Workflow Automation for Small Business: A successful business does not operate in isolation. It relies on key constituents such as customers, partners, suppliers, and employees to be successful. It also relies on the effective operation of every part of the business machine in the areas of finance and operations, marketing and sales, human resources (HR), IT (information technology), and customer service. Automating these various processes is critical for reducing operating costs from all angles while also increasing productivity levels for all involved parties within a company or organization. Proper workflow automation will free up your executives to focus on strategic initiatives rather than operational minutiae while simultaneously reducing manpower needs by as much as 50%.
Workflow Automation for Small Business
A workflow is a system that facilitates the process within an organization. Workflows are a mechanical method of business process automation. It is commonly expressed as sequence of actions and/or decisions that occur in sequence throughout an enterprise. Workflows automate, standardize, and streamline the performance of routine tasks in various business functions [workflow]. As with any other software program, workflows can be duplicated by other employees to implement similar procedures or to complete specific tasks for which flexibility may not be necessary. For example, if a customer sends back the wrong item ordered from the company, they can automatically forward their request to order another one as soon as they receive confirmation their original order has been received and accepted by the company.
5 Ways to Use Workflow Automation in your Small Business
1. Sending invoices to customers.
2. Tracking time spent on a project for billing purposes.
3. Printing and sending out essential correspondence, such as quotes and follow-up communications, to your clients in a more timely manner so that they can take the necessary actions afterwards properly in order to move the sales process forward quickly without any delays or disruptions from your end.
4) Set up auto-responders for new leads so that they get prompt replies without any need for you to spend time with each new lead individually, letting them know you’ll be in touch with them soon and providing them with necessary information about how their inquiry is being handled by your business and when they can expect a response back from you.
5) Manage your company’s expenses and track expenditures so that you can be confident that your business is on the right track in terms of profitability and that it is not wasting money when it doesn’t need to.
The Growth-Boosting Benefits
Here are the top five growth-boosting benefits of automation in a small business.
1. Increased productivity: Automating routine tasks can save time and boost productivity for small businesses that have growing pains. Small businesses can increase productivity by automating tasks that require repetitive actions, such as filling out expense reports, creating and distributing invoices, and entering employee time sheets. Businesses can also leverage workflow automation to free up time spent on tasks that do not generate revenue or increase exposure for the company by automating social media posting, analyzing website analytics, finding new leads from referrals, and sending out direct mail campaigns to prospective clients.
2. Reducing errors: Automating business processes can reduce errors and minimize the risk of costly mistakes. Small businesses that are centered on activities that require strict attention to detail, like accounting, bookkeeping, and insurance claims processing, can eliminate human error by automating processes to ensure accuracy. For example, small business owners who want to automate invoice assembly for clients can set up automated approval workflows that send an email notification when a customer approves their invoice. The email notification indicates whether the invoice was approved or rejected for any reason and includes an attachment of the approved invoice. This way, repetitive invoicing tasks are handled automatically when clients approve or reject a new invoice.
3. Improving customer satisfaction: Automation can help small businesses provide personal service to customers while minimizing the risk of mistakes. Small businesses can boost their productivity by automating workflow processes that are commonly completed by small staff and customer service teams, including sending out invoices and tracking customer support issues. By automating these functions, small business owners can focus on interactions with customers that have a direct impact on revenue growth or retention of current clients. As a result, automation can help enable better communication between small business owners and customers to obtain key information needed to improve overall service levels.
4. Increasing sales: Automation can help small businesses increase sales by automating common tasks that are too time-consuming to complete manually. Small business owners who automate their customer support operations can save time and money by providing customers with more personalized service, such as setting up automated email replies from the company’s support team and analyzing client problems to improve software product updates. Small businesses that automate simple tasks like creating brochures, uploading receipts, and entering detailed purchase orders can streamline processes that require a lot of manual work without sacrificing service levels. For example, automating repetitive tasks allows small business owners to focus on interacting with customers instead of repeating every detail line-by-line into Microsoft Word.
