Small business automation: how to grow your SME

Growing a small business can be a difficult, and at times, overwhelming task. Thankfully, some resources can help make the process easier and more attainable. Automation software is one such resource.

By automating routine manual processes, small business owners gain the ability to scale efficiently. All without having to waste the valuable time of both themselves and their employees.

Experts in the field believe that automation may potentially impact every significant industry in the near future. Small business owners looking to grow their businesses, then, can benefit from an understanding of process automation software.

Here’s a closer look at small business automation and how it can help you grow, adapt, and become more efficient.

What is business automation?

Business automation is the act of using technology to automate repetitive tasks. In a small business setting, this could mean using a piece of software to (for example), parse incoming emails, process forms, extract data from documents, and so on.

Though some small business owners may feel like business automation technology is expensive or complicated, it’s more attainable than they think. And it has a drastic impact on operations.

Indeed, by taking the initiative to incorporate automation into their processes, small business owners make growing an easier task to accomplish. But how?

The benefits of small business automation

Automation enables you to scale a business faster and more efficiently. You can, for instance:

  • Save money on labour: Automation reduces the workload of your human employees. It handles the most repetitive and otherwise time-consuming tasks. So, small business owners can use less human resource to perform the same processes.
  • Free up time: By automating admin that used to take an inordinate amount of time to complete, small business owners and their employees can free up time to channel elsewhere. In this way, workers can use their time more productively.
  • Become more efficient: Small business owners can track the efficiency of both certain processes and their employees with automation technology. Being able to figure out where you can streamline and speed operations is a tremendous benefit.

How small business automation can be applied to the 6 P’s of marketing

The six P’s of marketing are important tools for business owners to use when growing their businesses. These are:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion
  • People
  • Presentation

When combined with the power of automation, these ideas take on new potency. Here are some ways small business automation and the six P’s of marketing can help catapult you to the next level.

• Product

Small business owners can use automation to track and analyse the purchasing habits of their customers. In this way, they can put more time and energy into producing products or services that they know customers will buy.

• Price

With the use of automation software, small business owners can get a clear picture of how to price their products and services. Rather than going through the painstaking process of manually looking up competitor prices, automation applications can streamline the task. It can provide all the information you need – quickly and continually.

• Place

Placing products in the right spot for consumers to buy, such as online or in a physical store, can be a more difficult task than you might imagine. With the use of automation technology, small business owners can test and track which placements are getting the most purchases. So, they can put more energy and resources into selling their products in the most optimised way.

• Promotion

For a small business owner in charge of overseeing day-to-day operations, it can be hard to find time for business promotion. With the help of business automation tools, you can have promotional emails sent out to customers and prospective customers regularly.

• People

People are an important part of the process of selling products and services. Rather than have employees juggling several small, routine tasks that make them less present, automation can free them to be more engaged with customers and/or key projects. So, business automation can help you focus solely on providing customers with exceptional service.

• Presentation

Similar to product placement, it can be difficult for busy small business owners to find time for analysis on how product presentation impacts acquisition. But by using automation tools, they can quickly and efficiently gain insights into which presentations resonate more with customers.

Businesses benefitting from automation

It can be helpful to know real world examples of businesses benefiting from automation. So, here are some examples:

  • Audi

Being one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, Audi had an extremely large amount of finance application paperwork that employees had to sift through and organise. With the help of business automation, Audi was able to streamline the process and make it fully paperless.

  • Harrods

At a certain point, Harrods knew that it couldn’t continue its watch repair and design service with physical paperwork. It required people to come into the store and fill it out. By digitising the process, Harrods was able to make the process of their watch service easier for both customers and employees alike.

  • Adidas

Being a large, international corporation, Adidas had many different departments across its company. Unfortunately for Adidas, this made them slower when it came to getting products to market. So many departments had to contribute to the process. With the help of business automation, Adidas was able to simplify and create process templates that could be automated across departments.

Take your small business to the next level

Though it may seem like a huge leap, integrating automation into your small business can have a significant impact on your operations. By freeing up more time and energy, you’ll be able to focus on the parts of business that matter to you most.

So, make the most of your time and start your small business automation journey.

Author bio

Ryan Ayers has consulted a number of Fortune 500 companies within a wide range of industries including information technology, healthcare, and AI. After earning his MBA in 2010, Ayers began working with start-up companies and aspiring entrepreneurs in the technology and healthcare space.