In today's world, automating certain parts of your growing small business is essential. Even if you're not technically minded, these tips and tricks can really help you level up your business so that you can spend more time focusing on what matters. Below, we'll share a few ways that we automate our businesses, and how you can, too!
What is business process automation?
Business process automation (BPA) is a technology that uses software to automate routine tasks and processes. It enables organizations to streamline their operations, reduce costs, and increase productivity by carrying out activities faster than manual labor or using existing systems. BPA can be used for numerous tasks, ranging from data entry to complex logistics operations. It also helps ensure consistency and accuracy while providing scalability as well as eliminating mistakes caused by human error.
What are the benefits of business process automation?
Business process automation (BPA) offers many benefits to organizations who choose to utilize it. By automating routine tasks and processes, businesses can save time and money while also eliminating errors caused by manual labor. Automation also ensures consistency by allowing businesses to adhere to predetermined standards and regulations more efficiently, with better accuracy and control over how tasks are performed. Additionally, BPA makes scaling operations easier, reduces risk associated with human error, and provides improved customer service by increasing productivity rates.
But there are risks, too. If the automation tools fail at your repetitive tasks, it still requires you to notice and fix those business processes before they cause problems. So automate business processes with caution, and never automate anything critical that you're not watching closely.
Ok, but I just have a small business. How can I use business process automation tools?
Small businesses can benefit greatly from business process automation (BPA) tools. These tools allow for more efficient and cost-effective operations, allowing small businesses to compete with larger organizations. Small businesses can use BPA to automate data entry, sales forecasting, customer management and invoicing processes. Additionally, automated workflows can be used to streamline communication between departments and employees for improved efficiency. With the right implementation strategy and the right tools in place, small businesses can take advantage of the same benefits as their larger competitors.
Let's get specific. It's fine to talk about how ‘a' business owner ‘might' use BPA, but what does it actually look like for you?
Repetitive tasks: Improving mock up photos with automation software
As a sticker seller, one of your biggest time consuming tasks is creating product photos. You're creating 5-10 photos per design, and each design may only net you $0.30 per sale. This is a great place to introduce automated processes.
So I don't use a fully automated process for mockup photos, but I DO use a pretty extensive mockup template in Affinity Publisher. I import one design, and it exports 33 mock up images for me: for pins, stickers, and magnets. The entire process takes about five minutes.
It can't be a fully automated process because I need to position the design correctly and do a few tweaks to each. But my Affinity Publisher template is a huge timesaver for automating business processes in my own design hub, Nonbeenary Designs.
Repetitive task management: Post notifications
This is probably the oldest technique in the book. But if you regularly make blog posts or post new products on Etsy, you need to consider automation software for post notifications. You need to be able to automate these posts, or you're losing out on potential sales across your social media.
There are loads of business process management software options for this task, but I like to use IFTTT for this business automation. You simply hook up your social media platforms, grab your data source (RSS Feed URLs) and then let the magic happen. My IFTTT account currently posts these types of notifications to:
Instagram and TikTok, unfortunately, are tricky to automate. But automation software works great for anything that is text based for your small business.
Google Analytics for automating business processes
Google Analytics is a great tool for automating business processes. It provides powerful insights into website activity, giving businesses the ability to identify areas of improvement and measure the effectiveness of their online marketing efforts. Through automated tracking and reporting, businesses can gain valuable insight into user behavior and better understand customer preferences.
Furthermore, Google Analytics offers real-time analysis which allows businesses to quickly analyze large amounts of data and make more informed decisions about how to improve efficiency and increase profits. Businesses can also integrate their own custom analytics tools with Google Analytics for even greater automation capabilities.
The best part is a toss up. Either it's that Google Analytics is a free automation software for analytics. Or, it's that the default reports are great and can show you where your business is succeeding – and failing. Trust me, following the data is so much better than guessing.
MailPoet For WordPress – Email marketing automation software
MailPoet For WordPress is a powerful email marketing automation software solution. It is designed to make it easier and more efficient for businesses to create and manage email campaigns. With MailPoet, businesses can schedule emails, build automated workflows, personalize content, segment their subscribers, and track performance metrics in real-time.
Additionally, it is integrated with popular WordPress plugins like WooCommerce so businesses can have an easy way to send product related updates and promotional offers.
MailPoet is free and has a reasonably priced Growth plan if you've got a lot of subscribers (>1000). Business leaders who rely on WordPress LOVE MailPoet.
I particularly love the post notifications tool. I can schedule monthly, weekly, or instant post notifications. I don't dread “writing” newsletters anymore because it isn't in my manual tasks list. My website just takes care of it.
Sales automation for small business owners
Small business owners can use sales automation to simplify their processes and save time. Automation tools allow businesses to streamline customer service operations such as quickly responding to inquiries, processing orders, and collecting payments.
They can also provide insight into customer behaviour which helps inform marketing efforts. Additionally, automation reduces the need for manual data entry which makes it easier to track leads, measure performance, and identify areas of improvement. Automation technology is becoming increasingly important for small businesses in order to remain competitive and stay ahead of their larger competitors.
You'll see small business automation in sales in multiple tasks, including:
- Abandoned cart notification
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Monitor processes for sales team
- Inventory management
- Automated drip emails for an upgraded sales process
- Lead generation
- Integrating customer data into personalized emails
- Eliminating other tedious tasks
- Employee onboarding
- Create standard operating procedures (and enforce them)
Basically, all the tasks that used to require human intervention for silly reasons are now able to be automated. Any small business owner can adopt these tactics and cut down the stress of task management. When you're only working on the weekends, you NEED to automate repetitive tasks if you're going to get anything done.
How do you automate business processes? Let us know in the comments! And if you want to build your sticker business automation right the first time, consider joining the waitlist for the Sticker Academy. Industry and business leaders are coming together to teach you the best in sticker business. Don't miss out on this digital transformation!