Have you ever wondered how some people do it?
We all know that one person who somehow has the time to do it all. They are able to clean, workout, handle errands, take care of the kids, try new hobbies, and juggle a full-time job!
It’s almost as if they’ve discovered some secret to make their time management more efficient and optimized.
Businesses are no different.
Every business has multiple moving parts that work towards the same goal: a finished product or service for its clients.
But the bigger a business grows, inefficiencies or unnecessary steps become more obvious. A growing business can quickly become burdened by its inefficiencies, wasting time and precious man-hours.
So that raises the question: how are some businesses able to do it all while others struggle to barely stay afloat?
How is it that some businesses are able to invest in research and development, expand their product lines, hire new employees, and continue to serve their existing customers while doing so?
One of the differences between businesses that scale vs. businesses that stale is automation.
No, we’re not talking about walking, talking robots. We’re talking about software that automates specific workflows for your business.
When implemented strategically, these automation solutions can save you hours, reduce mistakes, increase your productivity, and ultimately increase your bottom line?
So… what automation tools are good for small and mid-sized businesses?
Zapier Workflow Automation Tool Review
One of the most versatile automation tools is Zapier.
Zapier allows you to create automated workflows that connect marketing applications and services.
Think of it this way: Zapier is a tool that allows you to bridge the gap between two unrelated apps or software.
For example, let’s say you run an email acquisition campaign on Facebook. Throughout this entire campaign, you’re running ads on Facebook to get potential clients to sign-up for your business’s newsletter.
However, what if your email marketing provider doesn’t integrate with Facebook? In other words, when someone signs up for your email newsletter on Facebook, you have to manually import the new contact into your email marketing platform.
While that might not sound like a big deal, if you’re getting hundreds of new email sign-ups, that can get very time consuming.
In this hypothetical situation, you could use Zapier to “bridge” Facebook with your email marketing platform. Once someone signs up on Facebook, Zapier will automatically import those sign-ups into your email platform for you.
This is just one of the many examples of how Zapier can automate your workflows.
The best part?
Zapier doesn’t require complex coding. The interface was created for business owners to use.
Essentially, Zapier allows you to use a simple trigger where you set the rules: “If this happens, then do that.”
How Trello Can Help Scale Your Business
With Trello, quickly growing businesses can cut down on time-consuming administrative tasks.
Every business has multiple moving parts. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling merchandise like candles or offering services such as marketing. There are different components and team players that keep the business running smoothly.
But what happens when your business begins growing and expanding?
Suddenly, those moving parts become stressed by increased responsibilities, shifting deadlines, and new workflows.
Trello is a workflow automation tool that I trust to help clients keep their projects organized.
If you’re not already familiar with Trello, I recommend that you watch the video below:
In short, Trello allows you to create “cards” for whatever task is on the table. Think of a card as an item on a to-do list. Every card that you create in Trello is a task that needs to be completed.
But here’s where things get extremely helpful: you can assign cards to team members. This helps keep your team organized so people know what their tasks are. In fact, you can even attach documents to the card, so that your team members have all the information they need in a single place. Each card has a comment thread, so you can keep a paper trail of task-related communication and collaboration.
Aside from helping your team, here’s how Trello can help you specifically as a business owner:
Weekly email updates. You can set up Trello to email you weekly (or daily) with updates on all the cards on your board. Why is this helpful? So you can keep track of the progress of all the tasks in your business. If it looks like something is potentially running behind schedule, you can step in to make sure that everything is taken care of.
Due dates for recurring tasks. Is there a task that your team needs to complete every week? You can automate Trello to keep creating and assigning cards with recurring due dates. For example, if client reports are due at 9 am the first of every month, you can make sure that Trello assigns that task monthly. This makes sure that you never forget about recurring responsibilities!
Connected apps. Does your team use Slack or Jira? Trello integrates with a wide variety of other apps, so that your team can communicate freely on the platforms you already use.
This is just the tip of the iceberg! Trello is truly one of the best tools to help small and mid-sized businesses keep their workflows optimized.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tool: Dubsado
Every growing business will eventually need a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
While CRM sounds fancy and super technical, it is essentially a way to manage your company’s relationships and interactions with clients.
For example, a hair salon would want a CRM to track every customer interaction, customer accounts, and schedule appointments. It’s essentially a secure place to store customer data such as email addresses, phone numbers, and the information you need to improve customer service and increase revenue.
One of my favorite CRM tools is Dubsado.
Here are just a few of the reasons why I recommend Dubsado to my clients:
Customizable forms. Do you need to send out proposals to get new clients for your business? What about lead capture forms? Do you need templates to create contracts? What about questionnaires for new client intake? Dubsado has a wide range of forms you can customize to not only save time, but to learn more about your business’s most valuable asset: your customers.
Book appointments straight from your website. Dubsado integrates into your website so that new and returning clients can schedule meetings straight from your website. This saves you administrative time from having to schedule each meeting individually.
Stay on top of your finances. Which clients have been billed? Which payments are overdue? What invoices need to be sent out? Not only do CRMs like Dubsado make sure that you get paid on time, but they also help you track where your new business is coming from! For example, you can keep track of referral sources so you can adjust your marketing strategies accordingly!
A good CRM should provide you with scalable solutions. In other words, CRM solutions that are right for a business with 200 employees might not be right for a business with 10 employees.
One of the reasons I like Dubsado is because you can start for free then upgrade as you grow. If your administrative team grows, then you can purchase access for more users.
Remember, you should use a CRM to help your business grow, so it only makes sense that the CRM should be able to grow alongside your business.
Do You Need Help Scaling Your Business?
Sometimes, things are easier said than done.
If you need help automating and optimizing workflows for your business, it can help to have an objective eye to review your internal processes.
At Exceptional Services Agency, we specialize in growth solutions for small and medium sized businesses.
We look forward to connecting with you!