There are countless technology platforms around today to automate or create shortcuts in your business practices. Here are eight of the most relevant tools for small businesses to help you get back to the fun stuff.
If you want to turn your payroll into more of an employee portal, KeyPay can schedule and automate employee timesheets and pay runs, as well as providing a secure platform for staff to keep their bank details up to date.
Businesses with larger workforces can also use KeyPay for staff scheduling and to clock on/clock off employees, to keep everything in one place.
For customer relationship management (CRM) and inbound marketing opportunities, HubSpot has an excellent small business CRM that will help you identify, grow and track your sales pipeline.
The CRM tracks customer interactions automatically across all your digital channels, and it also can be automated to complete the boring data entry that goes with sales. The best part? It’s 100 per cent free.
Staff training can be one of the most time-consuming tasks on your list – not only do you have to write the content, you also have to deliver it. Platforms like CourseGenius enable you to create and deliver staff training online, meaning you save time and your employees can do their training at their desk or on the go.
You can create your own courses or use one of their pre-built compliance courses covering areas like bullying and harassment, workplace health and safety, and social media and electronic communications.
These legally authored courses will ensure your new and existing staff have accurate training without the strain of delivery.
Social media scheduling has become pretty common now, but take it a step further with Edgar, a clever little tool that not only schedules all your cross-channel posts, but reuses your best content to get even more views.
You can quickly set up a content library and schedule posts, and Edgar will take it from there, reviewing what content is most relevant to each of your channels’ audiences then repurposing existing content to ensure your feed is always engaging.
Use email marketing as an easy loyalty-building tool with a service like MailChimp, which allows you to create automated campaigns.
MailChimp Automation will allow you to create a series of emails triggered by a specific date, event or a subscriber’s activity. Segment your readers to target them based on their activity and reader stats, then send them emails that engage them accordingly – perhaps a reward, an offer or an informative update based on their previous behaviour.
If you have an e-commerce offering, you can also integrate MailChimp to track sales generated through the email marketing.
There are plenty of tools for project management, but for a simple, central communication platform across your business, a platform like Slack can save a lot of time.
Send messages individually or to a team, then track and search conversations through tags.
You can upload documents and tag to link through a conversation, integrate the platform with other popular apps like calendars, and centralise all your notifications. The easy-to-use mobile application doesn’t hurt either.
Bringing on a new employee takes time, paperwork and data entry, but digital platforms like HROnboard have all these steps covered in one place.
Once a new hire is confirmed, HROnboard can automatically send, receive and process all onboarding paperwork, verify all tax and bank details and add the new employee to the payroll system.
In coding, the acronym IFTTT means ‘if this, then that’, and that’s exactly what this extensive bank of tools does.
IFTTT allows you to search through thousands of shortcuts to replace regular digital sequences in your business, such as automatically tracking your work hours through what’s in your calendar, or automatically sending an event reminder on the morning of the event to all staff via a Slack channel.
Think of it as a gloss on top of your existing digital practices, so you can save time on those niggly little daily tasks.
Sarah Mateljan is the co-founder of CourseGenius, an online training platform for SMEs.