December 22, 2015
It can be easy for small business owners to feel like they are married to their business, since keeping up with all the various tasks and responsibilities can add up to way more than a full time job. With that in mind, here are 10 things that you should definitely automate today so you can take back some of your precious time and spend it in other ways that might be more fun.
1. Data Backups
Backing up your data is critical, but it can be time consuming and it’s one of those tasks that can be easily forgotten. If you use a Cloud-based service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Carbonite, your files will automatically be backed up to the Cloud. And the best thing about Cloud services is that if your computers at the office get fried, hacked, or drown in a flood, all of your files will be safe and sound. You can access them from any computer with an internet connection.
2. Filling Out Online Forms
If you fill out a lot of forms online, it can get repetitive. It’s also a big time waster. Roboform is a software program that will help you out by automatically populating these forms for you.
3. Follow-Up Marketing Emails
A program like Infusionsoft can help make your email marketing so much easier. With a few steps, you can automate follow-ups for different email lists so you know that at any time you are always reaching your customers with the exact information that they need.
4. Customer Support Communications
If you are currently using email to handle all of your customer support issues, you are going to love the freedom that a program like Groove or Zapier can give you. They are simple but powerful help desk ticketing systems that can help you automate your customer support communications and save you hours of time each week.
5. Website Traffic Reports
Understanding your website traffic is one way that will help you learn what you need to do to keep it growing. Google Analytics is great, but it can be time consuming to have to sift through the mountains of data on a regular basis. Instead, you can do a one time setup of the key statistics you want and have those reports sent to you via email once a week automatically.
6. Recurring Invoices
When you tend to send the same invoice out to a client on a regular basis, it makes sense to automate your invoicing. Programs like Freshbooks and Xero are user friendly and help ease your accounting burden. They will even auto-generate email reminders when an invoice goes past due.
7. Appointment Scheduling
Trying to coordinate appointment schedules with one or more people can be a nightmare. With an application like ScheduleOnce you can connect your existing calendar and then invite anyone to go online and select an available appointment time of their choosing.
8. Social Media Updates
While there’s no substitute for engaging with your audience, many social media posts can be created ahead of time and scheduled to go out at times when you don’t plan to be on social media. Buffer and Hootsuite are two programs that are indispensable for the busy small business owner.
9. Responding to Emails
If you find that you often have to send out the same email responses, you can save yourself hours by setting up canned responses in Gmail.
10. Complaint Follow-Ups
Following up on complaints is something you don’t want to forget to do. Once you’ve resolved the situation with the customer, you can schedule an automatic email to go out through a service like Streak.
Once you automate these ten tasks, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ve given back to yourself. You might even feel inspired to go searching for more tasks to automate. You’ll never look at your small business the same way again.
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