Automation is still a relatively new area of technology, but it is swiftly growing and increasingly making its way into business processes. Everyone can benefit from automation. However, small businesses are particularly in a position to leverage automation in order to excel ahead of their competition.
As you consider whether it is worth investing in automation solutions for your business, we thought we’d take a moment to outline the three primary benefits of automation for small businesses:
Speed is an advantage in any industry, and for small businesses seeking to compete with larger enterprises, speed is absolutely critical in order to compensate for the lack of comparative people power. Because so many different tasks can benefit from some form of automation, the technology provides a great opportunity to find speed and efficiency in your business’ day-to-day. Michael Cohan, founder and CEO of Unisource National Lender Services, observes: “Loan processing has completely changed as a result of machine learning and automation. Lenders use automation technologies to improve efficiency in myriad ways, from auto-filling paperwork to aggregating information. The result is that loans process faster — much faster.”
2. Cost Savings
As the leader of a small business, your fingerprints are most likely on everything: bookkeeping, project management, marketing, human resources, operations, invoicing, customer service, payroll, you name it. As a small business ourselves, we can relate.
When speaking with clients, we find their owners are without doubt seeking two things: time and help. That said, hiring new staff to handle repetitive tasks may not be financially feasible. Automation can be a practical solution to free up time by streamlining tasks in all of these areas.
While many people focus on the topic of fewer salaries when it comes to automation, this is not always the only or biggest savings in this context. Your company can save money with automation because it allows you to work faster, make fewer mistakes, and as a result, win and execute more business.
The expression “work smarter, not harder” applies perfectly to automation. Many positions require people to repeatedly fill out the same forms over and over again. Performing that task is time-consuming and even the smallest human errors can result in substantial problems, from costly delays to – worst case scenario – lost clients. As human error decreases, productivity becomes easier and each process becomes more transparent in the context of quality control.
There are a growing number of tools in the area of CRM, project management, payroll/accounting, social media management, email management, scheduling, task management, marketing and customer support that you can take advantage of in order to put your business a step ahead of the curve. Before deploying any solutions(s), make sure you take the time to figure out where you can best leverage automation. Start by asking these questions:
- Where do tedious and/or redundant tasks occur repeatedly
- What tasks eat up the most time?
- What activities require multiple touches to complete?
- What activities are prone to error because of their repetitive nature?
- What tasks feel like a complete waste of time yet need to be done to keep the business running?
If your competitors are leveraging this technology, you better get on board quickly! If not, you have a golden opportunity to get one step ahead of them as an early adopter. We have a feeling that once you start thoughtfully integrating automation solutions into your daily tasks, you’ll wonder how you ever did business without them!