With so many possibilities out there, you don't have to manually complete every task.
ENTREPRENEUR LEADERSHIP NETWORK CONTRIBUTOR
Co-founder of SchoolSafe
Multitask much? According to science, you’re either fooling yourself into thinking you’re productive or simply stressing yourself out for no good reason. Sure, you might feel efficient when you’re running around, but as a Cleveland Clinic article asserts, our brains aren’t designed to tackle more than one high-level function at a time. We just can’t take it all in, even if we’re powered up on coffee.
So how can we avoid trying to do everything at once? The answer is pretty simple: Get help. Assistance can come in countless forms: colleagues, perhaps a student intern, maybe even a family member. Help can also come via technology. Specifically, automation tools aimed at making life easier. As a recent Zapier poll showed, 64 percent of people are already on the automation bandwagon. Don’t worry: There’s room for you, too.
If you’re exhausted from trying to juggle too many tasks at once, your solution could be as close as a new addition to your tech stack. Which responsibilities should you automate? Consider five key areas.
1. Set and forget social
Is your team tweeting and posting by hand? Though it might be worth occasionally jumping onto social media trending topics, most messaging can be scheduled. This ensures you’re staying top of mind without having to remember when to hit the “submit” button.
Hootsuite has been a pioneer in creating an easy-to-follow framework for posting and listening on classic and emerging social sites. Nevertheless, other contenders are making their mark, including AgoraPulse and its focus on delivering high engagement, even on relatively untested platforms like TikTok.
2. Stop manually managing contracts
Selling doesn’t have to be synonymous with paper shuffling. Regrettably, far too many businesspeople waste time chasing down documents instead of focusing on to-dos that require more thought and consideration. Take sending and editing contracts, for instance. Why spend days or weeks going back and forth through in-person meetings, faxed papers or emailed PDFs when you can do everything in an encrypted portal?
Industry disruptors like PandaDoc help improve your sales automation by allowing real-time edits to get contracts signed, sealed and delivered — virtually and legally. This allows you to improve your productivity without losing the vital personal touch with clients whether you’re trying to snag bids or generate invoices.
3. Modernize your inventory flow
Supply-chain management is an essential part of keeping operations moving forward. Unfortunately, it’s a tedious task, especially when employees are tasked with tracking, stocking and ordering inventory. Inventory can come in countless forms: widgets used to make products, or goods sold through an ecommerce platform. And it can all be automated.
Many platforms exist to help keep your supply chain from breaking down. Companies like Oracle have even added an AI component to their supply chain solutions, giving you in-depth insights as well as streamlined answers to your toughest chain-management problems. It’s extraordinarily helpful to have all your inventory information in one cloud-based location where you can gain insights or fulfill orders instantly.
Related: E-commerce is growing thanks to women: study
4. Call in your chatbot
Customers are going to have questions. The same questions. And they’re going to ask them again and again. Instead of asking your service representatives to respond to frequently asked questions and eat up valuable time on the phone or online with consumers, turn to automated chatbots.
Today’s chatbots are surprisingly effective in helping customers problem-solve. An advanced chatbot system powered by machine learning can be taught not just what people tend to ask, but the language they use. The chatbot can then “fetch” answers, such as sending a customer to a specific web page or instructive video. If you’re hesitant to see how reliable a chatbot can be at automating service, check out the advanced chatbots at Capital One and HelloFresh’s sites for inspiration.
5. Retire your paycheck calculator.
Unless you’re someone who lives for being tethered to a calculator, you’re probably not excited about double-checking your employees’ paychecks every week. Anytime you find yourself writing regular checks to vendors or independent contractors, you could be automating your actions and pivoting your attention to scaling your business.
Provider systems including Gusto and Paychex can accurately calculate anything from payroll to tax forms. After inputting the basic data into your software, you can sit back and let it do its thing. Gone are the days of spending your precious time on these more mundane tasks.
Related: 3 Tips on How to Grow and Scale Your Company During the Pandemic
Until someone invents a time machine, you’re stuck with 24 hours in a day. Instead of trying to cram every little responsibility into a limited timeframe, take advantage of automation. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself with enough extra minutes to enjoy your first sips of coffee.
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