Traditionally, business automation was a reserve for corporations and other large enterprises. Small businesses saw automation as complicated, costly, and even unnecessary. However, the digital era has brought unprecedented levels of competition, and customers being spoilt for choice, demand the very best from your business.
Fortunately, with advances in automation technologies, including their access and feasibility, small businesses can now automate their key business processes, thereby eliminating time-consuming and often error-prone manual processes. So how do you devise an automation strategy for your small business?
Decide which tasks to automate
Whereas you can automate nearly every task, some are usually not important or worth the cost and effort. Therefore, as simple as it sounds, deciding on the specific business tasks you will automate is critical to the success of any automation strategy. Generally, however, you want to automate time-consuming, repetitive and error-ridden tasks.
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Choose appropriate automation tools
Once you have decided which specific tasks of your small business you find relevant to automate, you need to choose the appropriate tools to implement the automation. This is important to ensure that you match the type of automation, or indeed the level of automation, with your personal expectations and business process goals.
Presently, several platforms for automating tasks and processes of small businesses are available, accessible and feasible. The task type you decide to automate, including its process and requirements, should help you make the right choice of automation tool. Generally, some tools are all-in-one, while others are standalone.
Set the targets
Your small business is a profit-making entity, not a charity. You, therefore, do not want to invest in automation tools and spend time creating new workflows if, at the end of the day, the effort does not translate to business profits. Setting targets is consequently critical to getting the best out of your automation strategy to boost business growth.
Are you looking to match the performance of your team so that you focus their numbers and efforts on other creative tasks? Is your goal to eliminate costly process errors, resource wastage or inaccuracies? Is it to increase sales? Then set your automation targets accordingly.
Track and refine your automation processes
After finalizing which business tasks or processes to automate, choosing the appropriate automation tools to carry out the automation, and set business targets for your automation efforts, you must track the automation results and keep refining the processes. This will enable you to know the impact it is having on your business.
For example, if your automation tool and efforts allow for multiple, maybe even indefinite task completion or if it facilitates synchrony of tasks, consider tweaking your workflows or task scheduling. You could easily triple your earnings or increase your cost savings by considerable amounts.
Instill an automation culture in the workplace
Previously, your employees were familiar with manual processes and had perhaps gotten used to them. Now with the automation coming in, they will naturally take a while to adapt. Nevertheless, you should instill an automation culture in the workplace to make it as natural to employees as manual processes previously were.
You must get everyone up to speed with the automation, individually and collectively. The automation culture should root in the workplace so much that everybody thinks of what best to automate to increase operational efficiency or how else to improve the running automation processes to accomplish more tasks.