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6 simple automations to save time in your business

Finding ways to get things done more efficiently, rather than working harder and longer, is the key to success and sanity in your small business. While you can automate many aspects of your business, here are some easy ways to get started.

1. Online estimates

Do you spend a lot of time manually generating quotes for jobs? If there are repeated, easily priced functions and components that make up your services or products, consider using an automated quoting tool or cost calculator to save time and effort.

You could also customise and install a quote calculator on your website (ask your web developer for help if you are not sure how). If you are concerned about having your pricing visible, select a calculator with the option to email estimates to enquirers, rather than displaying the cost on a page.

2. Social media scheduling

Use social media scheduling tools, including those available in Facebook Creator Studio, to develop a month’s worth of social media posts at a time. Not only does this make sure you stay visible on social media even when you get busy, it can help you see the big picture with your social media plan and ensure a good mix of engaging content for your audience.

It is useful to note that you should still respond to comments on your social media pages in a timely manner, but taking care of posts in advance can help you be more efficient with the time your spend online.

3. Downloadable documents or blogs

If you or your staff find you are explaining the same things over and over again creating a simple downloadable document or an authoritative blog article means customers can ‘self-serve’ information from your website saving you time and frustration. As a bonus, it also creates search engine friendly content to help your website show up in search results.

Even if customers still want to speak with you to find out more, if you direct them to read your content first they will be an educated consumer or ‘warm lead’, and you can focus on answering final questions to help get the sale.

4. Automated payment reminders

There is nothing more frustrating than chasing overdue payments, and managing cash flow can be a big problem for small businesses.

Use the functions of your bookkeeping system to set up automated payment reminders to let customers know when their bill is due or overdue. Don’t feel embarrassed about sending payment reminders – after, it’s your money. It is helpful to have payment details clearly described in your terms and conditions and to follow up quickly once a payment is late.

5. Online scheduling

Online scheduling and booking tools that allow customers to select their own appointment time with your business can be massive time savers for both the business and customers. There are many tools available, some of which can be integrated into your website and others that work directly with your social media accounts, such as Facebook’s “Book Now” option. Some schedulers also allow you to send reminders by SMS if you take your customer’s mobile number at the time of booking.

If you operate a business with a large number of ‘no shows’ causing you to lose income from a missed appointment, consider looking for a scheduling software that can take payments at the time of booking and integrates with your bookkeeping system — saving you even more time.

6. Request a review

Social proof in the form of testimonials or reviews are a powerful marketing tool, but often business owners forget to follow up to request these soon after the product or service is received, or feel shy about asking. Automating your review request process can help break down these barriers.

One of the easiest ways to request and display your reviews is to create a link to your Google Reviews page (you will first need to have set up a Google My Business account). Then, follow these instructions to create a short URL to send to customers. Draft a simple email to request a review, such as the one below:

One of the easiest ways to request and display your reviews is to create a link to your Google Reviews page (you will first need to have set up a Google My Business account). Then, follow these instructions to create a short URL to send to customers. Draft a simple email to request a review, such as the one below:

Hi Fred
Thanks for choosing to work with (name of your business). I would love to ask you to please leave a rating and review for us on Google by following this link (insert short URL).

I appreciate your feedback and if there is anything you would like to discuss, please call me on (your phone number).

Thank you,
Jane

You can then either add the email to your automated email system, or create a draft email and set a reminder to send it out shortly delivery of your service. If you have a high volume service, it is almost essential to fully automate this process using one of the many options on the market.

Benefits of automation

Small businesses that take advantage to technology to automate repetitive tasks can save themselves the cost of labour, do things more quickly and create a better experience for their customers. While every business is different, it’s worth considering what you could automate in your business today.

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