How to multiply yourself through small business automation

Get the right tools for small business automation

I’ve written on my site and in my books about what I call the Mytop Theory™ – multiply yourself through other people. It’s a great way to approach hiring in your small business.

With the incredible evolution of cloud services and mobile apps, small business owners can now affordably “multiply themselves” through automation, and this is true if you’re a one-person shop just starting out, or have a fairly large team working for you.

There are new software as a service (SaaS) providers popping up every day, so this short introduction is far from comprehensive. However, I want to give you a glimpse at the range of small business automation tools you have at your disposal and encourage you to dig a little deeper – you may find that someone has created the ideal service for your niche.

Social media automation

In terms of the number of services and apps available, social media automation is probably the biggest single category. I recently was talking to an upscale professional social media service provider and entry level pricing started at north of $1,000 per month. I’m sure the company was excellent, but honestly, a smart small business owner armed with the right apps can get at least that much value – and probably more – for less than $25 a month, or even free.

Finding content to share is one of the most important and time-consuming jobs in social media branding. There are several small business automation tools available for free or small monthly fees. I like the free Juice app, which looks at your Twitter followers and recommends about 10 pieces of sharable content each day. I also like Hootsuite Suggestions, which requires a subscription. But it integrates so well with Hootsuite, that it’s probably worth your money. It will automatically slot suggested content into the ideal time slots over virtually all your social media accounts and platforms.

If you have a series of Tweets that you like to send on a revolving basis, or a list of Tweets you want to blow through one time, Tweet Juke Box is perfect and you’ll probably be okay with the free version. Set it up and walk away!

Loading and managing your sales funnel

Second to social media management, when you’re looking for cost-effective small business automation, you’ll probably want to get into the various levels of customer relationship management SaaS. For smaller teams Pipedrive is often the perfect fit. It’s simple and effective. Your employees will be able to master it quickly, which is a big plus in the small business environment.

When your budget grows and you need more bells and whistles, as well as more nuanced CRM, Infusionsoft is worth a look. It not only has all the CRM features you’ll want, but it brings small business automation to marketing. It allows you to build in “if-then” logic and it even lets you identify your hottest prospects through how they interact with you and your materials online.

But you need to get people into your sales funnel or pipeline before your CRM system can do anything with them. If your small business contacts prospects via phone, you might want to investigate a predictive dialing service such as Calltools. The automation feature built into it helps eliminate the time your sales reps waste listening to phones ringing off the hook. This can help you greatly increase the throughput of your sales team.

Small business infrastructure

Two absolutely infallible ways to increase your bottom line is to decrease your overhead and improve your decision making. A time-tested way to decrease your overhead is to improve your productivity, i.e. spend less time on tasks. And the way to make better decisions it to have better information quicker.

There are a range of cloud-based apps that will greatly reduce the hassles and inefficiencies typical of small business scheduling. Whether you have a retail business where you have to juggle employee schedules, or your business makes service calls on the road all day long, you’ll find great software to minimize the burden these scheduling tasks put on you.

These are fairly specialized so I suggest you search Google using phrases like this:

  • Best scheduling software for mobile service business
  • Best employee scheduling software

Also, check the ads in industry publications and get recommendations from others in your business to find what’s working the best.

The small business automation software provided by Sage improves your productivity and also gives you better and more timely information on which to base the decisions that guide your small business.

Sage Live, for example, gives you virtually a complete financial picture of your small business 24-7 wherever you’re located. One of the most frustrating situations for a small business owner is to be waiting for “results” or to see how a decision has impacted sales. With Sage Live, that frustration goes away. You can be more “nimble” than your competitors.

As I said at the top, there are so many options available today when small business automation is your goal that I’ve only given you a taste of some of the most important categories. I strongly urge you to become an expert in your niche because when you “multiply yourself through automation” you’ll become the most productive business and achieve a significant edge on your competitors.

Sponsored by AT&T


Image: This old ModelT assembly line is awesome! by Kyle Harris, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.