A business is like a car: It must work all the time. To run a successful business that works for you and your customers, it needs to be well-cleaned, well-oiled and finely tuned. Having said that, inefficiency is very common. It comes in different ways that cost businesses about 30 percent of their revenue annually.
Link for more information – https://www.dummies.com/business/human-resources/workplace/how-inefficiency-negatively-impacts-your-business/
Consistent improvements are vital for your businessâ€™s success and sustainability. Things like using social media for marketing, monitoring your cash flow regularly, and identifying your strengths while asking for help in your weaker areas can help you focus on improving areas of your company that offer the biggest gain.
While things may run smoothly, thereâ€™s always room for improvement in any business. Sometimes, a project takes too long to complete, or maybe meetings that were once productive and useful now seem to take a lot of time and are less productive. It can feel like spinning the wheels in the mud, and itâ€™s hard to get back on track.
How can you fix these issues? By focusing on deep cleaning your company to make it more efficient. What follows are four main ways of achieving this.
=> 1. Analyzing Your Business
Before fixing and changing anything, you need to be able to identify inefficient areas in your business accurately. Begin by establishing where you are, whatâ€™s working and what isnâ€™t. After identifying what isnâ€™t working, youâ€™ll be in a better position to fix it.
Inefficiency can occur in many areas. You may find redundant processes or outdated procedures. Plus, many businesses struggle with complicated processes. Others have problems with trying to be more efficient, implement too many new systems and get stuck trying everything.
Avoid these snags by focusing on your companyâ€™s capabilities. And if your business already suffers from these problems, your ability to improve inefficiencies depends on how well you can analyze where you are today. A “one-size-fits-all improvement” mindset wonâ€™t help your business.
Five Areas to Focus on When Analyzing Your Business
A customer analysis is a vital part of a businessâ€™s business plan or marketing plan. It can help you identify your target customers, establish the needs of those customers, and determine how your product or service meets those needs. Having a customer profile can help you understand existing and potential customers better, so you can increase your sales and scale your business.
When analyzing your customers, itâ€™s essential to conduct a behavioral analysis. This will help you determine and weigh the relative importance of factors customers use to choose one product over another. These factors, also called buying criteria, will help you understand the reasons customers buy your products versus what your competitors are offering. Bear in mind that customers generally use the price, quality, convenience, and prestige to distinguish competing products.
Customer and market analysis play a crucial role in identifying customer needs, which can help you develop a clear and concise value proposition that reflects the tangible benefits consumers should expect from your products.
After identifying the primary buying criteria, focus on marketing strategies that can influence consumer perception of the product relative to the competitors’ products. In addition, analyzing customers will help you identify the target market segments that are likely to prefer your products over those of competitors.
Every business wants to make more sales, right? But identifying whatâ€™s going wrong is challenging. This is because visualizing how your business is faring is hard. Are you making more sales? More profit? Reaching new customers and markets? Or is everything declining?
By knowing where you are and projecting what will happen in the future, youâ€™ll make more informed decisions on how to make successful changes. Thatâ€™s why sales analysis is crucial.
A sales report helps you to know how many sales you made in a certain period. And if it shows $5 sales in January, $10 in February, and $20 in March, it can make sense to project $40 sales in April because the figures so far have doubled each month.
When conducting your sales analysis, include the time each salesperson worked. Doing so, you may notice some salespeople work many hours and make relatively few sales, while others work for a short time and generate more sales.
Using this information, you can decide if you should let go of long-workers and find replacements. Also, look at the type of customers the high achievers are working with. Is there a location connection? Are they selling the same products? This can help you guide the long-workers and build a stronger sales force. However, you can only do this if you have access to data.
Also, the success of your sales team depends on the availability of leads to work with. So analyzing information on the number of prospects in each stage of your sales process will help you discover the areas that need improvement.
Thus, if your leads are constantly stuck in the first stage of your sales process, then you need to do something to jump-start the whole process. Clearly, your appeal or offer isnâ€™t strong enough to convert the crowd.
Alternatively, if every lead is stuck at the penultimate stage and they arenâ€™t buying, then your sales team needs to improve their closing skills.
Although many business owners start their business because of the pride of ownership and the satisfaction that comes from being their own boss, the primary reason you started your business was likely to generate profits – right?
