If you own a small business, you know how difficult it is to get everything up and running smoothly.
You want things done and you want them done right, but sometimes you end up moving so fast that processes seem to work on a case-by-case basis. You might find yourself wondering, “How do big businesses do it?” If your answer to that question is “money,” you might be right—CRMs can be pricey after all. But what you might not know is that process automation doesn’t have to be so expensive.
There are a variety of tools that help you scale at your own pace. If you start with automating just one process, you’ll see how quickly it helps streamline your team’s tasks. Just think of the possibilities! Manual processes are expensive and create hefty office supply costs as well as the potential for human error. They lead to a lower return on investment (ROI) as contracts and other documents slowly move through all the manual steps.
TIP: It can be hard to find a CRM that fits your small business needs and budget. Let us help—check out these CRMs for SMBs.
Small business process automation
In a recent economic impact study on workflow automation at businesses, the study found that over three years of automation, ROI was 176% with a payback period of 10.5 months.
Automation tools expedite business processes, reduce paper costs, and put money into your pocket faster. Process automation can help your business compete with big competitors that have the staff numbers you don’t. Let’s talk about how you can do this on a budget.
Implement and execute standard processes
As your business grows, operating on a case-by-case basis will get more and more difficult. Having a standard process in place helps every project move from start to finish more efficiently. While many organizations have processes that are undocumented and difficult to duplicate, there are ways to map, replicate, and update your business processes with ease. It starts with documentation and analysis of your team’s usual tasks and processes. Once you understand the commonalities between specific processes, you can begin to map out your project’s workflow. Standardized processes are the key to taking the guesswork out of completing mission-critical tasks and alleviating your company’s growing pains.
Create and automate forms
No matter what industry you’re in, forms are always a critical piece of an organization’s business. Whether it’s an application, contract, or final approval, you need a way to digitally manage form data and streamline approval processes. Why print, scan, or fax paper forms when you can easily create digital assets?
Static PDFs and paper forms make data collection tedious and time-consuming. Even emails, spreadsheets, and chat logs often fall short when it comes to collecting and syncing data to other systems.
Organizations can collect data faster and more accurately with mobile-responsive web forms. Designed to support today’s on-the-go teams, process automation tools give you the freedom to complete tasks from the field, office, or wherever you may be.
Manage and track approvals with digital e-signatures
While ink and paper are tried and true, your John Hancock is not what it used to be. In today’s digital age, there’s a more secure and efficient way to approve official documents. Digital signatures ensure documents get signed and returned quickly from any device. With wet signatures, there’s no audit trail or encryption, not to mention the hassle of printing, scanning, and emailing. Small and big businesses alike are experiencing the growth of mobile workforces. Whether your team is spread across a county, state, or country, process automation tools help keep your documents from getting stalled in the document-signing process. Rather than waiting for the signer to see the hard copy waiting for them, get an encrypted e-signature tool for secure, trackable transactions.
Small business mindset, big business aesthetic
You might be asking what tools offer all this without the hefty big business price tag? While some CRM solutions can be rather pricey, others offer unique pricing models that make it much more affordable for small-scale clients. Automating your business processes can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Start with just one process and begin mapping out what steps your team takes every day. You might be surprised to see what documentation and automation can do for you.
Eliminate manual processes and streamline your document-based workflows with a process automation tool.
Ashley is a marketing communications manager at Accusoft, with several years of experience in content marketing for the technology industry. She completed her dual Bachelor’s in Journalism and Sociology at Ohio University in 2013 and received her Master’s of Global Strategic Communication from the University of Florida in 2016. In her spare time, she enjoys trying new local restaurants with her fiance and taking her fur baby Luna to the dog park.