5. Improving profitability: Small businesses can increase profitability through automation by automating daily routine tasks that do not generate revenue. Small businesses that create business plans to grow their sales can use automation to create documentation, manage product inventory, and take care of other tasks that do not directly increase sales but waste time and reduce profitability. For example, small businesses can automate the procurement process by planning a buy order for each supply item during the week and setting up a weekly reminder for recurring purchases. Businesses can also automate lower-revenue-generating processes like guest management and workflow processes like letter writing or returning customer service calls.
Small businesses can automate basic tasks to free up time for employees, improve communication with customers, and boost sales while reducing expenses. The growth-boosting benefits of automation in a small business help small business owners take the next step in leveraging the productivity technology that has become an indispensable tool for enterprises.
The Top Tasks to Automate in a Small Business
A small business may have limited resources, so automating chores can help. There are many tasks that a small business owner may automate to save themselves time and money.
The tasks to automate include:
-Printing and scanning for correspondence
-Setting up reminders for billing dates and deadlines
-Setting up email reminders for tasks
-Creating task lists
-Checking and updating sales figures
-Checking and updating bank statements
…and many more
Automate Your Business with Workflows
There are several ways to automate workflows in a small business. One way is to create a large Workflow list for each task you want done with a “Start” button that brings the list into action. Another way is to have the system load the Workflow list when you start your system (either with the built in “BootCamp” that comes with most systems, or manually by loading them from your computer manually).
5 Simple Steps to Automate a Small Business
1. Identify the items that need to be automated
2. Find out what needs to be done in order for each of the items to be automated
3. Set up the automation process steps by either drafting them on paper or using a project management software like Asana, Basecamp, Trello, etc.
4. Create a list of the pros and cons of automating an item (list both benefits and drawbacks)
5. Determine if it will be worthwhile or detrimental to automate an item
Once all of the automation pro/cons and automation steps have been determined for each item, it needs to be decided which items are worth automating. Relevant information should be gathered on the following factors:
1. What are the estimated costs for each item in terms of time and money?
2. How many times will an item need to be automated?
3. How often does the item need to be automated?
5. What is the estimated amount of time that will be saved by automating an item? (This can be found by dividing how long it takes to do an item manually by how long it takes to do an item with automation.
Easy, Low-Cost Solution for Your Small Business Workflow Automation and Management
I work with a lot of small business owners who need help managing their workflow and time. A big part of the problem is that they don’t have any tools to keep track of who’s doing what and where they are in the process so that their whole team can collaborate on tasks effectively in real-time.
I recommend trying GanttProject, which is an easy to use project management software for entrepreneurs and small businesses in every industry. GanttProject helps you visualize and manage your entire workflow including daily tasks, projects, priorities, reports, forecasts, client timelines and more. It’s also free forever!
Here’s a quick overview of why you should choose GanttProject over other project management software:
You can track your tasks and projects visually. Create task dependencies, apply milestones and deadlines, view all your projects in one window and much more!
You can save time with smart project templates. Create tasks efficiently from over 600 templates that are already pre-loaded with details. Get started quickly!
You can save money with the free forever plan. This is GanttProject’s best plan for teams of up to 10 users that offers unlimited features for all small businesses.
TOP 11 Workflow Automation Tools
Workflow automation tools, or software that allow you to automate tasks to perform them more easily, can be a life-saver for small businesses. Whether you’re looking for free options or are already using one of these solutions, this article will help you decide the best workflow automation tool for your needs.
1) Zapier – Zapier is a web-based application that lets users connect different cloud applications such as Google Drive and Gmail to create automated workflows. With Zapier’s drag-and-drop interface and no coding skills required, you can set up simple automations between these apps with no limits on the number of simultaneous connections per account. Visit their website at https://zapier.com/ for more information.
2) Unbounce – Unbounce is a web-based application that allows users to create landing pages and simple workflows with no coding skills. The free version of the application offers between 10 and 100 email subscribers, while additional tiers offer higher numbers. Visit their website at http://www.unbounce.com/ for more information.
