Business process automation isn’t just for large corporations. BPA can form an integral part of getting a startup off the ground with minimal costs and few resources. For startups, early-stage companies, and small businesses alike automation provides the advantages of streamlining operations, freeing up time, and tracking important data.
Advantages of Automation For Startups
Time Saving: One of the most obvious and important advantages of automation software for startups is saving time and money. Entrepreneurs may have to wear many hats but some of them aren’t necessary. Well chosen BPA software can save founders valuable time and help them do more on a lean budget. For example, rather than hiring an accountant much of the accounting for early stage startups can be done with commercial accounting software.
Scalability: Scaling can present a big challenge for entrepreneurs. While juggling and managing multiple roles can work well for business owners in the beginning, it can become overwhelming as businesses grow. For example, responding to all emails and inquiries may have been doable at the beginning with a small number of clients but will quickly become monotonous as that client base grows. Many email responses and followups can be automated and save precious time.
Data Capture: Automation software has the ability to capture a myriad of data that us humans do not have the time or capacity to keep track of. It can also display this data in easy to understand graphs and provide us with analytics that help us understand our business better. This is especially true for technology startups where data capture can tell entrepreneurs the details of what time of day their users login the most, where they tend to get lost, and other important points.
Effectively Automating Your Startup
Step One: Trace Your Steps
Keep track of all of the activities you and your team do for your business and how much time you spend on each activity. If possible, identify any bottlenecks and obstacles. Documenting processes is a good way to break them down and will make it easier to understand if you choose to delegate those activities to other staff or have them automated.
Step Two: Evaluate
After you have a clear idea of what your business processes are, how much time is dedicated to them, and who is responsible it is time to evaluate them. Can they be done more effectively? Will they be able to scale and accommodate increased volume as your business grows? Is there software that can be implemented or built in place of human labour?
Step Three: Automate and Delegate
Now that you have documented and evaluated your business processes it is time to unload them. You may find that automating or delegating some tasks isn’t necessary at the moment but may become necessary in the future. Ensure that your have a vision of how these processes may evolve as you scale and have a plan for how each process will accommodate future growth.
If you are unsure whether or not some commercial software you selected can automate a task ask the company. If you cannot find existing software you may want to develop custom software that is tailored to the unique needs of your business.
Step Four: Integrate and Streamline Workflow
After implementing any automation software it is important to further refine your processes where possible. Commercial and custom software applications can be integrated to ensure you are not entering data into multiple programs. Obtain feedback from staff as to whether or not they satisfied with how they are interacting with the software.
If you cannot find commercial BPA software that suits your business needs contact us for more information about a custom software solutions.