There are many ways to measure your businessâ€™s profits aside from looking at your bank account. Contribution margin, for instance, can help you determine how sales affect profitability. And cost-volume-profit analysis can help you determine ways to meet your net income goals. So when analyzing your profits, consider how the following affect your net income:
* Sales price
* Sales volume
* Variable cost
* Fixed cost
#4: Customer Satisfaction
How do know if your customers are satisfied or not?
One way to conduct a highly accurate customer satisfaction analysis is by simply asking customers how satisfied they are. Gathering customer feedback will help you determine if your customer satisfaction is high or low. Also, it will help you discover the overall trends.
However, remember that the mildly satisfied or mildly dissatisfied may not give feedback. And getting feedback from the extremes means your satisfaction scores may not be reflective of the reality.
It is therefore essential to look at unsolicited feedback. For instance, emails, call transcripts, and agent notes can offer invaluable information about how satisfied your customers are. Youâ€™ll be able to understand what their problems are and how they feel about you -especially if you do sentiment and text analysis on their words.
Also, remember that sometimes customers exaggerate, misremember, and even lie. So itâ€™s crucial to look at actual customer behavior through your CRM and transactional data systems to know what customers are doing. And if they continue to buy your products, then their satisfaction isnâ€™t that low.
#5: Marketing Strategies
You canâ€™t succeed in life without a strategy. This is also true for marketing, because marketing is a joint effort that requires collaboration from creative, financial, sales, and technical departments. So without a solid marketing strategy, nothing will work.
Setting up a marketing strategy helps to create harmony and sanity in the company. And it improves business efficiency because everyone is on the same page. It helps the products development department work seamlessly with the advertising department to come up with the most engaging and relevant marketing message.
Once you have your marketing strategy in place, you know who your target audience is and the price range you can offer them. And this will help you identify the most effective means of distribution. For example, if youâ€™re catering to the younger demographic, then youâ€™ll need to offer purchase options for mobile and tablets using credit cards and PayPal.
Offering your customers convenient methods of shopping boosts sales and customers satisfaction.
Determining Your Strengths
If you want to become a successful business owner, you have to discover your strengths and use every opportunity to leverage them. And if you want to build a successful business, you have to be good at what you do.
So take your time in discovering your strengths and focus on perfecting the skills that can help you become the best in your industry. This is crucial in every business ownerâ€™s journey – particularly in authenticating your business idea, getting the early traction and gaining the first paying customers.
When determining the strengths of your business, focus on the positive qualities – tangible and intangible, internal to your organization. All these are within your control. These points may help focus your thoughts:
* What do you excel in?
* What internal resources do you possess? Think about:
o Positive qualities of your employees, such as background, credential, education, knowledge, network, reputation, or skills
o Tangible assets of the organization, such as existing customers, capital, patents, technology, or credit
* What makes you better than your competitors?
* Do you have development abilities and strong research?
* What other positive elements inside your business add value or give you a competitive advantage?
Look at your strengths from an internal perspective, as well as from the customersâ€™ perspective and the competitors in your market.
If youâ€™re struggling to find your strengths, list your businessâ€™s characteristics. Some of them will hopefully be your strengths too.
When identifying your strengths, think about them in relation to your competitors. For instance, if all of your competitors offer high-quality products, then high-quality production isnâ€™t a strength in your businessâ€™s market; itâ€™s a necessity.
Uncovering Your Weaknesses
Weaknesses are elements of your organization that lower the value you offer and put you at a competitive disadvantage. To compete with your competitors, it’s essential to improve on these areas.
To identify your weaknesses, think about:
* Factors within your control that reduce your ability to get and maintain a competitive edge
* Areas that need improvement to achieve your objectives and compete with your strongest competitor
* What your business lacks (for instance, access to skills, expertise or technology)
* Whether your company has limited resources
* Business location
Consider weaknesses from both an internal and external perspective: do other people see weaknesses you donâ€™t see? Are your competitors doing better than you?
Itâ€™s good to be realistic now and face unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
Discovering New Opportunities
Opportunities are favorable attributes that could give your business a competitive edge. Here are some questions to think about:
* Is your market expanding and are there emerging trends that will encourage customers to buy more of what youâ€™re offering?
* Is your business perception positive? Do customers think highly of your business? Are customers satisfied with what youâ€™re offering?
* Are there upcoming events that you can leverage to grow your business?
* Are there upcoming changes that could impact your business positively?
