5 Ways New Businesses Can Use Time-Saving Automations

Using automation helps you spend less time on mundane tasks and focus on what matters most: your clients. We'll show you 5 ways how.

Executive Summary

  • Business process automation can save all organizations time and money by eliminating error-prone manual efforts on routine tasks.
  • In some cases, it can take time to learn how to execute work before you can efficiently automate it. For tasks that are universal to all businesses, take advantage of the solutions below to save time and money immediately.
  • The sooner your implement process automation the better, before ingrained behaviors waste human capital resources.

If you’re starting a new business...well, first, congrats! You likely have a long new-business checklist of things that must be done. Once you’ve got a number of those underway, it’s time to start thinking through the logistics and inner workings of your day-to-day business.

Successful businesses tend to be those that have an eye for efficiencies and technologies that limit distractions and let them focus on what matters most: client relationships. Automating some of your most mundane and frequent tasks and common processes will set you up to spend less time poring over spreadsheets and more time with your customers. The following are some of the easiest systems to automate (no brainers, if you will).

What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” — Ralph Marston

1. Project Plans and Workflows

Save yourself the headache of manually creating a project calendar in Excel or emailing the same five people every time there's a project update. An online project management tool will do it for you and is invaluable in helping your team stay on the same page about every project that’s underway.

Start a project with a detailed brief, then assign tasks and set deadlines, schedule follow-ups—and have it all visible to anyone at any time. It’s a beautiful thing.

The best online project management tools also give you a birds-eye view into what everyone’s working on and where they are in the project timeline.

A few to consider:

  • Basecamp Simple and intuitive, yet powerful, with automated check-ins.
  • Asana Flexible to use how you want and designed to foster team connections
  • Teamwork Advanced options for complex projects
  • Trello Streamlined with a focus on helpful visual representations of projects
  • Monday Colorful and collaborative with quick insights

2. Visitor Management

Visitor management system greeting guests

How will you greet visitors and notify team members that someone’s here to see them? You could pay a receptionist salary and benefits, or you could go tech-forward with a digital reception solution that’s far more cost-effective and efficient. Even if you are going to have reception staff, a visitor management system helps speed things up and eliminate interruptions.

With a visitor management system, all you need is an iPad or tablet strategically placed in your reception area. Guests can then self-check-in, the system will notify staff that someone is there to see them and you’ll also have a digital visitor log that can sync with your CRM to make following up with customers easy.

In the time of COVID-19, you will also need to think through safety protocols to prevent illness from entering your workplace. Some digital reception solutions offer touchless temperature scanners and the ability to add health screening questionnaires for guests and staff.

3. Appointment Scheduling

Trust us, both you and your clients will be relieved when you give them an option to schedule an appointment or reservation with you online with a few clicks (no more phone tag!). And with technology that can automatically sync to your team’s calendars, this is the way to go.

The joy of scheduling software is that not only is the initial scheduling process automated, so are reminders, cancellations, rescheduling, and follow-ups.

A few to consider:

  • Acuity Scheduling Chic, clean interface that also accepts payments online
  • HoneyBook Tailored to creatives and freelancers with time-management tools baked in
  • Calendly Straightforward and easy to use and integrates with a full range of calendar apps
  • Thryv Robust options for a broader selection of client experience management
  • Schedulicity Stress-free setup, automated scheduling, payments, and marketing

4. File Storage

Gone are the days of allowing employees to save files to their hard drive and crossing your fingers that they remember to back things up once in a while. Today, most businesses store their files in a secure, cloud-based storage system, where they are always accessible and automatically backed up.

Some document storage software systems offer access to previous versions, file sharing capabilities, and commenting and collaboration options that can save your team time, too.

A few to consider:

  • Microsoft SharePoint Powerful for handling storage, workflow, collaboration, and organization
  • OnlyOffice Priced well for small businesses yet rich with features
  • eFileCabinet Great user interface that makes it easy to find everything
  • Dropbox A simple and affordable with a growing number of features

5. Bill Pay

Unfortunately, as a new business, you will have bills. (Bummer, we know.) But you can cut your accounts payable time significantly by using an automated bill-paying service. And we all know time is money.

There are abundant options on the market for bill paying and invoice management, and your own bank may well offer you this service as well, so check there first. Some software solutions will even help you automatically code invoices to the right budget line items, automate your internal approval system, and back everything up in the cloud. If you have regular payees among your contract vendors or suppliers, you may want to set up ACH debit payments.

A few to consider:

  • Bill.com Integrates with your accounting systems and is fully automated
  • Xero Helps you stay organized with invoices received and pay them on time
  • Nvoicepay Single electronic workflow lets you automate without touching payment data
  • Tipali Can handle global transactions and mass payments
  • Stampli Easy setup and ample choices of payment methods

Ready to check automated visitor management off your list? Let us give you a free demo of Greetly so you can see if it’s right for your business.

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