With small businesses representing 98% of all businesses in the U.S., automation pioneers like airSlate are paying attention and creating products that make small business automation possible and suitable for your business and budget.
When you hear people talking about automation, do you think, “Oh, that’s only for big organizations,” or “That’s too advanced or expensive for my small business”? Think again.
Automation technologies help you optimize and grow your small business. How? By helping you lower costs, minimize errors, reach new prospects, improve productivity, and customer satisfaction…the list goes on.
Nonetheless, there’s anxiety on the part of small businesses — and understandably so. The risk seems higher. But according to a 2019 report published by McKinsey, while small businesses are less likely to automate than large companies, they’re far more likely to have success after investing in automation.
Let’s dig into the details.
Small business automation: 8 concrete benefits
Whether you’re a small law firm or a local distribution company, there’s an automation technology waiting to make your life easier and your business more profitable.
By implementing small business automation, you will see 8 major improvements.
Automation will help you:
1. Reduce human error
Manual processes and data entry leave every company vulnerable to mistakes in key processes like invoicing, bookkeeping, inventory management, and contract creation. These mistakes, which are inevitable, are a nuisance and tedious at best and disastrous and costly at worst. That’s where automation comes in to save the day — and you from a headache.
Automation ensures greater accuracy in your business operations, eliminating the errors that come with manual processing, like copying and pasting or re-keying data from a spreadsheet to a system or vice-versa. Minimizing human error is a cornerstone of automation and helps save your small business from wasted time, energy, and resources.
2. Automate repetitive tasks
If you were to assess what each of your employees’ tasks are on a daily basis, how many of those responsibilities fall into the category of repetitive or recurring? According to an analysis conducted by McKinsey, about 60% of occupations could be automated by upwards of 30%. More often than not, opportunities for automation lie in activities considered necessary but repetitive or recurring.
One of small business automation’s strongest selling points is its ability to take these off your plate. Your employees will be able to spend less time with tasks like invoicing, distributing time-off request forms, transferring files, scheduling meetings and posting on social media, and more time generating new sales and increasing your business’s service levels.
3. Professionalize your data-based marketing
The key to any successful business is knowing your customer, but without data, your marketing efforts can only bring you so far. Now, as small businesses are faced with never-before-seen challenges brought on by COVID-19, SMB Group reports that 30% of small businesses are turning to digital marketing and SMB marketing automation to keep their businesses running.
Data is more important than ever, and automation can do all the heavy lifting for you. It helps collect, process, organize and analyze data — like customer behaviors, demographics, and preferences that you can turn into insights and use to drive marketing campaigns and sales strategies. SMB marketing automation can give you the knowledge you need to professionalize your marketing efforts.
4. Increase and streamline collaboration
Have you ever worked on a project that involved a lot of players and pieces to keep track of? With automation, these complex projects are made much simpler. Use tools to ensure information is flowing to the right people at the right time and to monitor the responsibilities of each team member.
Automation keeps you in the know. Stay up-to-date on the status of a project’s progress, keep up with what each team member is working on or has completed, make sure everyone has the most up-to-date information, and set and monitor deadlines. It really is a win-win.
5. Hire the right people and onboard them efficiently
Hiring a new employee, however diligent you are with the process, is time-consuming. But rushing through the process isn’t an option because finding the right fit and properly onboarding them is too important. So how can automation help your HR professionals?
Use small business automation to screen candidates, identify applicants with skills relevant to the job, and remove implicit biases that can cause a company to overlook a great candidate. Automation can also handle some of the tedious tasks associated with the hiring process, like aligning schedules and sending out required forms to fill out, as well as escorting a new hire through the onboarding process so they can become productive as quickly as possible.
6. Avoid issues with data compliance regulations
Adhering to industry and government regulations can be stressful and costly, especially for small businesses. A healthcare organization might wonder, “Are we handling patient information correctly?” while an HR employee might ask, “Am I properly withholding employment taxes?” Particularly in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare, finance, or law, compliance consumes a lot of time and resources.
The good news is implementing small business automation into your processes can make you feel more confident that you’re dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” by integrating rules into your workflows and ensuring employees are following procedures that comply with regulations and industry standards.
7. Optimize remote work
There’s been no business left untouched by COVID-19. Small businesses in particular, whose resources are limited, have faced major challenges as they adapt to this massive disruption. Whichever way you cut it, remote work has become a critical necessity. And automation can help make your remote work — whether new or adjusted — that much easier.
By automating your workflows and processes, employees can work together seamlessly, moving projects along while being located anywhere in the world. From drafting a contract with multiple colleagues to receiving approvals for routine purchases, automation makes remote work less stressful.
8. Reach your e-commerce goals
With physical sales greatly impacted by COVID-19, 28% of small businesses are turning to websites like e-commerce platforms, while 51% are looking to expand their online sales channels, according to a recent study conducted by SMB Group. Improved e-commerce and SMB marketing automation are becoming essential to the survival of more and more small businesses during the pandemic.
Using automation, small businesses can simplify their e-commerce processes by integrating their systems to other systems of record in order to automatically populate, edit, and delete product information as well as update product availability on their website in real-time. Small business automation improves the customer experience while also streamlining ordering processes.
As evidenced above, automation can benefit almost any field and any process. But what about ease of use and cost?
These are two things airSlate has always made a priority.
So where does small business automation begin?
To better understand what your business needs, start by evaluating your everyday business processes: Which require the most time and resources? Can you avoid them with the help of small business automation? Don’t try to capture everything at once. Instead, take time to assess your processes individually in order to identify areas for improvement, to ask whether your customers are satisfied, etc. This will ensure that you avoid the common mistakes many small companies make when throwing money at expensive automation platforms believing they’ll solve all their problems.
The right attitude towards automation helps you better understand your business and optimize it without turning it upside down.
The webinar below, hosted by airSlate, digs into the benefits of automating your business processes. It highlights how employees and businesses can save time and effort by automating manual tasks and gaining visibility into their workflows. The webinar presents use cases from customers as well as an introductory demo of airSlate.
At airSlate, we believe that you should have the freedom and option to optimize your processes. Included in that is the ability to use flexible tools that adapt to your business and not the other way around.
Two of our most valued principles — aside from data security — are flexibility and fair pricing. We make it easy for you to check us out, try our tools, and see if airSlate is right for you.
All you have to do is sign up for airSlate’s Free plan. Our Free and Basic plans are identical in terms of functionality. The only difference is that the Free plan will give access to the document Slates you created for a 30-day period.
To get started with the Free plan, just enter your email and start setting up your Workspace.
And to top it all off, airSlate provides everyone with free educational courses covering the organization of business processes, ways to use no-code Bots, and the implementation of SMB marketing automation. If you’re someone looking to increase you and your team’s readiness to automate, check out the airSlate Academy’s self-paced courses.
Remember: Small business automation is about saving time, improving efficiency, and boosting your bottom line to grow your company. Take that first step and get started.