One of the best approaches to identify new opportunities is to look at your strengths and ask yourself if they open up new opportunities. Also, look at your weaknesses and see where you can create new opportunities by eliminating and improving on your weak areas.
Anticipating and Overcoming Obstacles
Obstacles are external aspects that you have no control over. If you want to build a successful and sustainable business, youâ€™ll have to come up with measures to deal with these as soon as they occur.
When considering obstacles, think about:
* Are there potential competitors that may venture into your market?
* Are suppliers able to continually supply the raw materials you need at the prices you need?
* Will future technology advancement affect how you do business?
* Are customer behaviors changing in a manner that might negatively affect your business?
* Are there upcoming market trends that could become an obstacle?
To move forward with your growth plan, you need to understand that obstacles are things that entrepreneurs face no matter what business they start. And finding a solution to an obstacle is the first step in building and sustaining a successful business.
Once you figure out what went wrong and what can go wrong, brainstorm ways to solve the problems and overcome the obstacles.
Tools to Help with Business Analysis
Business analysis helps business owners to analyze, examine data, and determine the best strategy or priority for the company to accomplish their goals. There are many analytical tools that help entrepreneurs to conduct a business analysis. Here are the two most useful methods used in the analyzing process of a business that you can leverage:
This is an analytical tool that you can use when you have many tasks to handle and you need to decide which task should get priority. By listing the tasks and examining them, you can easily decide based on the validity requirements for each task.
When using this analytical tool, these four factors should guide you: could have, must have, should have, and wonâ€™t have.
* SCRS Analysis
The toolâ€™s name is an acronym for these four steps: strategy, current state, requirements, and solution.
When using this analytical tool, it means that your business will follow the order of the current state and the requirements from your business strategy to find suitable solutions.
=> 2. Planning for Growth
Are you like many entrepreneurs and never plan for future growth? Do you have a strategy on how to scale your business in a smart, disciplined way?
Not planning for growth is planning to fail. Because if you want to scale your business, you need to have a plan. Your plan doesnâ€™t have to be volumes of pages, though â€” sometimes the simpler, the better. But if you donâ€™t have a planned and disciplined approach to growth, youâ€™ll make many mistakes.
Thus, if you want to build a successful and sustainable business, you need to create a road map to guide you and reduce the risk as you grow your organization. The road map will help you find more growth opportunities and avoid common mistakes, such as failing to delegate responsibility to employees.
Planning will largely be based on findings from the analysis, but it will probably involve the points detailed below.
#1: Expansion of Products
One of the primary challenges a growing business faces is expanding its product offerings by creating new product lines, expanding existing products, or selling in new markets. Product expansion needs elaborate planning to make sure the expected returns outweigh the costs and risks incurred.
To manage product expansion successfully, you’ll want to undertake an operations strategy. This involves conducting a planning phase that determines broad goals and specific objectives. Also, it’s important to access competencies; this will help you discover the resources your company has at its disposal and come up with ways to use them to maximize your profit.
Expanding product offerings helps a business to grow by reaching new markets, meeting increased demand, or leveraging new market trends. But without proper operations strategies, the process can be expensive and fail to generate new incomes.
The best operations strategy involves developing new products to sell to existing and new customers. Ideally, itâ€™s easier to sell new products to the existing customers because itâ€™s less risky than having to learn a new market and sell at the same time.
#2: Expansion of Market Reach through New Marketing Avenues
Building a business isnâ€™t easy, because you need to have a viable idea first. Then you need to discover a profitable niche, define a target audience and have something valuable to offer or sell to them. And without the right marketing strategies to propel your growth and generate profit, staying afloat can be impossible.
To grow your business, you not only need to have the best products for your new target audience but you also need to have avenues to connect with your customers. Otherwise, you simply wonâ€™t sell anything.
Avenues are channels for bringing products to the market for purchase. They can be physical, or you can choose a new retail outlet to sell your products. And you can expand your market reach by choosing new marketing avenues. These can be digital, where you sell online in foreign countries. But whichever choices you make, choosing the right marketing avenue is crucial to the success of your market expansion.
Expanding your distribution avenues will lead to more profits, and it will minimize the risk if sales through one avenue fail. To choose the right new marketing avenue, examine your customer demographics and their behavior. Then figure out which channel you can use to engage them.
