Regardless of your niche and the size of your company, automating different aspects of your business can help you save time, money, and effort. It will ultimately make you more productive and give you a fighting chance even in the most competitive of industries. The only problem is that many small business owners shy away from automation for fear of its price and overall complexity.
The good news is that automation doesn’t always carry a hefty price tag, nor does it require much technical expertise – you just have to find the right tools that suit your needs.
Take a look below to learn what automation is, how it can help your business, and find the top ways to automate your business without spending a fortune.
What is automation
When most people hear “automation”, they think of robots at conveyor belts, massive 3D printers, or automatic assembling machines. While all these examples certainly fall into the “automation” category, they’re just one small aspect of it.
Automation refers to all the technologies that reduce or even eliminate the need for human intervention in different processes. Of course, that can mean automating the task of 3D printing a tool, for example, but it can also mean automating your email replies, learning from a Puppeteer tutorial to automate your web scraping efforts, or using a chatbot to answer your customers’ most frequent questions.
Benefits of automation
Considering that business process automation reduces the need for human intervention, it has a whole range of benefits you’ll enjoy:
- It takes over time-consuming and repetitive tasks;
- Frees up your employees, allowing them to focus on the core of your business;
- Reduces human error;
- Cuts costs;
- Improves efficiency;
- Boosts productivity;
- Standardizes your processes;
- Increases your scalability.
Automating processes can even help you boost morale and improve workplace satisfaction. You’ll get rid of dull, menial tasks and allow your employees to use their skills and talents daily.
Although some are worried about losing their jobs to automation, that’s rarely the case. It’s estimated that automation will create at least 12 million more jobs than it destroys.
Business process automation isn’t about replacing your employees – it’s about helping them reach their full potential by taking over some of their most time-consuming tasks.
4 ways to automate your business
Virtually every process that doesn’t require much creative input can be automated. However, if you’re on a budget, you’ll need to prioritize some processes over others.
Take a look at some of the best ways to automate your business without spending a fortune:
Stay on top of online communications with a chatbot
To improve customer satisfaction, you need to be responsive 24/7 and answer all their questions and queries almost instantaneously. Unless you want to invest millions in building a vast customer support team that can handle thousands of messages any time of day or night, you need a chatbot.
This tool, such as the one available from ChatBot.com, keeps you available on all platforms 24/7/365. It’s easy to create a customized bot, even if you have no programming knowledge whatsoever, and you’ll notice the benefits almost immediately.
Avoid constant back-and-forth with a scheduling software
Simple scheduling software such as Calendly can help you get rid of all the back-and-forth necessary when scheduling department-wide meetings, customer meet-ups, booking events, and more.
It boasts a wide array of automation features that will help you schedule and track events, projects, and more.
Perfect your social media presence with a social media management platform
Whether you’re running a small mom-and-pop store or a fortune 500, you need a solid social media presence if you’re to stay competitive. Of course, you can’t just create a business Facebook account and leave it at that. You need to stay active, post relevant content, invest in paid ads, and more.
SMM platforms, e.g., Hootsuite, can help you stay on top of your accounts and automate simple processes such as scheduling content, managing ads, monitoring market trends, and even analyzing your social media performance.
Use Puppeteer to automate web scraping
Most businesses need data to survive – customer data, competitor data, product pricing data. The easiest way to collect all this information is through web scraping.
Manually, web scraping can be a nightmare since you’d have to go through pages upon pages of online content, extract relevant information, enter the data into your preferred software, and more. Therefore, automating this process is a must.
API such as Puppeteer can assist your web scraping efforts and make handling vast amounts of data much easier. You do need some technical knowledge to use it, so make sure to go through a Puppeteer tutorial before you start relying on it. Go to a blog article by Oxylabs to learn the process step-by-step.
Automating various aspects of your business presents unique benefits, giving you a competitive edge and helping you boost productivity, efficiency, and even revenue. Stop avoiding automation – embrace its benefits and start using it to your advantage.