Being a small business owner or entrepreneur comes with a lot of perks, like a flexible schedule and not having a boss. BUT it also comes with its own challenges, just like any job. When you own a business, there’s a lot of pressure to do things the right way and make it a success. After all, a lot of people will associate you with your business. Often times, this causes business owners to run themselves ragged. But listen, you don’t have to do that. You can delegate and still be successful. You just have to be strategic about what you delegate and to whom. We even wrote a blog about outsourcing that you can go read if you haven’t already!
Okay okay, moving on. We know we talk about this all the time, but we’re not going to stop any time soon because A) it’s important, and B) if we know anything about small business owners, it’s really hard to let things go.
But if you’re not ready to start delegating, why not try automating? There are tons of tasks you can automate that will end up saving you precious time, and also your sanity.
Automation doesn’t just save you time; it also increases overall customer service, makes you more efficient, and clears up your time for big picture stuff. Plus, there are some really great apps available to you! Alright, let’s get to it.
1. Social Media
Instead of wasting time every day thinking of what to post, breaking up your day by taking photos, writing captions, and then posting, try sitting down one day a month to choose photos and type out all your posts. Then, you can schedule them out a month ahead of time. Facebook has its own built-in scheduling software found in the Publishing Tools section of your business page. You can also utilize other softwares like Hopper or HooteSuite for your other social media accounts on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. ????
2. Customer Communication
Prompt and professional customer communication is an absolute must. In fact, most studies say customers expect a reply to an email or contact form submission within 24 hours. Everyone loves a thoughtful reply, but it could take the whole day to individually reply to everyone who contacts you, depending on your business size. So why not automate some of those emails? Whether you want to send an automated reply to contact form submissions on your website with helpful information or just send a thoughtful thank you email after every purchase, eliminating the time it takes to do so can free you up significantly. Another great idea is to set up an auto-reply on your social media accounts and emails, letting them know that their message DID go through (very important), and that you’ll get back to them within 24-48 hours. Head on over to your email provider and social media platforms to set these up there!
3. Inbox Management
Did you know that there are apps that will declutter your inbox for you and unsubscribe you from annoying email lists? Run, don’t walk. And whoever invented these services, we’d like to shake your hand. ????
4. Invoice Reminders
Have a client who owes a payment? Don’t we all. ???? Many apps will allow you to create automated email reminders and send them to clients for you. This not only helps free you up, but it also means you won’t be tempted to send emotional emails about past-due payments. (#aspermylastemail, anyone?)
5. Your To-Do List
There are several mobile and computer apps that will streamline your To-Do lists, keep everything in one place, and allow you to set reminders. Anyone else thankful for auto reminders? ✋
So, you’re not a bookkeeper and can’t afford to hire one. Do you just make yourself miserable doing all that #math even though you’re not passionate about it? The answer is no. No, you don’t. Try a payroll automation company, like Gusto, and free yourself up for very important non-math related work. Because life is way too short to do things that make you miserable. (Disclaimer: If you love math, we see you. We respect you. Keep up the good work.)
Have trouble keeping up with endless receipts? Honestly, #same. Right after your purchase, you can simply snap a picture of your receipt and keep track of your expenses via an app like Shoeboxed or Expensify. Those apps can automatically get the necessary information exported from them. Bonus points for this one because it will help you avoid getting bogged down during tax preparation. And your CPA will love you. Win-win.
8. Backing Up Files
Backing up files is one of those things that’s essential but also can be kinda annoying. And a LOT of people don’t really do it unless they’ve learned the hard way. It’s like properly removing a device from your computer… does it REALLY matter? Oh, we’re here to tell you it does. One of us may or may not have had their whole iPod erased back in the day. (RIP⚰️). ANYWAY, backing up your files is really a necessary precaution. And it’s super simple to automate. You can set up a cloud-based backup like Dropbox or Google Drive. And by syncing all your files to the cloud, they’re accessible on any device with an internet connection.
9. Website Analytics
It’s simple to set up a Google Analytics report to be emailed to you once a week. Et voilà! Your website analytics magically appear in your inbox ✨No more wasting precious time logging in to find it.
10. Bill Pay
Whatever you can automate, you should. Whether it’s a payment on your business credit card payment, your office rent, any software you utilize, or any building maintenance services such as cleaning, cutting down on the time you spend writing checks is critical. If you know you’re going to pay it every month, ask if they do auto-draft, that way you don’t have to keep it on your to-do list.
These may seem small, but every minute matters when you’re juggling a business, family and friends, and trying to have some sort of remnants of a social life. That’s why taking routine, recurring tasks off your to-do list can really help boost your productivity. These are the types of things that can break up the day at the worst times and have the potential to ruin a perfectly good train of thought. And no one wants that! If you can delegate some everyday tasks to employees, do it!! But even if you’re not able to delegate (yet), you could potentially free up some much needed time by automating these simple tasks. So just do it.
Is it too soon to use this GIF again? Asking for a friend….