Work Smarter (Not Harder) Using Top Business Automation Tools
As technology advances and machines become smarter, the “automation revolution” is changing the way we conduct business. Business automation is especially useful for those looking to scale with limited resources and cash flow. During this critical growth stage, entrepreneurs should be looking to automate as much as possible. Because let’s face it, people are great – but they are expensive.
“We rarely see it, but automation is all around us already. And, as we enter the age of digital business, there will be lots more of it going on. Gartner agrees. They report that by 2019, 75% of enterprises will have more than six diverse automation technologies within their IT management portfolios, up from less than 20% in 2014.” – Gartner & Automic
Here are 12 smart business automation tools entrepreneurs looking to scale a business should adopt:
In our opinion, GSuite is a business automation tool entrepreneurs should invest in right out of the gate. From email to word processing, spreadsheets to slide decks, this suite of intelligent apps is critical for any scaling organization. GSuite helps teams stay connected in the cloud and innovate faster. If you’re looking for a tool to eliminate busyness and promote productivity, GSuite is a great place to start.
Pro Tip: The magic of automation comes when you use the apps together. For example, if you have data living in a Google Sheet that you would like to present to an investor, GSuite allows you to automatically populate a slide deck with that same information. Done and done.
Slack is a tool we use internally at Acuity for efficient team communication. Their strong integrations help us avoid wasted time switching between apps. We also love that Slack is constantly releasing new and exciting features, like bots, to optimize our internal communication. For example, with just a few clicks we can launch a poll to get answers to questions like “What new service offering should we release?” or “Where should we go for lunch today?”
Pro Tip: Be sure to set up custom responses to common internal questions in Slack to save time. For example, at Acuity, we set up a custom bot so that if a team member asks “what’s our rep’s name at XYZ company?” the answer is automated.
Social Media Tools
Getting the word out about your product or service is an essential aspect of scaling a business. Marketing automation tools like Buffer or Hootsuite can help you schedule, publish, and analyze your social media posts, all in one place. This automation can help you build and engage your audience faster. Hootsuite allows your to delegate tasks to other users, making it a stronger option for teams.
Pro Tip: Install the browser extension and mobile apps so that you can easily add curated content to your queue.
SalesLoft is a tool we use internally here at Acuity (shoutout to fellow Atlanta-based business). It essentially enables our sales team to better manage communications with a prospect. We love it because it allows our team to have an authentic voice while saving time in managing those relationships.
Close.io is another business automation tool that’s great for outbound sales teams, automatically synchronizing team and prospect conversations across multiple mediums. Whether you’re chatting with a prospect over text, email, or phone, Close.io keeps a repository of all the conversations to streamline your sales process.
Pro Tip: take advantage of these tools’ automated reporting. Scaling a business requires constant optimization and this actionable analytics can help you do just that.
If you know us at Acuity, you probably know that we are major proponents of accounting automation. Traditional, offline accounting can be a major time suck for entrepreneurs looking to scale. Xero and Quickbooks Online are both great options for those looking to streamline their financial accounting function.
Bill.com: If you want to eliminate the need for printing checks, stuffing envelopes, and filing away vendor bills, Bill.com has some awesome automation features that will help you eliminate the mess. You’ll get paid 2x-3x faster while spending 50% less time approving and paying bills.
InvoiceSherpa: Getting paid is a crucial part of scaling a business. If you’re looking to automate your accounts receivable, this tools is a must. InvoiceSherpa plugs right into your existing accounting system to help with your follow up efforts.
Pro Tip: Partner up with cloud accounting experts, like Acuity, to get higher ROI on these accounting automation tools.
Other Automation Tools
Perhaps you’re working with a ton of different web apps on a regular basis and are looking to automate a workflow. If the integration doesn’t already exist, check out tools like Zapier or IFTTT. These tools make it easy to connect your apps (even for nontechies) to build custom automations and workflows.
Scaling a business isn’t easy, but automation certainly helps. Hopefully these are some great tools to get you started on your journey to scale. Know of a tool we missed? Comment below!