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Red toy robot writing on a blackboard with chalk, with text A Simple Guide To Zapier on the blackboard.

If you’re wondering what all the fuss about automation is then here’s our simple guide to Zapier. We will explain how it can save you hours of time that you can spend growing your business, being creative, or simply reading that book that you haven’t got around to doing because you’re too busy!

First things first, do you know how to say ‘Zapier’?  The best way to remember is that Zapier rhymes with ‘happier’, which is a great aide-memoire as you’ll be happier when you’ve saved yourself a ton of time from automating boring repetitive tasks!

 

What Is Zapier?

Zapier is an online application that allows you to configure connections or automations between applications.  This may sound like you need to be a super-geek but you really don’t; it’s a “no-code solution” which means that it’s aimed at non-technical people so as long as you know how to log into the apps you want to connect then anyone can do it.

In the world of IT, the interfaces between different pieces of software were typically a challenge, with both parties needing to specify the data exactly which was sent to and forth, generally coded by top tech whizzes.

Zapier is completely different.  It has done all the hard work for you.  It has programmed thousands of interfaces as pre-built integrations which means that all you have to do is provide the access.  For example, if you’re connecting your Xero accounting software to your Gmail then Zapier will ask you to log into both as part of the configuration so that it can securely save those credentials, allowing it to then send data from one to the other.

Your role is that of configuring the connection rather than coding it, meaning that anyone can do it.

 

What Is A Zap?

The process of setting up a ‘zap’ (a connection between two apps) is really simple and the interface takes you through it in plain language.  You’re simply asked for the ‘trigger’ which is how Zapier knows to do something and then the ‘action’ which is what it should do when that thing happens.

Here is an example : 

Screen print from the Zapier app showing a two-stage automation with New Activity In Strava triggering a Create Spreadsheet Row(s) in Google Sheets.

Image courtesy of Zapier

A zap is one of these workflows, a thing which is triggered by something which then goes on to do something else. So when this happens in one place, do this in another.

It can be a really simple two-step scenario like the example above or could involve more steps, including filters that only trigger the event if a particular thing is true.  In the above example, I could add a filter to say that only running activities should be stored in the Google Sheet, if I wanted to track those for a particular fitness challenge.

 

Which Applications Can Zapier Connect?

There are currently over 6,000 applications that can talk to each other via pre-built integrations using Zapier, including most of the everyday apps that we all use, and the list is growing every week. 

These apps include the Microsoft suite, including Outlook, Excel, Office 365, and Teams.  The Google suite is covered, including Sheets, Calendar, Forms, and Google Analytics.  Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  Finance packages such as Xero, Quickbooks Online, and Sage Business Cloud Accounting.  CRMs such as Salesforce, Zoho, Hubspot, and Pipedrive, project management tools such as Trello, Jira, and Asana, file storage such as DropBox, Google Drive, and Box, the list is endless!

 

Who Can Use Zapier?

The simple answer is that anyone can use Zapier.  If you’re a business owner or your job means you do a lot of repetitive tasks that you think could be automated then it’s ideal for you.  If you’re a VA (Virtual Assistant) then it’s ideal for task management, social media posting, and collaborating with clients.  If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, you can automate your client onboarding and projects, as well as, your clients’ bookkeeping processes. If you struggle to manage your email inbox then there’s a good chance it can be kept under control with a few well-designed zaps.  If your to-do list is overflowing or disorganised then automations might help.

Our mantra is ‘work smarter, not harder’ and Zapier is the best way to achieve this!

 

 

What Are The Benefits Of Zapier?

Having Zapier in your life brings so many benefits.  For a start, you can forget about some of the mundane tasks you do in the knowledge that they have been automated.  This increases efficiency, saves time, and removes human error caused by mistyping or forgetting a step of the process.  You will be so much more productive and be able to concentrate on the core tasks in your business rather than the more menial ones.

 

Do I Need The Paid Version Of Zapier?

