Running a local service business takes a lot of work. And all that work equals lots and lots of time spent at the business. However, it doesn’t necessarily need to stay that way. By using tools to start automating many of your typical office and marketing functions you will begin to gain back time for your customers, your family, or for yourself.
Still not convinced? Here are 4 benefits that come with automating:
Every small to medium business owner knows that one of their most precious commodities is their own time. If you run a shop, do your own marketing, invoicing, and still try to make time for your customers, you probably need as much time as you can get. The number one benefit to automating tasks is the time you will save no longer doing everything manually.
List, and lists, and more lists pile up on desks to remind us all of the many tasks waiting to be completed. But if you don’t stay on top of it, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Automating as many of your office tasks as possible helps create streamlined and easy organization. If it’s automated you don’t need lists to remind you to do it!
Now that you have more time and you’ve cleaned up some organizational nightmares, you might be able to focus on what you do best – your business.
With extra time comes extra opportunity to make money. That last minute client that always calls 10 minutes before closing? Now you can fit them in without worrying about how to get your office tasks finished.
The last great reason for automating as many tasks as possible is the stress relief it brings. Trying to remember every small task necessary to keep a business running can wear you down. It’s like a small trickling stream that wears down the mountain. It feels good to free yourself from that nagging background feeling.
Get as many bills as possible on autopay. If you’re worried about not having a float to cover all your bills at once, stagger the payments. However, if you can swing it, try to automate this entire process.
If you have a hard time remembering all of your bills, or can’t manage automating them individually, look up services like Bill.com to help you get organized.
While most invoices can’t be entirely automated, try to get as smooth a process as possible – including leaving behind any paper invoicing. Make it easy to create an invoice and even easier for your customers to pay it. Try to make sure their payment will trigger your invoice closing itself out. Even better, have your invoice close automatically on payment AND correctly categorize itself.
Consider using a cloud based invoicing software, and choose wisely. Make sure the system fits with the type of service you provide. If you just need general invoicing, check out Quickbooks Online.
Almost all businesses have supplies they need on a regular basis. Pay attention to your purchasing habits for a few months, and then choose a service to help you automatically re-order. This can be as complex as automatically ordering your custom parts, or as easy as getting a steady flow of paper towels from Amazon (look up their Subscribe and Save program). However, if you have patterns in your purchasing, take advantage of that knowledge and automate the process.
All local service businesses know the importance of customer reviews online. And most know the pain of trying to get customers to leave one. There are now plenty of services to help automate that process, so take advantage of them.
Not only will automation save you the time of contacting the customers for reviews, it means you will likely receive more reviews in general. A win-win situation.
When pursuing marketing options, always ask about automation processes. A highly manual solution might not be the best option. After all, will you have time to dedicate to the process? Instead, make sure that a smooth and easy process happens from the first time a customer hears about you to the time they become a steady repeat customer.
Finally, try to automate your posting habits on social media outlets. When browsing online at home, or during quick breaks, make sure to save any articles that are relevant and interesting to your business. Once a week or so look over anything you’ve found, choose which ones you would like to post, and use a service like Buffer, Oktopost, or HootSuite to set up curated posts that will publish automatically.