#3: Expansion of Target Demographics
As a business owner, you will have a clear idea of who your target customer is. You can do this by thinking about who you had in mind when you created your product or service offering. Then think about what the person looks like, where they live, how much they earn, their education level, and their age.
Youâ€™ll end up with a rough idea of your desired target customer. But most target audience descriptions are bland and theyâ€™re mostly the same. Consider this example:
“Female, 18-34, who enjoys healthy activities (yoga, running, cycling), interested in various forms of entertainment, shops at local and chain establishments (eBay, Amazon, Fashion Nova), and has an annual income of $25,000 or more.”
Does this sound familiar? Perhaps.
Yes, itâ€™s crucial to understand the basics of your target audience; these demographics are valuable. But theyâ€™re only the starting point.
The example above is very superficial and if targeting this person is how you plan to sell your product or service offering, youâ€™ll struggle to make sales.
So itâ€™s time to expand your target demographics. Dig deeper and find whatâ€™s missing.
Begin by thinking about your product or service in terms of how different cultures can use or view it. For example, a product can be desirable to Africans, Americans, Asians, and Europeans, but for different reasons.
Also, you may think you need someone whose income enables them to buy your product, yet some products are very desirable to the marginalized communities and theyâ€™ll pay for it no matter the cost. For example, African-American women are always willing to find new ways to take care of their hair and theyâ€™ll often pay big bucks no matter their financial constraints.
Everyone targets the 18-34 age group, so thinking outside the box on age can be interesting sometimes. For instance, you could create a shapewear product targeting women of all ages and different sizes.
When expanding your target demographics, think about what your audience really likes. Take time and try to learn your audienceâ€™s actual interests and their likes. This will help you find new ways to engage with them.
#4: Improving Customer Satisfaction
Improving customer satisfaction is crucial in growing your business. To improve customer satisfaction rates, always treat your customers the way youâ€™d want to be treated. Always thank your customers for doing business with you, in person and in printed receipts. And always go the extra mile in helping and assisting them in every way possible.
Keep your promises and integrity. If you promise to contact them once you restock an item, make sure you do that. Sometimes, businesses forget to get back to their customers, and these customers end up doing business with their competitors.
Thereâ€™s no one way to improve customer satisfaction levels, but the goal is to create a customer-centric mindset that will guide decisions and company direction. Also, make sure you stay up to date with call center best practices.
#5: Improving Sales Funnels for Bigger Profits
If you run an online business, then creating and improving your sales funnel isnâ€™t an option. Itâ€™s a crucial aspect of achieving business growth and generating more profits. With a well-built sales funnel, you can constantly attract new customers and improve your profits.
So how can you improve your sales funnel and generate more profit? Itâ€™s by increasing conversions in the awareness stage. The most popular awareness stage tactics for attracting new customers and building authority include:
* Publishing blog posts on your website; this will help customers find your site in their search engine. Put simply, people canâ€™t buy from you if they donâ€™t know you exist.
* Social networking and publishing. Today, consumers use social networks to get advice, referrals, and reviews. And they expect businesses to be available for questions on social networks. Creating social proof will therefore help you build trust, and it will boost conversions.
And once a customer is familiar with your business, engage with them. Encourage them to make small commitments to your company even before theyâ€™re ready to buy. You can achieve this by creating lead magnets that help solve their problems in exchange for their contact information (email address).
After you get a prospectâ€™s attention, it’s time to educate them about your offering. Answer all their questions. Educate your prospects by sending automated emails to subscribers with answers to the commonly asked questions.
Remember, the goal of any sales funnel is to make sales. So give your customers clear chances to make purchases, and do this frequently. Make it easier for customers to access your product or service, optimize your checkout page using live chat, and maybe offer free shipping to entice them to purchase.
A good sales funnel should make sales severally. So, after investing all your energy in gaining a crucial customer, donâ€™t let them leave. Ask them if they know anyone who can benefit from your offerings and give them a discount anytime they refer a prospect who makes a purchase.
#6: Reducing Expenses
Business owners are always on the lookout for ways to grow their revenue. And increasing revenue without overloading employees or sacrificing the quality of your product or service is a daunting task. Consequently, the best way to increase profit margin is by reducing expenses. Cost-cutting is one of the easiest ways to improve profits. And having a systematic cost-control method can lead to immediate savings.
