How to put your small business on auto-pilot

Because no business owner enjoys tedious tasks

There is no denying it. We live in the “let’s find a way to automate that” era. And while automation is not the answer to everything, it certainly makes a strong argument.  We see streamlined operations and greater output everywhere we look, and many times – those businesses have some form of automation to thank. The thing is, it’s not just manufacturers and the high-tech industry that are taking advantage. 

Automation doesn’t have to be daunting

Businesses in every industry are taking advantage of automation. But before your heart rate climbs just thinking about the downloads and user names necessary for your small business to make this sort of change, read on to learn a few simple ways to bring automation to your day-to-day operations.

Project management, email, and social media area three essential functions you can automate (to an extent) to save more time for the bigger picture.

Make Time  for Personal Engagement with Customers

One major advantage small businesses have over big business is their connection to their customers. It’s all about loyalty programs and rewards. Small businesses are poised to excel in this arena. If you can figure out a way to automate time-consuming tasks, you can focus on building those critical relationships with customers.

The U.S. is home to roughly 30 million small businesses comprised of almost 60 million small business employees. Think about what those 60 million employees could do if automation eliminated more tedious and time-consuming tasks and opened up time for personalizing the experience for customers?

There are many free and simple small business automation solutions for customer management. One favorite is HubSpot CRM. With HubSpot CRM you can track interactions with customers and view your activity all in one place! No longer will you need to search through emails and scattered scraps of paper. This free solution comes with up to 1,000,000 contacts so you can stay organized freeing up time for personal engagement.

No time to save time? Save money!

Members of North America’s largest industry associations, franchises, and cooperatives have partnered with Savings4Members to give member businesses like yours an edge.

Are you a member? Talk to your Savings Team today to learn how you can save time and money with your member benefits

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Automate Your Social Media & Online Presence

In 2019, the average internet user spends 2:22 on social media each day. That’s not a typo, that’s two hours and twenty two minutes! Social media relevance is only increasing, whether we like it or not and your small business needs to build your online presence through frequent posts on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your company blog.

According to Hubspot, 63% of CEO’s/Owners spend 1-5 hours per week on social media although 30% would prefer less. If that sounds like you, automation could be the answer

Staying top of mind is essential, but it can take a lot of time. Social media automation tools prevent you from getting stuck in the social-media weeds. 

55% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. (HubSpot, 2018

Marketing experts in both the B2C and B2B worlds agree that creating and sharing helpful content is essential for creating new business. But where does the time come from? Enter Hootsuite. Hootsuite consolidates your social media accounts into one easy-to-use dashboard allowing business owners to write content, plan posts, and move on. The automatic system does the posting for you, freeing up time for the business owner. They even have a free version aimed at small business owners.   

As for content generation, reexamine your strategy. According to Hubspot, 55% of small businesses have a blog and 16% spend over 3 hours to create each post. When you have a business to manage and a life outside of work, don’t spend 3 hours writing a blog post, ever! Find an employee interested in writing blog posts or ask a customer to write a guest blog post. You need to make smart decisions when it comes to time input vs. substantial output, and sometimes – getting creative can have the best result (and even the least amount of time required).

How to Make Your Project Management Tool Work For You

You may think you don’t need a project management solution for your small business, but hear us out. Check out the project management tool, Asana. If you’re a small business that does any manufacturing, Asana provides the ability to manage tasks in the production cycle. If you are in the retail industry, you know there are many deadlines for purchasing product before the busy season. Asana allows other business partners to work without constant monitoring. With dozens of templates and endless possibility, Asana provides a simple way to check the boxes in your busy day.

If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of other solutions available (such as and Basecamp), which makes it relatively simple to find a platform that meshes with your existing processes.

Bottom line: communication is key, and the right project management platform can often make that communication easier, more effective, and more efficient.

Eliminate the Dozen Emails Necessary to Schedule a Meeting 

There are some beautifully designed and extremely user-friendly programs designed to simplify the way people schedule meetings. 

Calendly: Tired of exchanging countless emails just to find a meeting time that works for both parties? Try Calendly. I just scheduled a meeting with someone on Calendly and it was a beautiful experience (Truly!). Calendly syncs with your calendar(s) and presents a simple webpage giving your invited meeting attendee time slot options and automates the process.

Ever feel like scheduling a meeting requires its own meeting? Automate the process for good.

One Last Word – Google 

The best thing to hit business owners recently is the internet-based wonder that is Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and more. No more do you need to buy expensive programs like Microsoft Excel. Using these programs will eliminate the time spent sending documents back and forth via email. It will auto-save your work, track any changes, allow for easy sharing, enable you to work from anywhere, and just make your life better in general. Free for personal use and a limited charge for business users, this is a necessary solution for your growing business.

As you search for solutions to automate your business operations, remember this: you are in control of your business. No one will free up time for you – it starts with you.

You can use these tools (and more!) to save time and create mental space for strategic thinking. Try these solutions and let us know how they work for you!