Photo: Steven Depolo


Speaking generally, a small business is just that – small. You may have a decent number of employees, or you may run the company yourself, but one thing that will benefit you in either situation is automating your processes. Automation initially makes us think of automatic – no need for people, no work to be done – but it’s far more involved than that. Automating the more hands-off aspects of your business can be a simple matter when you get down to it, so let’s take a look at some of the things we can do.
A lot – if not most of – the information on the Internet is automatically gathered nowadays. Systems and algorithms gather reports, collate data, and give you the results. You can use a smaller version of this tool for your own purposes, turning normally time-intensive processes into simple matters.

For those who run a small business with a heavy web presence, your site analytics¬†are extremely important. There’s several tools and utilities out there that help you aggregate all your site’s information into a coherent, easy-to-read visual display. That way, you’re able to see the numbers that are important to you at a glance, and you won’t have to worry about unrelated statistics.

Photo: Richard

Photo: Jason Howle

We’ve spoken before about social media being a key advertising and networking opportunity, and automating some of your postings can help take the burden off your mind. For instance, setting Facebook or Twitter to automatically notify your followers when a new blog post, newsletter, or product comes out is a simple matter, and it saves you hours of time in the long-run.

Speaking of newsletters (or blogs), automating their distribution can be immensely helpful. Several utilities allow you to schedule sending times, subscriber lists, templates – and that’s barely scratching the surface. If you’re so inclined, you can dig deep into every nook and cranny of that e-mail and edit every aspect of it. Robust systems let you take control of only the things that are important to you.

Beyond these, there’s tools for every facet of business – from customer support, to billing, to task management. If you have the desire and the drive, you’ll be up and running autonomously in no time. Part of your experience in learning autonomy can be delegation – if you have staff members who are particularly versed in a certain area, use them to set up the tools or utilities you plan to use. They can even teach you how to do it yourself, freeing themselves up from a menial task in the future and increasing their own productivity.

Photo: Jason Goto

Photo: Ralph Krause

Automating parts of your business can be difficult, depending on the size of your business or the level of complexity of what you regularly produce. It may take time, so don’t give up! The time saved in the long run will be far more worth it than the time you would spend regularly performing the tedious task. The old adage still holds true: “Time is money.” Even if you’re convinced you can do something better or quicker than an employee or computer, your time is still invaluable to your business. Increasing your expenses to pay salary or software costs will only work to your advantage – it frees up your schedule for more crucial tasks, and takes the weight of responsibility off your chest. Give it a try!

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