Small Business & Startups

Top 5 Best Business Automation Tools For Your Small Business

By June 6, 2015 No Comments

acuitycomplete small business automation tools

  • “What are the best automation apps for entrepreneurs?”
  • “Do you have any small business automation tips?”
  • “Small business payroll and bookkeeping – how do you do that?”
  • “How can we automate more, to save time and free up resources?”
  • “How can we be more productive with our time?”
If you have ever found yourself asking one, or all, of these questions before, you are not alone.  We get tons of these questions from entrepreneurs and small business owners everyday.  Why? Because if you are an entrepreneur or part of a small business, you probably wear dozens of hats making time a scare resource. Which is why finding tools that help you automate your day are so important to grow your business.

 

So, since we know you are busy, we researched far and wide to find the top 6 business automation tools that will help grow your small business.  Take a look below…we even placed them in the order that you will need them!

Acuity - office atuomation tools1. Managing Accounting Records –

Xero or Quickbooks Online

Deciding on what accounting tool you will use for your business is one of the first administrative system decisions as an entrepreneur. Picking the right tool, especially come tax season, will make your business processes far easier and more manageable in the long run.
Some entrepreneurs get enamored with the simplicity, cost, or features in solutions like Wave, Freshbooks, or Excel. These are fantastic tools, but when it comes to a complete accounting solution, they are not going to offer all of the automation and features you need to scale.
For 90% of small businesses,  you simply need to keep your core accounting systems in a reliable, cloud-based solution that allows you to integrate directly with your bank accounts and credit cards. This way you can manage a single tool, rather than trying to keep multiple in sync, manually.  And the best part is that both Xero and Quickbooks Online are extremely affordable and scale as you do. You can get nearly everything you need for $30/month (~$400/year).

2. Contracts & Legal Documents – HelloSign

When it comes to legal documents and contracts, finding a legally-binding automation tool can be overwhelming and often expensive. So, if you are like many small businesses, you may be using the good ‘ol fashioned PDF to send and receive contracts. This is manageable, but not scalable. Where are you saving every signed contract? How can you automate the process? Can you save a template? Wouldn’t it be nice to have all contracts housed in one location? All of these are questions are answered beautifully by, HelloSign.
HelloSign automates your entire contract-signing process. You can send to just yourself, yourself and others or an entire group if multiple people need to review. And the best part? You are alerted with notifications every step of the way. Getting a signed contract is one of the most exhilarating aspects of small business. Because each new contract means your business is growing. HelloSign alerts you every time a contract is sent, opened and signed. Each night you get a summary of how many are left out for signature, and how many were completed that day.
HelloSign also stores all of your contracts so you can avoid searching through hundreds of old emails to try to find the final, signed version. It is all organized and in a single platform.  Cost ~$15/month per user (~$200/year).

3. Scheduling Appointments – Calendly

You’re busy. So busy you may feel most days that your calendar is managing you and you are not in control of your own life. Agree? Good news, it may be time to automate your calendar.
If you are on gmail, the best tool around is Calendly. Unfortunately, their Outlook integration isn’t finished yet (it’s coming!), but if you are on gmail you get to take your life back. Calendly allows you to begin managing your calendar and takes the awkward back-and-forth out of scheduling meetings. You are able to allocate time slots that are open for others and slots that are closed for your own productivity. Rather than trying to match calendars, you can simply send your Calendly link to the other person, and they can schedule during a time that has an open slot available.  Once someone selects a time/date, Calendly will automatically update your Google calendar, taking the work off of you to remember to add the meeting or send an invite.
Having a tool that manages your calendar is an unbelievable advantage as a small business owner.  You can try it out for free, but we recommend the $10/month ($120/year) to the full use of the tool.

AcuityComplete-Bookkeeping Automation

4. Automated Bookkeeping – Acuity

Bookkeeping tends to be the last thing on the minds of busy entrepreneurs. You need to be focused on growing your business, not on managing the tedious tasks of making sure your books are up to date. In fact, we often hear one of two common issues: You are either 1) spending 4-10+ hours each month on payroll and bookkeeping and you need that time back on your core business (and honestly you want your weekends back) or 2) bookkeeping hasn’t been touched in months.
Some entrepreneurs turn to family or friends to help pitch in, but as your business grows, this puts strain on your relationships and you may start feeling the weight of ‘favors’ running low.
On the flip side, tax CPAs are usually a good option, but you better be ready for high rates. And keep in mind, you may have a hard time getting ahold of them from between February 1 – April 15…they tend to be busy on a few other things around this time!
This is where Acuity steps in to fill the bookkeeping gap for your business. Whether you need simple transactional management, or payroll and bill pay, Acuity is the one-stop-shop for all of your finance needs. The other massive benefit of using the Acuity bookkeeping automation service is in the process. You will have detailed reports and processes documented every month for you in your dedicated workflow tool.  This type of documentation is invaluable come tax season.
You will also be paired with a reliable and dedicated bookkeeper that acts as your finance partner as you grow and scale. You can even customize your plan to fit your exact bookkeeping needs.
(Not sure what bookkeeping service you need most? Jump to #6 to get some insights.) Cost  $300/month (~$4,000/year to start).

rescuetime-acuitycomplete-automation5. Save Your Time – Rescue Time

As you research different automation tools, you may want insights into which tool will be most beneficial to your time and business. Rescue Time can provide these insights for you and your employees. Simply download this app onto your computer and let it work. Each week it will give you a summary of your activities and break down the time you spent on different sites and projects. Rescue Time offers detailed reports on how you spend your time each day so you can see exactly where automation is needed most. Rescue Time even lets you set goals for the day to track and improve your productivity.
Rescue Times sends you an update email summary report every week giving you a visual picture of your day. Want some competition added in the mix, good news, Rescue Time even scores your productivity. You can attempt to beat your score each week by being more productive and efficient. One user told us – “I didn’t realize how much time I was actually wasting – this saved me hours every week.” Cost: $9/month (~$72/year)
When you begin paying attention to your time each day, it becomes evident that automation tools are necessary to help you grow and scale faster. You are capable, but you shouldn’t have to do anything. Figure out where you are spending the most time, and determine which tools you can use to automate and streamline your business process.
What are some of your favorite business automation tools? Let us know in the comments. Want more tips to grow your startup into a tech empire? Check out our eBook today!

Tax Deadlines to Keep in Mind +
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