To reduce expenses without compromising on the quality and performance, examine your current administrative processes and determine areas you could automate. The business world is advancing quickly, and staying up to date with the latest trends in technology can significantly reduce your expenses.
By using the various online solutions, you can automate your business functions easily. And by automating repetitive tasks, youâ€™ll save hours of manual effort daily. Also, your employees can use their time to boost business growth.
Outsourcing is another way you can reduce your expenses by cutting operational costs. It will help you streamline your company and reduce payroll costs.
When outsourcing, think about the services that donâ€™t require full-time employees. This will slim and trim your in-house team.
During hiring, make smart decisions. Hire employees with multiple skills. This will cut expenses by reducing the expenditure on human resources.
Tools to Help with Business Planning
Business planning is a crucial aspect of every business. But it can be an intense activity and often it will feel overwhelming – particularly if youâ€™re new to it. Fortunately, there are several tools you can use to speed up the process and get a successful outcome.
This is a business communication tool, but it has great relevance in business planning.
You can use brainstorming at various stages of business planning to come up with ideas and engage quieter employees. Brainstorming will make sure you explore all options and opportunities available to your business.
When brainstorming, make sure all ideas are welcome. The goal is to list them all, which can later be reviewed and prioritized.
* SWOT Analysis
This is the backbone of business planning. SWOT analysis is a focused brainstorming activity that aims to identify a businessâ€™s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
SWOT analysis involves gathering internal data such as employee data, sales data, and operational data, as well as external data such as economic and industry data. This makes sure the data you get is based on facts and the organizationâ€™s reality.
=> 3. Simplifying and Standardizing
In business, the goal of simplification is to minimize activities and tasks, improve efficiency, and be more effective and productive, while delivering value to the customer.
However, this is a dilemma.
Why? Because itâ€™s hard to determine what you can minimize without affecting business operations. Having said that, there are various techniques that can help minimize activities and tasks – especially those that donâ€™t add value. These techniques help to suppress activities and tasks that are at the risk of not being done correctly.
Simplification doesnâ€™t lead to a decrease in the number of activities or tasks, but it helps to remove risky tasks from the process by performing them differently.
Here are six business simplification and standardization ideas that are widely used:
#1: Clearing the Clutter
As you grow your business, itâ€™s easy to accumulate clutter. Sometimes, we feel the need to hold on to things we donâ€™t need. We keep all clientsâ€™ paperwork and subsequent overstuffed files.
There are four types of business clutter and once you know what they are, youâ€™ll realize itâ€™s time to get rid of stuff which is thatâ€™s slowing you down.
* Most business owners hold on to physical clutter such as client notes, old newsletters, and research reports. Some paperwork, such as contracts, are crucial to hold on to. But other paperwork, such as stacks of journals or piles of newspapers, is just taking up space. Also, if you have notes that you canâ€™t attribute to a specific client file, then itâ€™s time to get rid of them.
* Emotional clutter is difficult to manage because thereâ€™s no visual component. Sometimes, itâ€™s hard to decide where things should go and this can lead to accumulating piles. And these piles will continue to grow if you donâ€™t file or clear things up.
* Many business owners view product clutter as a badge of honor. However, having too many products creates unnecessary pressure on you. And clients arenâ€™t doing business with you because of your product inventory; they are doing business with you because they trust you and your expertise.
* Client clutter occurs when you feel emotionally drained by certain clients. These clients have a negative emotional impact on you. This happens when you value the clientâ€™s business more than yourself. Although having difficult clients is part of the mix, itâ€™s important to know how to deal with these clients and reduce anxiety levels.
If you want to clear the clutter in your business, begin by establishing areas that need organizing. You also need to have detailed goals. Then, schedule time to clear that clutter. You can only get rid of it if itâ€™s part of your planned activity.
#2: Organizing the Files
The most overlooked part of document organization is organizing the files in your PC properly. Because every time you have to search for documents you canâ€™t find, you lose time you could have used doing more constructive things.
Always create a backup for files in case theyâ€™re deleted or misplaced by mistake.
As time passes, files become more complex and they increase in number. To simplify your files, create sub-folders. And always delete files you no longer use.
Also, itâ€™s crucial to categorize the files. Keep your work documents separate from personal files, and label your files appropriately for easy and fast retrieval. Try to digitize your paperwork and files as much as possible to avoid physical clutter.
