. These are the tasks that don't make me money but are crucial to my business running and growing the way that it should. I guess you could say that these are crucial tasks, yet they take up valuable time I don't have.
With so many tools available, though, it can sometimes seem difficult to choose only one. Here are a few of the top software selections I've found for helping grow my business and automating tasks I never thought was possible.
The foundation of any growing business is its sales efforts. Salesforce gives professionals the support they need to manage their calls and follow-ups, helping them identify leads and provide better customer service. Another great reason to have Salesforce in 2017 is that it integrates with so many applications, helping you automate many different tasks.
As you grow and add more solutions to your toolbox, you’ll be able to enjoy the convenience that comes from all of your software working together.
If you’re selling products online, BigCommerce is the type of ecommerce platform you’ll need. This cloud-based solution is only one-fourth the cost of on-premise solutions and its scalability will ensure it grows with you, as you attract more sales.
BigCommerce promises an average uptime of 99.99 percent, resulting in one of the best reliability rates in the industry. When you’re dealing with high-traffic days like Cyber Monday, it’s important to have a website host that can handle the increased demand.
Protecting against security breaches is crucial. Bitdefender is one of the highest-rated malware suites, making it a good choice for small businesses. In addition to protection for PCs, servers and websites, Bitdefender also has antivirus protection for mobile devices, to keep your tablets and smartphones safe.
Insightly provides a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) platform, along with numerous project management features.
These features empower your small business to become more efficient in how you collect data about your customers, reach out to them and align projects and tasks related to them.
Built for small business, this software provides you a way to deliver faster response times and a more personalized approach to all communications with customers and prospects. Insightly has helped me personally to automate a lot of my customer relationships. This helps me stay in contact with those customers at all times.
Every business occasionally needs legal help, but the hourly fees most attorneys charge are cost prohibitive for new businesses. LegalZoom gives members access to the forms and documents they’ll need to start and run a business without having to pay those costs.
If you need one-on-one legal advice, the site offers 30-minute consultations for a monthly fee. These have come in handy for me when I've needed "just a question or two" answered. You can use the consultation service for a month or two or have it as an ongoing subscription. Well worth it.
Teams are rarely in just one place anymore, making it difficult to work together on projects. As a result, collaboration tools have become a must for businesses of all sizes. Wrike is ideal for small businesses, letting you create a project and have everyone participate in, to ensure it stays on track.
Ever had the problem of sending out and getting back feedback on 10 meeting times that don't work?
With Calendly, this will never happen again. It lets you send a link to potential customers or contacts, so they can book a time that works best with their schedule. Best of all, it syncs to multiple calenders and won't double-book meetings on your schedule. The result is that booking your meetings becomes automated. And that literally saves me, personally, 30 minutes a day of wasted time booking meetings.
Customers often find information by inputting questions into search engines. Many businesses focus on SEO to ensure they show up as one of the answers to those questions, but they don’t put much effort into the customer journey.
AnswerThePublic takes search-engine marketing one step further, taking into account the motivations that power the search terms entered by a business’s target market.
Many small businesses run on cell phones, especially in the early days. But even as your business grows, you don’t have to employ a full-time receptionist to answer your phone. Ruby Receptionists equips your business with high-quality receptionists who will take calls and direct them to the appropriate phone.
Service is tailored to your individual preferences, to ensure your callers get the customer service you expect.
If you’re always on the go, chances are you don’t have time to constantly monitor social media for mentions of your brand. Mention monitors the internet and social media for keywords you stipulate and notifies you any time your brand is mentioned so that you can take action. This will help you reply quickly if a customer either complains or compliments your business.
Small businesses face daily demands on their time and energy. With the right solutions in place, they can automate some of those duties and keep their efforts where they need to be, in order to scale those businesses upward.