To get started with Zapier we would recommend trying the free version.  This allows you to configure up to five zaps which is a great way to see how easy it is to configure.  There is a limit of 100 tasks per month (a task is an action that happens as a result of a trigger) which should be plenty when you’re first starting out.  The free Zapier plan only allows single-step zaps, but new users probably wouldn’t need to create complex, multi-step workflows.

If you want to progress then the paid versions start at $19.99/month (approx. £15.43) and rise depending on how many zaps, tasks, and features you want.

Paid plan features include using Premium apps (such as Salesforce and Xero), data formatters, filters, custom logic paths, and auto replay.

Click here to check out Zapier’s pricing plans.

 

Where Can I Find Examples Of Zaps?

Zapier has a page which has links to hundreds of examples of zaps, including pre-built templates for note-taking, project management, email, backups, customer support, and social media.

What’s great about the Zapier examples is that they can be shared really easily as templates, meaning that you can set them up extremely quickly and just tweak them to meet your requirements.

Here is a link to the Zapier page.

We have also written a guide to some of our favourite zaps here: 5 Quick Wins With Zapier.

If you enjoyed our simple guide to Zapier then you can find out more from our handy videos.  These are quick explanations to some useful zaps and you can listen to Kelly, our Chief Problem Solver, describe each step.  Here is a link to the demo videos we have created so far: Watch our Zapier Demo Videos. 

More Zapier tips

If this has piqued your interest then we have some other Zapier tips and tricks you can use to connect your business apps.

    Our other resources

    We also have plenty of free resources:

    And finally, our founder / chief problem solver / chief automator Kelly Goss’ new book, Automate It with Zapier, is out now and is the most comprehensive Zapier guide on the market. It will get you up and running and to the stage where you can build and debug advanced automations. Buy your own copy today directly from publisher Packt using this link.  Or here are links to Amazon (.co.uk) and Amazon (.com) if you prefer.

    Check out our automation training programme

    And finally, if you’re really keen to transform your business using automation, then visit the Solvaa Automation Academy. Our signature training programme, ‘Simple Automation Blueprint: Zero to Hero’ is aimed at anyone who wants to learn the fundamentals of business process automation from the experts – a sure-fire way to recession-proof your business.

    It’s an 8-week blended learning course with on-demand videos, templates, resources and weekly group coaching sessions. And it’s more than just a Zapier course (although we do show you how to use Zapier like a pro) as you’ll learn about Process Mapping, Business Process Improvement and Business Process Management too – principles that can be applied to other areas of business too! 

    Whether you are a complete novice or have been using Zapier for a while, our programme is for you. It’s perfect for individuals and teams in micro, small and medium-sized businesses, including solopreneurs, consultants and freelancers. You’ll have access to our experts and can participate in live calls where you can ask all your burning questions, as well as hands-on workshops to keep you on track with implementing your new skills. We run regular cohorts so there will be an opportunity for everyone to participate.

    Our head trainer, Kelly Goss, is a specialist in business systems, process improvement and automation, and one of less than 100 Zapier Certified Experts in the world. Kelly has many years’ experience in optimising systems and processes, and implementing automations for clients and is now passing on her knowledge to students through our trademarked ‘4-Step Solvaa Automation Methodology®‘. 

    Find out more via our dedicated Solvaa Automation Academy website.

     Read more about how our certified experts use Zapier workflow automations to simplify processes and increase efficiency.

    Solvaa is a process and automation consultancy specialising in improving sales, operations and financial administration workflows. We help you to simplify and streamline existing processes, integrate your business tools to make data transfer more efficient and automate manual tasks to increase productivity. We are Zapier Certified Experts, Pipedrive Certified Experts and Xero Certified Advisors. 

    Contact us today to discuss how Solvaa can help you simplify, improve and automate all aspects of your business with Zapier to save you time, reduce costs and keep you agile as you grow.

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