5 Ways Small Businesses Can Benefit from Automation
When it comes to handling the workload, small businesses are always hard-pressed. Automation is the solution to their problems. Automation enables them to reduce workload pressures and deliver the output on time without compromising with quality.
Business Process Management(BPM) and Business Intelligence (BI) are two key aspects of automation. The first is inbound while the second can be both inbound and outbound. Automation is not limited to these two aspects. It’s well beyond.
We have discussed some of the aspects of automation. We’re already through with best marketing tools for SMBs, automation trends for digital marketers and selection parameters for BI software. Let’s find out some more on and offbeat strands of automation:
Repeating the same work again and again is tiresome. It consumes timeand keeps the employees from delving into more productive initiatives. Automating repetitive tasks is the most sought-after aspect of automation. The following are some of the tasks that benefit from automation:
? Sending invoice to customers
? Accounting and payroll management
? Managing inventory and tracking details
Interestingly, eliminating human follies is not the biggest benefit of automating repetitive tasks. The biggest benefit is giving employees a break from such tasks. None of the tasks mentioned above require specialized knowledge. These tasks could be handled by anyone. Automating these tasks allow employers to assign more serious tasks to employees with specialized skills.
Programmatic ad buying
Organic campaigns may be the most favored mode of promotion, but advertising has its own set of benefits. Small and medium size businesses are apprehensive about advertising, and that’s largely because they are cash-strapped.
Programmatic advertising incorporates advertising and automation. It lowers cost and guarantees increased ROI for publishers. Here’s how it benefits small businesses:
A report published on Adage shows in 2013, ad company Index Exchange sold 11% ads to the enterprise in-house teams. A year later, it jumped to 15%. Automation eliminated the need to outsource advertising work to a professional agency, thereby lowering the marketing cost.
Success in advertising depends on understanding audience demographic. That’s quite a hectic task. Understanding targeted audience segments, time of day, browser search history, rotation, etc might take days or months. With automation, it’s sorted almost in no time.
Leading social networks have recognized the importance of programmatic. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow publishers to run programmatic ads on their own platforms. These networks ease ad campaigns via user analytics details collected from within the networks.
Managing virtual teams
It’s impossible to manage virtual teams globally without automation. Small businesses often work with freelancers. It saves them from hiring in-house employees, which can be cost-prohibitive. Freelancers, who work from developing countries often charge less because of low-value currencies. Hence, small businesses prefer to work with them.
But Managing global virtual teams is a challenge. Automation helps them face this challenge. There are plenty of tools to facilitate remote delivery of work. Affordable business cloud platforms are just a click away and enable virtual team members to access all sorts of development and troubleshooting solutions.
For team management, there are several tools like Basecamp, Sprintly, Clickmeeting, Workflowmax etc. These tools ease communication and smoothen up the completion and delivery of work. A crucial aspect of virtual team management is giving team members secured access to customer data. Plenty of cutting-edge tools are there that seamlessly integrate with business servers to secure virtual access.
WiFi access automation
Giving free access to WiFi hotspot comes with a laundry-list of benefits. The major benefits include:
? Speed up event registration
? Tracking customer behavior
? Personalized brand experience
Some people feel skeptical about free WiFi. But many would give away their contact details to access a WiFi hotspot for free. By placing a registration page, a small business can collect user data. Then they can target those users for sales. Many retail outlets are already doing it. Automation makes it fairly easy for them to set up a registration page.
People use WiFi to log into social networks or browse the web. Either way, WiFi hotspot providers can gather user data. By analyzing the data clusters, they can understand behavior patterns of users. Again automation comes to their rescue. Automated tools can predict the likelihood of users becoming customers.
The transition from a neutral web user to loyal customer requires personalized experience of the brand. Automation is again the buzzword. Marketing automation renders personalization and enhanced targeting.
It’s hard to believe, but so much can be achieved with WiFi automation.
Employee satisfaction and retention
Small businesses heavily depend on their employees. If competent employees leave the organization, finding their replacements may take time and the delivery of the work may get delayed. Automation retains employees and increases their level of workplace satisfaction.
Along with that, automation also boosts employee morale. As automation reduces human errors, identifying employee productivity becomes easier. Automated tracking tools increase the transparency. Employees can tally how many hours they have worked and how much they have been paid.
Automation is agnostic to business scale and size. But small businesses need it more than large businesses. The biggest worry of a small business is to keep its operating expenses under the margin of affordability. Automation assists small businesses in that pursuit and provides them with ample opportunities to grow.
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Adam Frankel is President and CEO of Frankel Interactive, a leading South Florida digital agency specializing in custom websites development, ecommerce development and digital marketing. For over 15 years he's been working with businesses and government agencies to bring their organizations online in order to build brand awareness, communicate with stakeholders, generate leads and drive sales. His belief is that all businesses need to keep up with technological trends including the continual transition from desktop to mobile, search engine algorithms changes, and social media engagement. His goal is to help them implement strategies to successfully compete in an ever crowding digital marketplace. When he isn't touting the benefits of web-based marketing, he enjoys fishing and spending time on the waters surrounding Miami with family and friends.