So you have a small business, most likely a creative one meaning that your skills lie more in the products you’re producing rather than how to market them. But that’s okay! That’s why we’ve put together this article so that you can grasp a basic understanding of why automating your business is an amazing idea with some tips and tricks on how to do so.
We’ll Be Discussing:
- What Business Process Automation Is
- What Aspects Of Your Business You Can Automate
- The Benefits of Automating Your Business
6 KEY ADVANTAGES OF AUTOMATION FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
- Save Money
- Improve Productivity
- Improve Efficiency & Save Time
- Higher-Quality Of Work
- Increase Return On Investment
- Minimize Human Error
WHAT IS BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION
Essentially it’s using tools such as technology and software to take care of some of the repetitive tasks that need to be done when running a business but not necessarily needing to be done by you. The importance of business automation is immense because it allows you to focus on more important things that you and only you need to do such as, firing your pottery, painting your artwork, sourcing fabric for your fashion designs, photographing a client’s wedding, and so on.
WHAT ASPECTS OF YOUR BUSINESS CAN YOU AUTOMATE
Luckily, for small and big businesses alike, there are several aspects of your business that you can automate. The benefits of automation are great and by finding and using the right software for you, these aspects of your business can somewhat run themselves. The most important ones for a small business would be email automation and social media automation. There are others such as business process automation, including automating your invoices (so you don’t have to be constantly chasing your clients for your hard-earned money), inventory management and chatbots that act as your 24/7 automated customer service (so that you don’t have to be responding to all your customers all through the day and night). While these are all incredibly useful, we’re going to be focusing on email and social media automation.
If you’ve ever consumed any of our content across all of our social media, you’ll know that we are passionate about automating your email marketing, and for good reasons too! It’s not only simple and easy to set up, but it’s also extremely effective.
It’s been proven time and time again that having an email marketing strategy can boost your sales. It can be difficult to keep track of all your customers’ data and manually email each and every one of them who may be at different stages of their customer journey. That’s why it’s key to have process automation software allowing you to sit back and watch the $ roll in.
The beauty about the software that does this, such as one of our faves: ActiveCampaign, is that they allow you to split up your customers into different groups based on their age, demographic, gender and so on and the software sends out tailored emails that apply to their specific customer journey. This allows you to build a relationship and nurture your subscribers making it more likely for them to purchase from you over a competitor. For more detailed information about automating and creating an email marketing workflow check out the article we wrote!
Examples of different types of emails include a welcome email if a subscriber just signed up to your newsletter, a thank you email for downloading a free guide, a confirmation email if they just bought a product or a reminder email if they abandoned their cart. All of this can be done quickly, simply, without error and you don’t have to lift a finger (that is once you’ve set it all up in the first place). For a free trial, start your own automated email marketing journey with ActiveCampaign, and guess what? No credit card required!
SOCIAL MEDIA AUTOMATION
Having your social media automated is another amazing advantage to any business, especially a small business if you’re a one-woman-show. This allows you to organize your content (your posts and captions) and plan when and what platform you want it to be published to, then once you’ve set the date and time it will be posted automatically!
Oh no! It’s 5 pm and you need to post on Instagram but you’re stuck on the tube with no service? No worries.
Argh! Your main audience is on the other side of the world and you need to stay up until 3 am for it to be available to them but you eventually doze off and miss it?
Having a piece of automated software will take care of this for you. Set when and where you want it to go live and it will!
Having all your social media accounts in one place with your content calendar all mapped out will keep everything organized and ready for you to view. Not having to worry about each account’s login details or which post to upload where and at what time will honestly be a game-changer for you. We recommend using Planoly as you can have your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter accounts linked. You can sign up and use their free plan for as long as you want! Click the link here to create your own account so that you never miss posting content again!
Having these automated processes is going to make your life as a small business owner so much easier. There are loads more aspects that you can automate to make your creative business journey simpler so we recommend reading our guide 10 Business Tools to Help You Streamline Your Business, including other useful softwares, so be sure to check it out!
