Business automation isn’t something that’s reserved for large businesses. In fact, automating some of your business processes isn’t even as expensive as you think – and can take your business to the next level of productivity.
Here are three affordable ways you can automate your business:
Automate Your Customer Relationship Management
Managing your clients and sales prospects with a notepad or an MS Excel spreadsheet may work, but it’s not the most efficient way to keep track of your customers. Using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system makes it easier for you to keep track of your clients and can aid in your marketing efforts to bring in more business.
Some professional CRM systems can cost thousands of dollars per year, per user, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t affordable options for your business.
Here are several affordable options to consider:
- Zoro CRM: This CRM system automates your sales processes and enables to manage eDM campaigns, inventory, documents, and your social media platforms. With Zoho’s “enterprise” edition, you can use the CRM’s full functionality for about $30 per month, per user.
- Salesforce: This cloud-based, easy-to-use CRM system lets you customize eDM campaigns, track leads, and create advances sales reports. It has several user options ranging from $8 to $80 per month for its “professional” edition with full functionality. It does require a yearly contract however with an upfront payment of $2,800.
- SugarCRM: This open-source, customizable CRM system automates many sales functions such as contact management, lead tracking, and sales forecasting. You can also run eDM campaigns, track ROI, and manage customer requests from mobile devices. If you want to have full functionality, expect to pay $3,400 for a yearly contract.
Automate Your Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the best “bootstrap” marketing tools available for building relationships with your customers. That’s because if you provide “free” content to your customers that solves their problems, you’re strengthening their perception of your company and its products.
On the downside, if you give bad content that isn’t helpful, you’ll hurt your company’s perception. Hiring a good copywriting or content creation agency is a good step get you there, costing you $50 -$150 dollars per article.
To automate your content marketing, you’ll need to plan the following:
- Create a Schedule: You’ll need to plan to provide at least 2 or 3 articles/blog posts weekly for posting onto your website and social media platforms. Make sure you schedule your articles ahead of the publishing date by at least a week.
- Give Detailed Instructions: Make sure you provide your writer with your customer profile and provide examples from other websites/blogs that show the writing style and tone you want.
- Use the Same Writer: It might take trying a few different writers before you choose the one you want. Once you do, make sure that the style and tone of your articles remains consistent so that you’ll always know your company’s message is always conveyed.
If your company depends regularly on social media, content management tools such as Hootsuite or SproutSocial allow you to schedule and automate the posting of your company’s content.
Automate Your Payroll
As a business owner, payday will be one of the least enjoyable days to look forward to. That’s because you need to crunch a lot of numbers to calculate CPF and employee claims. And if you make a mistake, you’ll find yourself violating compliance and having to pay penalties.
You could hire another staff member for $2,000+ a month to handle administrative duties and payroll, or you can plug your payroll numbers into a payroll software program that does the calculations for you.
Here are several good payroll options to consider:
- eVantage HR: This software calculates overtime, bonuses, CPF, and lets you create payroll reports. This software also has additional modules (at extra charge) that can help automate your leave and employee claims. You can get this software for a flat fee of $30 per employee, per month if your company is under 50 employees.
- SMEPAYROLL: This software includes modules covering overtime, payroll slips, leave, and claims. You can even generate reports on CPF contributions and GIRO transfers with the option for report customization. If you use the government’s PIC scheme, you can get the software for $300+ for 25 employees.
- INFO-PAY Payroll Software: This software includes modules covering payroll, leave, payroll reporting, and even HR. You can also make GIRO transfers and track the increment/promotion history of your staff. If you use the government’s PIC scheme, you can get the software for $1,150.