May 26, 2017
The idea that automation – programming machines and software to operate automatically based on a set of inputs and conditions – would play a major role in everyday business functions was unfathomable a decade ago. Today, everything from marketing campaigns to employee onboarding can be automated, save time, and reduce the need for human supervision and monitoring.
Automation, particularly AI-based programs, can require a significant upfront investment, and it’s unwise to try to automate every single one of your processes. However, a strategic and well-considered plan for automating certain operations can free up valuable time and resources so you can focus on bigger, better things.
We asked 15 entrepreneurs from YEC to share one aspect of their business they’ve automated effectively, and why you should consider it, too.
I use chatbot technology driven by AI mechanisms that confirm my appointments. The chatbot recognizes what’s on my calendar and adds and confirms appointments that come in on my email and messenger service. It also sends me reminders about what has been added. It’s a game changer for how my time is used.
– Murray Newlands of Sighted
There’s a misconception that you need to be intimately involved with the ins and outs of your various marketing campaigns. I think a lot of people would be shocked to find out that most of our marketing is automated. If you visit a landing page or our various social media platforms, we utilize analytics that allow us to automate the process of appealing to our customers.
– Cody McLain of SupportNinja
Reports are such a time killer. I hate running reports, as it takes time to pull data from so many sources. We have automated reporting from every marketing channel so our meetings are more productive than ever. Now we spend our time making the numbers, not reporting on the numbers.
– Solomon Thimothy of OneIMS
Before HR automation, we had such a paperwork disaster! Right now from the initial interview, the prospect employee fills out his documentation from an iPad. Once a person is hired, he or she automatically receives NDAs, manuals, employment agreements, and all legal documents via email. We then see how many times the email was opened, and the new hire signs electronically – all from the click of one button.
– Raymond Kishk of Interstate Air Conditioning & Heating
New Employee Training
At Kvantum, we have an orientation program that spans through the week, but team-specific onboarding generally goes on up to a month, depending on the team. Many new hires ask the same questions to team members despite us documenting most of it. A knowledge bot helps us provide knowledge in a one-on-one setting to keep the new hire engaged.
– Shilpi Sharma of Kvantum Inc.
We use EchoSign to automate our new client and employee contracts. EchoSign automatically follows up if a contract hasn’t yet been signed, emails us when it’s been signed, and files them so we can easily access them when we need to.
– Leila Lewis of Be Inspired PR
We use Hubspot’s meeting tool to integrate our calendar’s into the sales process. A lead can immediately book a meeting without going back and forth trying to coordinate schedules. Next we use marketing automation to push the lead through a qualification questionnaire. This allows us to book meetings and qualify the leads before we spend a minute of time on the opportunity.
– Nick Chasinov of Teknicks
It blows my mind how much time people spend taking one piece of content and turning it into 10 pieces of content to be distributed across all networks. This is usually done manually or even with some loose operating procedures, taking hours to complete. We created our own software that seamlessly turns video content into everything we need, massively lowering the time required to distribute.
– Carter Thomas of Bluecloud Solutions
Everybody uses email – and everybody should use email rules to help them prioritize their time. Twenty minutes spent thinking through how you can prioritize your incoming email will change your life. Known time waster? Create a rule to send them to the “check monthly” folder. Key client? Make sure it shows up in “Urgent.” A dozen well-considered rules will help reclaim your inbox.
– Richard Kershaw of WhoIsHostingThis.com
Customer Ordering Platforms
We have integrated our order processing system with that of our customers. With this, as soon as an order is created by them, it is added to our system. Our customers value this increased efficiency as well as loyalty. Also, it reduces any human errors on our side and allows us to get our orders out faster.
– Diego Orjuela of Cables & Sensors
Office Management And Supply Ordering
We manage many of our company’s office supply orders though a group chatbot called Kip. It will ask employees to submit item requests and pool answers so you don’t have to ask everyone individually. It allows the manager to set team budgets and review all final orders. It also takes over that annoying daily routine of collecting lunch orders from colleagues and simplifies it.
– Adelyn Zhou of TOPBOTS
Daily Task Scheduling
I time-block tasks to ensure I’ve got enough time to get key project work done. I’ve automated the connection between my task list in Asana and my calendar in Google using Zapier. Now, when I tag a task that I’m planning to work on this day or week, it generates an event on my calendar which I can easily modify. Critical tasks are on my calendar and I’ve allotted time to get them done.
– Mamie Kanfer Stewart of Meeteor
Slogging through resumes is frustrating and time-consuming. An easy way to pre-screen applicants is to put a line of text in the job posting asking them to include a specific keyword in the subject of their application. Set up an email filter to trash anyone who fails to follow your directions. Voilà! You’ve now removed everyone with poor attention to detail or those who didn’t read the posting.
– Kyle Goguen of Pawstruck
We use X.ai to schedule all of our meetings. It cuts down on the amount of back and forth emails, especially with a group to schedule meetings, conference calls etc.
– Chris Van Dusen of Parcon Media
When a customer submits their product, there are 31 Zapier automations that are triggered, from notifying the appropriate people, to moving content to our CRM and project management service, to auto-assigning tasks with dates to moving content automatically on our platform. It’s definitely efficient and saves us 383 hours of work every month.
– Evan Varsamis of Gadget Flow
Read about more ways to be productive at work at Tech.Co
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