Stop Wasting Your Energy: 9 Tools We Love for Automating Your Business
Today we’re starting with a question for you: How streamlined is your business? How much time do you spend daily on operations like payroll, invoicing and call scheduling? These tasks, while of course necessary, are energy-suckers that with a little methodology could be almost entirely automated for you. Sounds dreamy right?
Today, so many businesses are shifting to operating almost entirely online because of the new landscape we’re all living in. A decade ago, an abrupt transition like this would have been more difficult and expensive, but now with the abundance of clouds, apps and pre-existing platforms, most businesses can continue to function and even thrive virtually.
We all have the gift of time right now and this slower pace is giving us the opportunity to evaluate and evolve. In our last post we focused outward on digital tools to market and create content for your business.This week we’re looking inward at business operations, and sharing ways you can stay streamlined and organized by adopting tools and processes that can positively impact your business in powerful ways no matter your location.
Each of the tools included in our roundup encourages businesses to embrace the power of process. Businesses that are process-oriented save valuable time and money because they aren’t circling on tasks that could be streamlined. Instead that energy is spent wisely on efforts with real return — and you know how much we love to protect our valuable energy!
As a high-vibe entrepreneur, you are most effective when you play to your strengths and do the expert work your customers seek you out for. To get you doing more of that, let’s dive in.
Money: Rule Your Business & Personal Finances
Take the Dread out of Budgeting
Highly recommended by our virtual CFO Erin Armstrong and Bestselling Author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich, Ramit Sethi, YNAB (You Need A Budget) helps you track your spending and create a budget. This tool makes it easy for everyone to approach finances responsibly, but this is especially crucial for entrepreneurs because your personal energetics around money likely mirror your business finances. This change of pace we’re in is a great time to reconsider what is important to you and what no longer serves you, and adjust your spending habits to reflect your personal and business goals.
Simplify Payroll & Onboarding
Gusto is a tool for onboarding, paying and insuring your employees. We use it for payroll specifically and have found that the rates are lower than most other payroll services. The interface is easy to use and has thoughtful options like allowing you to pay employees and contractors on the same or different schedules. Gusto also handles all quarterly payroll reporting for state and federal taxes. Yes, it’s a miraculous gift to businesses!
No More Guessing About Expenses. Get a Crystal-clear Picture.
Admittedly, QuickBooks is not a revolutionary discovery but it’s fantastic for small businesses and that makes it worth mentioning. It is cloud-based and can be accessed from anywhere by multiple users, plus it has a phone app so you can categorize and itemize on-the-go. The interface makes it simple to get a glimpse of your outstanding invoices and expenses, and provides easily understandable and customizable reports.
Efficiency: Team Collaboration & Communication
Reduce the Ultimate Time-suck: Emails
The average employee spends over 20 percent of their time reading and responding to emails, most of which are unnecessary and irrelevant. Slack is a centralized communication tool that makes collaboration between your team productive. It’s as easy as texting and cuts down on lengthy meetings, emails and phone calls. Even if you’re a small team like us, and especially if you’re supporting a remote work environment, it’s time to switch to Slack!
Go Digital with your Sticky Notes
Flow charts. Sticky notes. Wire frames. When it comes to visualizing a project and site-mapping, Whimsical is a great option. It’s a tool that’s useful for solving problems, documenting ideas, and adjusting as the project evolves, and is especially helpful now while teams are virtual.
Schedule: Simplify Your Calendar (Hallelujah!)
Never Double-Book Again
Acuity is celebrated among small businesses and sole-entrepreneurs alike. It’s a one-stop scheduling and booking platform that can also take payment.You can create different forms for your potential clients to fill out based on their needs and attach them to unique links for scheduling the call to avoid reinventing the wheel with each offering. Also...it automatically syncs up with your calendar. We saved the best point for last.
Project Management: Seamless Processes for Tracking & Planning
Manage Multiple Projects at Once
At DesignGood, we live and breathe by Asana. It is the ultimate company organization tool to keep everyone on the same page. It allows you to track, manage and communicate each individual project and gives everyone insight into the project status. This is essential for any size business that has multiple projects happening simultaneously AKA all of us!
Reduce Steps by Connecting Your Apps
Zapier (like happier) lets your apps talk to each other with no programming necessary. For example, you can sync your mailing list with your Google Contacts; automatically send your team a Slack message each time a new order is processed; or make a Facebook post whenever you publish something new on your blog. It brings automation to the forefront, eliminates unnecessary steps and frees up time in a major way.
There are a lot of tools in here and it may seem overwhelming, but trust us when we say that the time it takes to onboard and train on a new system is nothing compared to the time it saves. When you automate your business, you free yourself up to think big-picture and bring the value to your business that only you can bring.
You didn’t build your business to spend your days in the weeds. Your time and energy is essential in growing and evolving your business, especially now.
If you want to talk more about what your business looks like in the new landscape, we are here to help. Now just might be the perfect and time to put some energy toward creating the business and brand of your dreams.