#3: Simplifying Steps That You Do Regularly
One of the best ways to simplify your business activities and tasks is to simplify the steps you do regularly. Start by creating desktop shortcuts to files you access daily or weekly. Then, create templates; this will help you reduce the time you spend doing things. Next, create an FAQ section to answer questions that you commonly get through the helpdesk.
#4: Standardizing Methods and Processes
Your businessâ€™s operations include tasks that must be completed daily, weekly, monthly, or annually to make sure everything runs smoothly. However, if you donâ€™t standardize the methods and processes, youâ€™re inviting chaos.
These could be crucial processes like dealing with a customer support request. So every task â€” regardless of how frequently itâ€™s done â€” needs clear rules that define the scope, quality, and the procedure to be followed. And if you lack standardized rules, you wonâ€™t know if youâ€™re ensuring quality and reducing human error. Running your business will be a nightmare.
Well-done standardization reduces ambiguity and guesswork, guarantees the quality, boosts productivity, and improves the morale of your employees.
Standardization boosts customer service. This is because a team with less ambiguity, better productivity, and increased morale will provide better customer service.
Apart from standardizing the customer support department, you can also create a standard operating procedure manual for quickly training new staff. Include up-to-date links and logins for things they will need access to. Also include tips and answers to common questions previous staff have had so they can quickly get up to speed.
#5: Streamlining Communication
Is communication your biggest problem? Then you arenâ€™t alone.
Many companies struggle with streamlining their communication. Regardless of your teamâ€™s size or if youâ€™re leading a remote or co-located team, keeping everyone on the same page is challenging. And with different means of communication today, keeping things streamlined can be daunting. However, if your team doesnâ€™t communicate effectively, this can lead to dire problems for you and your business.
Streamlining communication in a company is hard â€” regardless of size, but itâ€™s non-negotiable. To avoid unnecessary conflicts, increase engagement and productivity, and produce quality work for your team to be on the same page.
Luckily, some tactics can help you keep everyone in the loop. These include:
* Define the role of your team members clearly
* Have a company glossary
* Have a point person for particular projects
* Document all spoken conversations
* Set clear rules for your communication channels
* Use one tool for all company chats
* Manage all projects from one dashboard
Using these tactics will help you streamline your internal communication. And youâ€™ll build an environment where employees can share their ideas and feedback freely. As a result, your company culture will be better.
To simplify your business tasks and activities, itâ€™s essential to outsource tasks that arenâ€™t a good use of your time.
If you want to scale your business quickly, you shouldnâ€™t try to do everything by yourself. This is stressful and it lowers your productivity. Outsourcing can improve your productivity significantly because it helps you spend more time on the most important areas of your business.
Your answer to these three questions will help you know if you need to outsource:
* Am I procrastinating on this activity?
* Do I dread doing this task?
* Am I good at this task? If the answer is “no,” then find an expert who can help you out.
You can easily outsource some tasks such as answering the phone, research and gathering data, content marketing, social media management, and shopping. Delegating and outsourcing tedious and major tasks may be terrifying at first, but itâ€™s crucial if you want to be more productive.
Tools to Help with Streamlining and Standardization
Simplifying and standardizing a business can be a challenging and tedious task. However, there are tools that can help you out. These include:
* Google Drive (https://gsuite.google.com/products/drive/)
Sharing files and documents is a big part of Google Drive, thereby making it easier for you to pass your documents to your employees. With Google Drive, you can make your files accessible to all your employees.
Also, Google Drive makes it easier to correct mistakes made by someone else – all while saving every update made on a file for up to 30 days or 100 revisions. And you can limit who has access to your files to keep your files secure.
* Google Calendar (https://gsuite.google.com/products/calendar/)
With Google Calendar, you can spend less time planning and instead focus on more constructive tasks. The shareable calendar integrates seamlessly with Gmail, Google Drive, Contacts, Sites, and Hangouts. So youâ€™re able to know whatâ€™s next and schedule events quickly by checking your employeesâ€™ availability or layering their calendars in a single view.
=> 4. Automating Processes
Stop imagining the future of artificial intelligence (AI) because the future is here already. While robots arenâ€™t doing our shopping, AI is becoming huge in the business world. And the growth is significant.
Actually, most of the top ten AI startups are located in the US. That means intelligent automation is increasingly visible in the business world already. The advances in AI, robotics, and machine learning are bringing in the new age of automation, because machines match or outshine human activities that need cognitive capabilities.