3) Automation Tools – Automation Tools is a new workflow tool that creates online business automation tools with real-time analytics so you can see how your workflows are performing in real time on your business’ dashboard. Visit their website at https://automationtoolsapp.com/ for more information.
4) E-Z Tasks – E-Z Tasks is a web-based application that allows users to create workflows using drag-and-drop modules to connect different apps. You can use the paid version of the software to add tasks, assign emails, and automate tasks on an unlimited number of projects. Visit their website at https://www.e-ztasks.com for more information.
5) WorkflowMax – WorkflowMax is a web-based application that includes all of the basic features you need for automating your small business’ workflows with no restrictions on the number of users and projects. Visit their website at http://www.workflowmax.com for more information.
6) Workflowy – Workflowy is a web-based application that allows users to create workflows by dragging and dropping different tasks together. You can use the free version of the software to track the number of unread emails in your inbox, or upgrade to premium membership for additional features such as email monitoring and custom alert customization. Visit their website at https://www.workflowyapp.com/ for more information.
7) Woebot – Woebot is a web-based application that creates automated workflows for small businesses using a drag-and-drop interface. You can use the free version of the software to track how many email subscribers you have, set up reminders, or assign tasks. Visit their website at http://woebotapp.com/ for more information.
8) Webworkflow – Webworkflow is a web-based application that allows users to create custom workflows that allow them to connect different apps via email or SMS out of the box with no coding skills required. Visit their website at http://www.webworkflowapp.com/ for more information.
9) WorkflowGo – WorkflowGo is a cloud-based automation tool that works across multiple channels to help businesses automate their sales, customer service, and marketing efforts. You can use the free version of the software to create email campaigns and automations with no limits on the number of campaigns you can send per month. Visit their website at https://www.workflowgo.com/ for more information.
10) Zoho – Zoho is a web-based application that allows users to create workflows with no coding skills using drag-and-drop modules or by creating modules using its WYSIWYG interface. The free version of the software allows users to connect up to 15 apps, while additional tiers offer higher numbers. Visit their website at https://www.zoho.com/ for more information.
11) Zapier – Zapier is a web-based application that lets users connect different cloud applications such as Google Drive and Gmail to create automated workflows. With Zapier’s drag-and-drop interface and no coding skills required, you can set up simple automations between these apps with no limits on the number of simultaneous connections per account. Visit their website at https://zapier.com/ for more information.
9 Reasons You Need It
## 1. It is a great way to save time and money.
It allows business owners to focus on what they do well and not be burdened with the tasks that are less important, which saves valuable time. In addition, by automating certain processes you can use your saved time to make more money easily by increasing your production of items or services.
## 2. It is easy to implement.
There are several different types of tools that allow you automate tasks in CRM, email marketing, customer service management (CSM) invoicing/invoices and more that are easy-to-implement with just a few clicks of the mouse or taps on a screen! This means there’s no training or certification required!
## 3. It is a great way to reduce errors and increase efficiency.
By automating certain processes, you can save time during the day by not repeating the same action over and over again, which means less mistakes and more productivity! Also, by automating repetitive tasks you eliminate the potential for errors that could increase customer service calls, which saves time by preventing frustration!
## 4. It saves money!
Did you know that wasted employee time costs companies an average of $27 per hour? That’s about $1.2 million dollars per year. That’s a lot of wasted time that could be using to make money if it were automated!
## 5. It allows employees to focus on higher priorities.
If you’re automating business processes, that means your staff members can focus their time on other important tasks that can help grow the business further!
## 6. It allows you to increase productivity and profitability!
If you’re spending more time doing something, you need to be getting paid more, right? If you’re eliminating or reducing the amount of time spent doing redundant or unnecessary tasks, then you should be able to grow your profits faster and higher without any additional overhead costs or expenses!
