Your time is incredibly valuable so when you make use of the best tools to automate those mundane, repetitive tasks you free time to focus on growth and strategic decision making. What if there was a way to reclaim those precious hours without compromising quality or accuracy?
By harnessing the power of cutting-edge tools and technologies, you can unlock a realm of efficiency, productivity, and error-free operations. In this article, we’ll explore how automated tools can revolutionise your business, freeing you to focus on what truly matters.
Handling a flood of emails can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Email automation tools can assist you in organising and managing your inbox more efficiently. These tools often come with features such as email filters, auto-categorisation, and rules-based routing.
Automatically sort your incoming emails into different folders or labels, prioritise important messages, and even suggest canned responses for frequently asked questions. By automating email management, you can focus on critical communications, reduce email overload, and respond more promptly to the emails that matter.
There are many available plugins and AI tools you can use, like SaneBox, Plicca or Boomerang. They can learn your email habits and make smart suggestions for efficiency, and you can set them to schedule emails with ease.
Automation can streamline your invoicing and billing processes. With specialised tools, you can create customisable (branded!) invoice templates and automate the generation and distribution of these invoices to your clients. Some tools can integrate with your accounting system, automatically update payment statuses, and send reminders for overdue payments. By automating invoicing and billing, you can improve cash flow management, reduce late payments, and eliminate the need for manual follow-ups.
Tools such as QuickBooks, Xero, or FreshBooks offer automation features for generating invoices, sending automated reminders, and tracking payments. For example, QuickBooks automates invoice creation based on predefined templates, calculates taxes and discounts, and sends invoices to clients via email.
Imagine the time that would save you.
Automating your data entry can save significant time and reduce errors. Software tools equipped with optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities can scan and extract data from physical documents, PDFs, or even images. This extracted data can then be automatically populated into spreadsheets, databases, or other software systems. By eliminating manual data entry, you can minimise the risk of human error, enhance data accuracy, and free up your time for more valuable tasks.
Simplify these data entry tasks with tools like Zapier, which integrates with various applications and allows you to automate data transfers between them. For document extraction and OCR capabilities, tools like ABBYY FlexiCapture or UiPath Document Understanding will save time. These tools can extract data from your invoices, forms, and other documents, automatically populating your databases or spreadsheets.
Maintaining an active presence on social media is crucial for many businesses. However, consistently posting content across multiple platforms can be a daunting task. If you’re doing it yourself it’s often one of the first things to drop down your to-do list when you’re busy meeting client obligations … or putting out fires!
Plan and create your content in bulk and set a schedule for automatic publishing. These tools often provide analytics to help you track engagement and adjust your social media strategy. By automating social media posting, you can maintain a consistent brand presence, save time, and ensure a regular flow of engaging content for your audience.
Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Later, or CoSchedule allow you to plan and schedule posts across multiple social media platforms, analyse engagement metrics, and even curate content from various sources. For example, Buffer enables you to create a posting schedule, add content to a queue, and automatically publish posts at specified times.
Canva Premium also has a scheduling tool meaning you can create your image or video and schedule from within the app. Canva also now offers a bulk upload option so you can automatically populate your templates by simply uploading a CSV file.
The process of onboarding new employees involves numerous repetitive tasks, such as paperwork, document collection, and orientation sessions. Automating employee onboarding can streamline these administrative processes, allowing new hires to complete digital forms, upload necessary documents, and access company policies and resources through self-service portals. Workflow automation tools can trigger task assignments and notifications for HR and managers, ensuring a structured and organised onboarding experience. By automating employee onboarding, you can reduce manual paperwork, enhance the efficiency of the process, and provide a smoother transition for new team members.
We use ClickUp templates and dashboards for our own onboarding. There are also HR specific software tools like BambooHR, Workday, or Gusto Streamline you can automate your employee onboarding processes with. These HR software solutions provide automation features for creating digital onboarding checklists, generating offer letters and contracts, and facilitating self-service portals for new hires. For instance, Gusto offers automated onboarding workflows, allowing new employees to fill out tax forms, set up direct deposit, and access important company documents online.
Have a look at possible integrations for the tools you are already using. For example if you google Xero Integrations you’ll see their app store. Search the store for other tools you use, what integrations could you be using?
Apply this automation process
Let’s now look at how to get from where you are now, to automated operations throughout your repeatable processes.
List specific areas you would like to gain back time. Think of where you have the most issues (efficiency, accuracy, output).
Make a comprehensive spreadsheet of all the tasks you do on a regular basis. Sort them into categories and note:
- the average time spent on each task,
- the frequency it needs to be completed (e.g. once a day/week/month),
- the tools you use for them.
If a task is in need of a solution to work better, think about what would ideally resolve those issues and note that down as well.
Ask your team to complete this exercise for their specific department or role to ensure all your operational processes are covered.
Once you’ve done this planning, explore the different tools you use and research possible automations, looking for integrations to reduce manual steps and improve output.
Map out your new workflow with each tool and where the automation fits in. The most crucial step is to test and monitor this new system once you’ve implemented it. You want to continue to test the tools and adjust the custom automations and settings where necessary to optimise these processes.
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