As a small business, staying lean and efficient is paramount to your continued success and profitability. Regardless of the type, size, or location of your small business, automation is one of the best ways to stay lean and efficient. As a small business owner, your time is invaluable, and while it may be tempting to keep your operations close to your chest, your business will benefit tremendously when you let go and turn to automation.

From emails and content creation to marketing and accounting, the ability to automate your business’s repetitive tasks will ultimately save time, reduce costs, and allow you and your team to focus your attention and efforts on minimizing errors and promoting sustainable growth.

There are a multitude of ways to automate your business; here’s a list of four quick changes you can make to cut costs and reclaim your precious time.

1). Hire a Virtual Assistant for Repetitive Tasks

Virtual assistants are one of the chief resources to help you save money and accomplish tasks efficiently. At a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee, a virtual assistant can provide your business with specialized services around the clock. Repetitive and recurring tasks such as bookkeeping, blogging, marketing and social media are just a few of the many responsibilities you can delegate to a virtual assistant.

2). Set Up a Chatbot So Customers Can Easily Ask for Help

Customers have a knack for needing things at all hours of the day and night. You’ve already been putting in 10-hour days all week and it simply isn’t realistic for you or your employees to be available 24/7. A chatbot is one of the easiest and most affordable ways you can assure both existing and prospective clients that someone is always available to help.  

Even when you or an employee are available, chatbots can often provide helpful answers to simple questions, freeing up employees to focus on tasks that require direct human attention. Setting up a chatbot so customers can easily ask for help is a great low-cost tool for helping to minimize inefficiencies in your day-to-day operations.

Chatbots should be an integral part of your business’s sales and customer service experience and will ensure that you communicate with 100 percent of visitors who land on your website. Chatbots make it easy for customers to receive the help and guidance they need, without you or your employees having to sacrificing valuable time.  

3). Outsource Content Creation to Qualified Writers

Outsourcing content creation to qualified writers comes with numerous benefits that will help automate your business and reduce costs. An expert employee may be great for accomplishing specific tasks or overseeing a team, but when it comes to content creation, outsourcing is key to putting your writing needs on autopilot.

Enlisting the outside services of a qualified writer will save you the time-consuming, costly hassle of training and employing a dedicated writer. Outsourcing content creation also gives you access to a virtually limitless pool of specialized freelance writers who can produce more content faster, in addition to empowering you with the flexibility to ramp up or dial back your content production at any time.  

4). Use Automated Social Media Publishing Tools

A staggering 83 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 say they use social media.[1] With over 90 percent of companies in the U.S. utilizing social media platforms for marketing,[2] make sure your small business stays relevant with the help of automated social media publishing tools.

Social media publishing and management apps like Buffer, Hootsuite, Agorapulse, and eClincher will help optimize your business’s social media pages by allowing you to schedule posts across all platforms and receive messages in a single, easy-to-manage mailbox. These tools can also help your business understand key metrics, and analyze and improve engagement and the performance of your posts.