You didn’t become an entrepreneur because you had an obsession for managing back office duties . Forgive us for dishing out a hard truth, but I bet that you didn’t get into building a business because you had a passion for administrative tasks. Answering calls. Bookkeeping. Customer support. All of these tasks keep your business humming. But they’re time-sucking beasts that take you away from things that help your business grow. To get your business to the next level—without drowning in a sea of minutiae—reject the idea that you should work more as your business expands. Learn how to use email, sales, bookkeeping, marketing and customer service automation platform technologies to your advantage . And redirect your time and energy to the areas of your business that matter most.
We can show you how to automate:
- Financial Administrative Tasks
- Back Office Administrative Tasks
Automation has come a long way in the past decade. As soon as 2020, driverless cars could be moving passengers from A to B in select cities. Robot waiters will be taking dinner orders. And Google and Amazon delivery drones are about to go from beta to commonplace.
While droids are a long way from taking over the back office, automation is already making life easier for entrepreneurs. If you run a startup or small business, it’s possible to leverage a collection of apps, tools, and services, and put menial tasks on autopilot—so you can reclaim your time, and focus exclusively on the areas of your business that matter most. Until you have a cyborg sidekick to help you take on the world (or at the very least, help you deal with time-sucking administrative tasks), reject the idea that your workload should increase as your business expands. Use the automation tips and tools listed in this guide, and as your business grows, you’ll work—and perhaps even decrease your stress level.
Adopt One-Click Replies
If you write the same reply to different customers over and over again, use Canned Responses . This free Gmail feature lets you create and send template replies at the click of a few buttons.
“The problem is in trying to make email do everything when it’s not particularly good at anything.” – Phil Knight, Founder of Nike
Eliminate Low Priority Emails
Sanebox scans your inbox and compiles all non-urgent emails into a weekly or monthly digest, reducing email influx to non-overwhelming levels.
Forget About “Inbox Zero”
If daily email decluttering isn’t your idea of a good time, quit worrying about it altogether. Evidence suggests that you’ll save time and energy on email-related tasks if you don’t bother organizing your inbox at all .
2. Financial Administrative Tasks
Outsource Your Bookkeeping Duties
It’s no secret: the majority of entrepreneurs loathe doing their own bookkeeping . If the task is eating up your time, upgrade and use an outsourced bookkeeping firm like ProBooks NY. Unlike DIY bookkeeping software, ProBooks NY gives you a team of bookkeepers—who do your books, so you don’t have to—and simple, elegant software to track your finances. You can monitor your business’s financial health, message your bookkeeping team and view your financial statements in real time via your mobile device using our cloud bookkeeping platforms.
Track Expenses More Efficiently
Use Expensify to track business expenditures, and never lose a receipt again. Your employees can also use the app to report their own expenses, while administrator controls allow you to specify which ones require approval—so nobody has to wait to be reimbursed for Post-It notes.
Speed up the Invoicing
Charge by the hour? Don’t waste precious time creating and chasing invoices. Bookkeeping Chef can be used to track your project work and expenses and integrate them into polished, professional invoices which clients can view online. This platform also embeds credit card payment options within invoices, so you can collect fees immediately.
Switch Over to Painless Payroll
You probably didn’t start a business because you had a vigor for payroll. Outsourced payroll services like Gusto can automate much of the legwork involved in managing payroll and employee benefits. The service sends out bank transfers and paystubs on a schedule set by you; your employees can track their earnings, benefits, worker’s comp and collect tax forms via their personal accounts in these types of apps.
3. Back Office Admin
Avoid the Phone Without Missing a Call
Hire a virtual receptionist and you’ll always have someone available to answer the phone, even when you’re off duty. Conversational and Ruby Receptionist will forward calls to extensions and voicemail, and set appointments on your behalf. Both services can answer to numbers registered in your local area.
Auto-Arrange your Travel Itinerary
Business travel can be great for business. Arranging it, though? Not so much. Next time you head away for work, forward your hotel, fight and vehicle bookings to TripIt . This app organizes travel details into a complete itinerary which you can access from your smart phone.
Use One Password to Rule them All
When online security is a priority, so much hinges on a row of asterisks. 1Password and Dashlane generate and store secure passwords for every service you use under a single key. 1Password for Teams can help you implement password security protocol for every employee.
