Wednesday 10 September, 2014
Automation is a lifesaver when you run an online business. It frees you from many different tasks so that you can focus on more important things. Here are some tips on automating.
The Tools You Use
First, take a look at all of the tools you already use. Is there any way you can automate some aspect of what you do there? For example, if you’re using a blogging platform like Blogger or WordPress, there are many automation features available that you may not know about. Tinker around with services you already use to see what they offer.
There are many tools available for organizing your files. This is a task that can really eat away at your time. Tools like Windows’ Actions or Automator for Mac let you perform functions like renaming files in batches, cropping batches of images, and extracting specific chunks of text from files.
The Sales Process
As much of your sales process as possible should be automated. Customers should be able to shop and make purchases without you doing anything at all. If you’re selling digital products, they should be able to download without your help. If your sales process isn’t automated, it’s difficult for your business to scale. When orders start coming in at high volumes, you’ll be swamped.
The only area of sales you don’t want to automate is your customer service. Whenever a person has a problem, you need to be there.
Automating Social Media
You can automate much of your social media presence. This includes things like accepting friend requests and managing a schedule for your posts. But social media is an area where you need to be careful. Even if you automate some aspects, you can’t automate everything. Responding to messages, leaving comments and responding to comments are three examples. Social media marketing thrives on the human touch, so you need to be there.
Finances on Autopilot
One of the best aspects to automate is your finances. You can put your bill paying, invoicing and receiving all on autopilot. These tasks cause much unnecessary headache. You can also create a budget for your business through automation using software programs that manage your business finances.
Automating your data back-up is a great idea not only because it removes the task from your list of things to do, but also helps to keep your data safe. Many people who run their own businesses fail to back-up at all.
Choosing Automation Tools
There are tons of tools out there to help you automate. Instead of recommending a few, here are some tips on choosing the right ones for you:
* Try free first and premium later. If there’s a free program you can use that suits your needs, you’ll save.
* Use free trials. For any premium program you’re considering, give it a test drive. There’s much about a program you simply can’t know unless you’ve tried it.
* Read reviews. Try to find reviews from people who have used the program for a long time. Beware of fake reviews sponsored by the software company itself. Pay especially close attention to the negative points.