## 7. It makes business processes run more efficiently.
When you automate business processes, you can eliminate the amount of time required for someone to manage a task! If they’re able to focus their efforts on higher-priority items, then it can help others in your company to get more done in less time!
## 8. It allows you to reduce costs and increase profits.
Automation can save you money because it allows you to reduce costs like: training, customer service phone calls, and a reduction in the amount of work required to manage tasks! The good news is that most automations do not require any additional costs or investment!
## 9. It allows businesses to compete effectively and avoid being overtaken by competitors.
Because of the benefits of automating business processes, many small businesses are having success competing with larger companies in your industry due to their low cost of operations and bottom line performance!
11 Best Workflow Automation Software Best for Zapier Triggering actions between different software tools that lack direct integration Automate.io Creating multistep workflows between different software tools GravityFlow Automating simple form to lead workflows in WordPress KiSSFLOW Streamlining the submission and approval processes in G Suite Wrike Building complex automated team workflows based on Gantt-style task dependency triggers Zoho Creator Creating customized workflow applications within the Zoho suite of software Asana Utilizing simple-to-use project templates and workflows for project management teams Active Campaign Automating email marketing campaigns based on user segments and engagement HubSpot Qualifying and nurturing marketing and sales leads automatically Pipedrive Automating your sales pipeline administrative tasks with easy-to-use workflows monday.com Managing your team’s workflow through automated visual cues and workflow status Which Project Management Software is Right for You?
What it costs: Free to $250 per month Zapier is a workflow automation software that makes all of your other software play nice by connecting products that aren’t directly integrated.
Wrike is a workflow automation software that allows you to create workflows that notify team members automatically when they should start their part of a project or sales process.
Zoho Creator is workflow automation software that allows you to create completely customized applications to automate your workflow within the Zoho software suite.
Sure, it’s great when your customer relationship marketing (CRM) tool talks to your social media software or your lead generation forms send data to your email marketing platform automatically, but what if they don’t?
Who it’s for: Sales teams who want to automate regular sales workflow tasks What it costs: $15, $29, or $59 per user, per month Pipedrive is a sales CRM that includes powerful workflow automation tools to allow your sales team to eliminate manual tasks that they do on a regular basis.
The more expensive plans add features like calendar and timeline views, advanced customization and search features, time tracking, and increased file storage.
What it costs: $97 to $227 per year Gravity Flow is workflow management software that works with Gravity Forms, which is a WordPress plug-in used to create contact and lead generation forms.
What it costs: Free, $9.99, or $19.99 Asana is a project management tool and workflow management software that allows you to create team workflows, add team members, assign tasks, and monitor overall project process.
This guide will help you identify the best workflow automation software for your sales team, and help you save time and effort in your sales process. (fitsmallbusiness.com)
What is Workflow Automation Software? (corefactors.in)
- Across industries, automation has become a key to success: Nearly of top-performing companies have used marketing automation for more than 2 years, according to the research firm Gleanster.
- Waiting even to make contact decreases your odds of qualifying a lead by 21 times, as compared to calling within five minutes, according to the Lead Response Management Study.
- The average person already receives 88 business emails a day, according to The Radicati Group, a tech market research firm.
- In the B2B world, of leads aren’t yet ready to become clients, according to a report by the research firm MarketingSherpa.
- On average, nurtured leads result in a increase in sales opportunities, compared with leads that didn’t receive that attention, according to a study by the B2B marketing publication DemandGen Report.
- According to a study by Experian Marketing Services, welcome emails have an open rate of nearly compared with less than 15% for other promotional emails.
- After all, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70% compared with 5 to 20% for a new prospect, according to the authors of the book Marketing Metrics.
- Six in 10 consumers have decided against an intended purchase or business transaction because of poor customer service, according to a report prepared for American Express. (keap.com)
- You can get 10% off by using our OptinMonster coupon 8.
- If your business is a startup, you may be eligible for the ‘HubSpot for Startups’ program, which gives you up to 90% off. (wpbeginner.com)