Organize your Team in the Cloud
If you juggle employee availability every time you write the roster, save time with WhenIWork . This app lets you create a central, online team schedule that employees can use to report their availability and clock into their shifts.
Monitor Online Mentions
List your business’s name in Google Alerts , and you’ll receive an email every time someone mentions it on the internet. Alerts is free and simple to use. The only drawback? The daily updates can clutter your inbox.
Set and Forget Your Social Media
If you spend too much time writing and scheduling social media posts, use Hootsuite or Edgar . This app stores your social posts in an online library, posting (and re-using) your best content on a schedule that works for your audience.
Crack your Competitor’s Strategy
SEMRush helps you peek inside your competitor’s online marketing strategy. Use this app to view all pages of any website, reveal ad strategies and budgets, and identify the keywords your competitors are targeting to grow their business.
Find Your Competitor’s Best Content
Want to know how your competitors are doing so well on social media? Enter any website into BuzzSumo , and the tool will return a list of the website’s most shared pages.
“There are lots of good reasons to abandon a project. Having a little competition is not one of them.” – Vania Benavides, Founder of Vab Media Digital Agency.
Gather Free Audience Insights
Want to get familiar with your customer’s thought process? Enter a search term or topic—your industry, your services, the name of a product you’re planning to launch—and Answer the Public will show you the keywords people use when they search for it online.
Force Apps to Work Together
“ If This, Then That ” (IFTTT) integrates apps and services that don’t normally mesh well. IFTTT recipes can speed up almost every marketing task, from social posting to e-newsletter creation.
Leverage Niche Job Boards
Post a job on a major hiring platform and you’ll be hit with a tsunami of applications in seconds. Skip the paper tidal wave and advertise new openings on niche job boards. WeWorkRemotely for remote programmers. Slack at Work for tech talent. Designer News for designers and developers. Copyhackers For Hire for writers and editors. And so on. You may get fewer applicants, but the quality of the talent is usually a step up from larger, generalized job networks like Upwork or Fiverr.
“The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.” – Marc Benioff, Founder of Salesforce
Use Dedicated Recruiting Software
If you hire employees frequently, and you can’t see the forest through the pile of CVs, Jazz HR and Greenhouse streamline the entire recruitment process from a centralized online dashboard.
Expedite Employee Onboarding
When a new employee joins your business, reduce the time you spend on the training front with Trainual . This platform lets you create an online training course for your team, saving you from having to answer repeated questions when a new hire joins your business.
Bring Cold Leads Back From the Dead
The “tracking response” feature in Boomerang for Gmail salvages leads that go quiet. If a prospective customer doesn’t reply, Boomerang will return the conversation to your inbox and remind you to follow up.
“I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” – Estee Lauder, Cofounder of Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
See Who’s Opening Your Emails
Mixmax or Hubspot have email tracking feature alerts that let you know every time a recipient opens your email. If a prospect re-opens your email pitch long after you first sent it, the app will nudge you—prompting you to reach out again and ask the lead if they’re ready to purchase your product or service.
Book Meetings with a Single Click
Eliminate the back-and-forth involved in finding a meeting time with ScheduleOnce or Calendly . Both apps display your calendar availability and allow clients to schedule meetings with you at the click of a button.
Get Help from Help Desk Software
Having more customers can increase profit. It can also increase the demand for customer support. Don’t let that task bury you. Help Scout lets you set up a team help desk and install a searchable knowledge base on your website. Giving customers easy access to your team and searchable support documents will make frequently asked questions a little less frequent.
Chat With Customers in Real Time
LiveAgent is comparable to Help Scout but includes support for live chat on your company’s website. Shopify’s integration with Facebook Messenger connects you one-on-one with customers, and allows order tracking and updates, through the Messenger app.
Leave It to the Algorithm
Don’t have the time or resources to field FAQs? Intercom’s Educate tool lets you set up a question and answer knowledge base, and then directs users to your customer service staff when an article doesn’t fully answer their questions. This tool also uses to algorithms to determine what kind of help content you should write in the future, based on what users are asking today.
“Customers may forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” – William Lee, Founder of ob体育最新网址
Small business owners who utilize ProBooks NY’s remote back-office automation and consulting services save an average of eight hours a month. With ProBooks NY, you get a team of professional bookkeepers—who do your books, so you don’t have to— and simple, elegant software to track your financials. Ready to save time on your administrative bookkeeping tasks.