Link for more information – https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/these-100-companies-are-leading-the-world-in-artificial-intelligence?utm_content=bufferb0a37&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
How Automation Allows for Growth
Automation of tasks helps businesses to boost performance because it reduces mistakes – thus improving quality and speed. This enables companies to achieve outcomes that sometimes go beyond human capabilities.
Also, automation boosts productivity. It offers the needed boost to economic growth and prosperity, which in turn helps to offset the effect of the declining working-age population in many countries. Automation can improve productivity globally by 0.8 to 1.4 percent yearly.
Link for more information – https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/featured insights/digital disruption/harnessing automation for a future that works/a-future-that-works-executive-summary-mgi-january-2017.ashx
Integrating automation and technology in your business can often reduce the time taken to do the same job. With the help of automation, your employees can do so much more in a limited time, with less or no boring work. Plus, advances in computing systems can help cut down on mundane activities and simplify complicated tasks – all while helping handle volumes of work in a short time.
By automating your business, you can leave machines to handle tasks that need high levels of effectiveness and precision. Computing systems can help your company improve capabilities across functions such as production and marketing, while making sure expensive errors donâ€™t occur.
Also, automation can foster a significant increase in revenues and profit, because with digital technologies and automation you can have a higher market reach. Businesses that are digitally engaged with their customers make more revenue compared to those relying on offline business operations.
Things You Can Easily Automate
Automation isnâ€™t reserved for big companies only. Even startups and small businesses can integrate automation in every aspect of their operations: from capturing leads to serving customers to closing sales to handling routine tasks. If you automate repetitive tasks, you can devote your time to more crucial things â€” like scaling your business.
Automation is easier than you think. Here are three things you can automate easily:
If youâ€™re meeting new prospects or responding to customers who have made inquiries about your business, automated processes can help you gain and keep leads quickly and efficiently.
Using automation software, you respond immediately without wasting any time. Add a “contact us” form on your website. Once a prospect completes the form, the automation software can send an email response right away.
However, no matter how great your products or services are, donâ€™t expect prospects to invite you into their inboxes eagerly. So when collecting email addresses, you have to offer your prospects something such as free content to get their email addresses.
Automation software can be the project manager for your sales team. It can help your team focus on the most important tasks and keep track of leads who arenâ€™t ready to buy, while making sure thereâ€™s progress at every stage of the sales journey.
With automation software, you can organize the processes your sales team will follow to close a deal. Once the process is defined, the sales team can guide leads from one sales stage to another while making sure thereâ€™s consistency and visibility.
Also, automation software can rank your leads based on their engagement with your marketing efforts. Using this lead scoring, you can then focus on prospects who are ready to buy over those who need more time.
3. Customer Service
With automation software, you can treat your customers like you have all the time in the world. You can help them instantly, respond to their queries immediately and even wish them a happy birthday.
Automation software can help you email a survey link to customers who recently made a purchase. And you will be able to know how satisfied your customers are. Plus, you can set up the software in a way that negative feedback triggers a task to contact the customer via email or phone. This will help you prevent more damage.
If a client response is positive, send an automated email to thank them and ask them if theyâ€™d be willing to share more about their experience. A customerâ€™s testimonial is a powerful way to show the value of your products or services.
Tools You Can Use to Automate Your Business
Automation can help you scale your business quickly. And here are a few tools you can use to do it:
* Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com/) or Buffer (https://buffer.com/)
Creating a social media presence is essential in scaling your business. However, itâ€™s tedious to run and manage social media campaigns across multiple platforms. Fortunately, with tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, you can automate a lot of your social media marketing efforts.
These two tools are similar and theyâ€™re both great. But Buffer is more intuitive, and it has better scheduling options.
* Leadformly (https://leadformly.com/)
To grow your business, youâ€™ll need to automate your sales process so that you easily handle more leads and convert more of them into buyers â€” without building a whole sales team.
With Leadformly, you can automate most of your sales process. It boosts your sales funnel conversion rates, and it helps you segment your leads directly on your landing pages.
Once you have landing pages that generate more leads, you can automate your responses with ActiveCampaign segmented email lists and automation capabilities. This will make your sales process more efficient, allowing you to focus on leads that are ready to buy.
Link – https://www.activecampaign.com/
Now, you should be able to run your business smoothly, with less effort and more focus on planning for growth.