Everyone has the same 24 hours in their day. It’s how we use them that counts. As a small business owner, you’re usually juggling a million tasks at once. It’s your responsibility to optimize your time spent on each task. Nowadays new technologies are paving the way for business automation. Whether you’re a one-man-army or a Fortune 500 enterprise, there are a plethora of tools and strategies at your disposal that simply optimizes your time. That said here are five ways you can optimize your small business operations:
Utilize Digital Accounting Tools
Small business owners often overlook the amount of time it takes to handle their accounting. If you’re still sending paper invoices and receiving checks in the mail, you’re wasting valuable time. Many of the most popular online payments solutions offer digital accounting and payment tools like online invoicing, expense reporting, and even tax filing. Whether you’re managing them yourself or outsourcing it to an accountant these tools will save you both time and money.
Use an Email Scheduling Tool
On average I probably see over 50 emails coming in and out of my inboxes daily. Yes most of them are spam or cold emails but nonetheless, it takes time to manage them. That all said I strongly recommend using an email scheduling tool to help you manage your emails.
These tools allow you to prepare your message and schedule it to be sent on a specific time and date. Whether you’re following up with clients or prospecting new ones this is a great way to efficiently do so. Let’s say you have to email 30 new prospects tomorrow morning but are slammed all day with meetings. An email scheduler will allow you to schedule all 30 emails to be sent out at a specific time in the morning.
If you’re a sales heavy organization you can even utilize an outreach tool like Outreach.io if you want to automate this process even further. Imagine all the time you’d save yourself if you could automate your emails!
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Streamline Customer Support
Depending on the nature of your business it may make sense to integrate with a customer support platform to streamline complaints and inquiries. Platforms like Salesforce Help Desk and ZenDesk are automated tools that will significantly reduce the workload for your customer support team. Even if you only have one support agent these platforms can be the difference between satisfied and dissatisfied customers.
Email marketing is an essential task for all small business owners. While it’s important to maintain it also can be very time-consuming. Services like SendGrid and MailChimp provide affordable and effective email marketing tools for businesses of all sizes. You can create branded and beautifully designed marketing campaigns that will surely engage your customers.
Social Media Updates and Engagement
Social media is a fantastic way to engage new and current customers. However, posting content and responding to comments can take up a large portion of your day. Thanks to tools like Hootsuite and Buffer you can schedule posts and social media updates well in advance so you can focus your time on scaling your business.
As a small business owner, you need to look for ways to optimize your operations. If you notice a department working inefficiently there’s likely a reason for that. It’s your job to find out why and fix it. For starters, you can utilize the above five strategies to optimize your small business operations so you can spend time wherever you’re needed most.