Automation benefits businesses both large and small, from mammoth enterprises to fledgling startups. However, automation doesn’t necessarily look the same at every stage and there is a lot of debate as to when you should introduce automation to your business. Automation is not necessarily a one time thing, it is a process in itself. Automation can start small and grow alongside your startup, or it can be implemented to replace manual processes in a big corporation. Just like your business, you automation strategy will grow and evolve over time. New things will come along and others will become outdated.
Here is a general outline of how automation is relevant to various business stages and types:
Startups & Small Business Owners: As an entrepreneur or small business owner you’ll find yourself doing a lot of activities that a larger company would have a secretary, accountant, or other staff member assigned to. While most of these activities are crucial, they act as distractions that can prevent one from focusing on the big picture. Automating as many of these activities as possible with SaaS applications and the like can free up valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere.
In addition to saving you time on a daily basis, they can also prevent major confusion down the line. When you’re using an application such as a Customer Relationship Management tool or budgeting software it is easier for an assistant or accountant to put together the pieces. If you have a pile of papers or just a phone list of clients without context it can make it very challenging for someone else to take over those activities down the line. Using apps also can give you insights and analytics that you just don’t get without utilizing technology.
In the long run, utilizing the right applications could help you procure investment or a loan by being able to demonstrate growth (banks and VCs want to see the numbers! It’s all bout math ppl). They can also position you for smoother scaling as it is much easier for software to accommodate increased sales volume than it is for man power.
Medium to Large Sized and Older Businesses: If your business has been around for a while you may or may not have implemented a series of automation solutions. If you haven’t then it’s a great idea to look for places where automation could streamline processes, enhance communication, and minimize the opportunity for human error. Something as simple as implementing an office chat tool such as HipChat could improve communication throughout your organization. Email is great, but it is slow and can make a series of messages that should only take a couple minutes take a couple of hours.
If your business has implemented business process automation tools in the past it never hurts to make sure you’re up-to-date. That custom database application that you built 10 years ago that was amazing at the time may be cumbersome now and only run on old out-dated hardware systems and have you maintaining it with parts you can only source from eBay. It never hurts to look for room for improvement. Ask your staff what their pain points are with the current processes and applications being used (if any). This will point you in the right direction.
There is a place for automation in every business at every stage, whether it’s signing up for a Salesforce CRM account or developing your own custom built application tailored specifically to your needs (which is what we do at Gravit-e, btw). Even when you’ve got all your systems in place they might not be working together. You may want to consider integrating your applications to further streamline and reduce repetitive tasks such as entering the same data into more than one application.
Contact us at Gravit-e to find out what automation solution is right for your business.