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Beginners' Guide to Business Automation

Working smarter, not harder is more than a common bit of advice. In fact, by integrating automation into your business practices, you can take more time in focusing on more important parts of operations. Business automation results in reduced waste in time and human resources on processes, which can save you money and help your company to grow. Business process management (BPM) involves regulating methods that you use. Business rules management (BRM) dictates the guidelines that you use for BPM. BPA (business process automation) involves making the most of the rules to enhance the efficiency of the process. Business automation, though, goes beyond simply BPM and BPA. It is a broad concept that can overwhelm even the most ardent entrepreneur. Here's how to break down automation to make it possible to use for your business, regardless of its size.

Surround Yourself With an Efficient Team

Your employees are your most important resource. You want to have efficient, trustworthy people as your core team to handle the critical tasks of your company. When you have a trusted group of managers for your central team, you can delegate tasks to them, freeing yourself from the need to micromanage your workers. In this manner, you can keep people at the forefront of managing your human resources instead of turning over such a delicate task to software programs.

By having an efficient team, you make your business run easier without your control. In a way, it automates the business for you, reducing how hard you have to keep work moving forward.

Centralize and Automate Communications

However, having an efficient team requires open communications between you and its members. With good communications, you can glean important information about operations without wasting time in the minutiae.

To avoid having loose ends, first, centralize all communications with your management staff. For instance, choose a single conferencing software and use only that for meetings. Doing so will prevent bloating computers with too many programs for meetings. Plus, you never have to worry about employees logging into the wrong program and missing important information.

By using a single meeting software program, you can record meetings and take notes in the same location. With one place for all information, communications become more efficient.

But, when it comes to communications, you don't have to feel obligated to micromanage the setup process for every meeting. In fact, you can automate meeting reminders sent out to participants through many programs.

Look for a program that will work with the scheduling software or calendar that you already use. For instance, Google Calendar allows you to schedule meetings and invite individuals based on a time that you have free. Zoom lets you send meeting reminders automatically to participants. Arrangr can schedule meetings based on when participants have available time. This software automates the process of meeting scheduling from setup through to the end of the meeting.

Don’t Be Afraid of Contracting Out Work

Don't take on tasks that you cannot do. Similarly, don't make your employees do everything for you. Contract out specialized tasks such as social media management, copywriting, and blog posting to freelancers or outside companies.

By turning over these tasks to others, you get more professional results and no longer have to manage them in-house. Plus, you do not have to hire full-time employees to do these jobs. By hiring contractors and only paying for the time they work for you, you will save money over the cost of a full-time worker.

Plus, contractors are professionals who dedicate their time to constantly improving specific skill sets to remain viable in a highly competitive market. Therefore, you can easily find high-quality writers, website managers, and social media creators to handle your tasks.

Give Robotic Tasks to Machines

Some tasks are repetitive and time-wasting. First, evaluate your business for these robotic tasks, then find ways to turn them over to automation.

For instance, instead of composing individual emails welcoming new clients, create a form message once and send that as an automated message when you get a new customer.

Another means of automation is through using scheduling software to connect to your payroll for automated payment of employees. While you can have someone in accounting review the results before finalizing the payments, using software to automate the task will save a considerable amount of time.

Another means of using software to reduce repetitive work is by submitting reminder messages to clients who need to make payments. Whether they have a payment coming up or are past due on a bill, these types of reminder messages do not always need a human to send them out. By automating the process, you can remind your customers to pay while freeing workers from the mundane task.

Ask for Feedback

When making major changes to your business processes, frequently request feedback from your employees. They can let you know if the changes help to make your operations more or less efficient. Getting input from your workers will also help you to identify other areas of your business that could benefit from automation.

Be Patient

Throughout the process of change, you and your employees must have patience. For instance, you may experience some setbacks when integrating new software into your processes. However, after fixing any technical issues, you should see improvements in efficiency. If you don't, consider another option.

Automating your business is not a process that has a single endpoint. In fact, you will continuously need to find ways to make your BPA better. As new technologies emerge, you may find that the ones you currently use lack the efficiency that you need. Don't be afraid to upgrade, if it will improve automation.

Increase Efficiency Not Effort

There are ways to cut wasted time and effort in your business practices. Start by evaluating how you manage your processes and workflow. Then, find ways to turn over the most mundane tasks to automation. When you focus on trimming out waste, you and your employees will have more time to improve operations and grow your business.