Everyone is talking about automation in business but many people aren’t sure what it actually means and what the benefits are. It sounds really complicated and time-consuming, and (even worse) expensive! Who would actually bother finding out? We want to bust those myths because, actually, anyone can ‘do’ automation and you don’t need to be a technical whizz or have a computer science degree.
We love Zapier which is a tool that anyone can use and it doesn’t even cost much; in fact, you can get started for free! You don’t have to tackle your entire business at once either, you can do it gradually over time, and it’s surprisingly quick to get started.
So, what are you waiting for?
Maybe you need to be convinced about what the benefits of automation in business actually are. If that’s the case then read on…
Business automation increases productivity
No matter what type of business you’re in, whether you’re a solopreneur, a small business owner or an employee, it’s always good when you get more stuff done in less time, isn’t it? There are never enough hours in the day, so getting more done – or even better, getting a computer to do it for you – seems like a no-brainer.
Computers are very good at doing what they’re told and don’t complain if their tasks are boring and repetitive. Humans, however, sometimes forget steps in a process, mistype information and are prone to errors when they’re bored of doing the same thing all day. That’s where automation is perfect, replacing manual repetitive tasks with slick, streamlined solutions.
This means that the people can get on with the fun stuff, and be more productive by focusing on the tasks that really matter for the success of an organisation.
Reducing costs using automation
If a business is growing quickly then one option is to hire more staff to take account of the increase in workload. However, using business automation will save money from salaries, recruitment costs, taxes and pension contributions. You won’t have to buy more computers, stationery, desks or other office equipment for these extra resources either.
Do you sometimes lose leads because you didn’t have time to follow them up? That’s like pouring money down the drain, but automation can help. If you automate the actions for a new lead that an administrator would usually undertake then you can make more sales and increase profits.
Better customer service
There are many ways of improving customer service using business automation. Client onboarding is a great example, where a manual process can be quite onerous for staff members. If there is an email sequence, standard documents, contracts, payments and other administration required, then mistakes can happen if it’s left to a human. These types of tasks are perfect for automation and will give your new client a brilliant experience. And you will sleep at night knowing that nothing was forgotten and that every new client had the same, standard, high-quality welcome.
Another fantastic example of better customer service uses the translation functionality of Zapier. If your support team is based around the world with each office dealing with a different language then you can receive a support request, instruct Zapier to translate it and then send it to the right location. All this happens in the blink of an eye so your customer will get a response really quickly. You can read about how this has been used in a real-life scenario then read this Zapier article.
Better employee engagement and staff retention
Using business automation will enrich the working day for your staff, reducing the time they spend on boring repetitive tasks and making more time for creativity, for brainstorming new ideas and increasing sales.
If you involve your team in the automation process, from brainstorming ideas about which procedures to automate, to the selection of new software, if needed, then they will feel empowered and engaged.
If your employees learn how to configure automation using Zapier then it gives them new skills which will make them feel valued and important. It will likely spark ideas for streamlining more processes which will improve the business even further.
Better reporting and analytics
Whether you have a dedicated data analyst or produce management information yourself, it makes sense to use business automation to gather the data you need. Tools like Zapier integrate with apps like Google Analytics, accounting packages like Xero and QuickBooks, CRMs like SalesForce and Pipedrive, and e-commerce solutions like WooCommerce and Shopify. You can send all the data from these systems into spreadsheets or databases automatically, so that it is ready for your reporting cycles. You can use macros or database triggers to do the sums automatically too, to save even more time.
Reduced errors and fewer manual tasks
Many businesses have a bunch of software packages that don’t talk to each other. This means that staff have to rekey data from one system into another, which is time-consuming, boring and prone to error.
Examples of manual tasks which can be automated include:
- Sales cadences for new leads; you can automate a series of emails, SMS texts or direct messages to follow up potential new business.
- Creating tasks or actions in project management software when another action has been completed.
- Reposting social media content on multiple platforms.
- Creating social media posts when a new blog is published.
- Keying data from web forms into your CRM.
- Copying e-commerce sales into your accounting system.
- Setting up a diary appointment and video conference meetings when a customer fills in a contact form.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The possibilities are endless and tools like Zapier integrate thousands of apps, allowing you to connect all your software systems.
Want to find out more?
If you’d like to find out more about automation then we have plenty of free resources:
- Our free e-book is the perfect introduction to business automation.
- Our YouTube channel features our Chief Problem Solver, Kelly showing you how easy it is to automate various business processes.
- Our Zapier functions cheat sheet delves into the powerful inbuilt helper apps which can supercharge your automations
- Kelly’s 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.
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.