BENEFITS OF AUTOMATING YOUR BUSINESS
So, what are the benefits of automation in business? Well, for starters there are way more than just one. Bring on the automation advantages!
We know as well as anyone that as a small business, especially a start-up, you can’t be going around putting every single purchase you make onto your business expenses as there may not be much in the business account in the first place. Would automating your business and implementing process management save you money? Right now, no, it will cost you money, but in the long-term, it will save you big $. Bigger businesses can save money from automating tasks of theirs as it’s cheaper than hiring the woman-powered equivalent to do the job. As a small business, it still saves you money as it’s also cheaper to pay a monthly subscription for the tools than it is to hire someone to do the job for you, but you don’t see it as saving money at the beginning. It’s an investment, but a very important and useful one.
Having a project management system in place is no doubt going to increase your productivity. As mentioned before, the idea of these tools is to make sure that tasks that are tedious and time-consuming, but still very important, are getting done without you having to do much. Therefore, making your workday more productive by being able to focus on more important things and ignore the ones that are taken care of for you.
IMPROVE EFFICIENCY & SAVE TIME
Again, it’s a no-brainer that having management software built to do your repetitive tasks for you will save your time for other important things. Also improving your efficiency as these tasks are being done for you while you’re working on other important manual tasks at the same time. When comparing manual process vs automated process it’s clear that automated takes the cake as it’s double the work, with less labour needed.
HIGHER-QUALITY OF WORK
With any automation process in place, it gives you more time to focus on tasks that only you can do. Spending this extra time on your work means that the results of the work you are developing are of higher quality since you’re not rushing to get it done. This is so important, especially when it comes to working on your product. Whether that’s a piece of jewellery or clothing or editing photos from a shoot, you don’t want any of your work to be sloppy, let alone the work you’re trying to monetise. Value for money is big in today’s society and there’s most likely always going to be a cheaper version of your product somewhere, so you have to make sure the price point is worth it. Not having to focus on the repetitive tasks gives you that time to make your products amazing and worth how much you’re selling them for.
INCREASE RETURN ON INVESTMENT
By having an email automation system implemented you are no doubt going to have a high return on investment. Having an email marketing strategy is already well renowned for its high ROI so having it automated can’t make it worse. It may start off slow since you are adding the cost of the system’s subscription to your budget, however, not having a system in place would make your email marketing strategy a lot more difficult and slower which would most likely result in your subscribers unsubscribing. This in the long run would decrease your ROI so might as well bite the bullet, pay the subscription fee and reap the rewards and benefits of having the software do just about everything for you.
MINIMIZE HUMAN ERRORS
As it is with most technological advancements, having a machine do the work for you according to how it’s coded with strict embedded instructions, means that it’s highly unlikely to make any errors. If you were sending out all your emails one by one to all of your subscribers, mistakes would be bound to happen. You might send the wrong kind of email to the wrong person, get their names mixed up, or not even write their email address correctly. Of course, this would be something you could do properly if you were careful and took your time, but once you get to 1,000+ subscribers you can’t do all that work while also being efficient. You have to sacrifice something, whether that’s time, resulting in your other work to suffer, or your email marketing campaign, resulting in unsubscribers. So, better to let the automated process do the work 100% correct, 100% of the time.
All in all, the only downside to having your business automated in the sections that you can, is the fact that you have to shell out some money to do so. But honestly, the expense doesn’t amount to much and with the results that you receive, the process automation benefits outweigh the expenses making it priceless… maybe they should be charging more? But luckily they’re not! So get in on it and automate your business now! Once you realise all the things you can do to improve your company you won’t be able to even think about going back to doing everything manually.
If you want any more information about other business tools you can implement to streamline your business then download our FREE guide here!
We’ve got lots of other information available across all of our social platforms so feel free to have a look to see what else you can find out about making your creative business thrive! If you have any questions or queries you want us to take a look at then please don’t hesitate to contact us here, or message us on any of our socials.
We at CANDESCENT want to be there for you always!
Photo Credits: © Elina Sazonov / © Sasun Bughdaryan