We’ve all heard it by now, the bold prophecy that “automation is the future!” But what does that mean exactly?
For a long time, the image many people had in their heads when envisioning automated business solutions was one of robotic assembly lines, mechanical hands piecing together tangible products like cars and computers. There has to be software backing up that hardware, though, which means that business automation has just as much potential in the online workplace as in a manufacturing plant.
Actually, that’s a lie. It has more potential in the online workplace.
Through business process automation, your company can reduce the number of resources otherwise wasted on simple but time-consuming tasks—lead generation, stock and order tracking, analytics reports—thus freeing up workers to focus on more complex and fulfilling jobs.
In the process, you’ll be able to take your business to a higher level without taking your spending to an equally high level.
The Importance of Scaling a Business
Before we get into how automation can help you scale your business, it’s worth discussing what we mean when we talk about scaling a business in the first place. There is often confusion and conflation between “scaling” and “growing” a business.
When a business grows, everything increases. That includes not just revenues, but expenses as well. The capital backing the company increases. The size of the labor force increases. The number of goods and services produced increases.
A company that grows by taking on new clients has to hire new employees to serve them. A company that grows by attracting more buyers has to stock more items to meet demand. That’s why growth is so hard to sustain; you need to increase your resources to keep up the pace.
Conversely, when a business scales, it increases its revenues without significantly increasing resources. In other words, the company brings in more money without spending anything extra.
How is this possible? Below, we’ll outline five ways you scale your enterprise using automation to cut costs while still maintaining productivity and profitability.
5 Automated Business Ideas to Help You Scale
Last year, a PWC survey ranked the use of business automation for routine tasks as one of 2021’s top 5 applications for AI. It also noted that 52% of organizations are accelerating their adoption of automated business products for scaling purposes.
Here are some of the ways you can adopt automation for your own benefit.
Customer Service Automation
The user experience is an important part of SEO, and of doing business in general, for one simple reason: happy users are more likely to be paying users. That’s why having good customer service is so critical.
You might think that customer service, then, is one of the least ideal business processes to automate, but there are actually several ways of doing this that can, in fact, greatly improve the user experience.
For example, live chat software makes it easy to actively engage with online users when they need you most, while reducing the need for traditional help desks. At the same time, chatbots can be used to automate responses for common issues, reducing the time you have to spend on problems that you’ve already solved dozens of times before.
Additionally, self-service tools and linked FAQs empower users to resolve issues themselves by giving them the resources they need. No tickets. No waits.
Financial Process Automation
When it comes to prime automation candidates, a business’ financial processes often constitute a perfect storm: they’re essential but repetitive, time-consuming, and have low-value returns. In other words, they’re not the kind of tasks you want to spend a lot of resources on, but they’re still tasks that need doing.
So, why not let a machine do them for you?
Aside from initial set-up, occasional check-ins, and the odd update or calibration necessitated by changes in your business, everything from internal payroll to vendor payments to client invoicing and more can easily be automated with minimal human intervention.
Not only is this a great way to scale your enterprise, but it also allows you to put the resources you have to better use, including researching other ways to continue scaling your business in the future.
Digital Marketing Automation
While there will always be a need for living, breathing, professional digital marketing experts to create individualized strategies, manage campaigns, and create high-quality content, that doesn’t mean automation can’t play a role in making online marketing more effective and more efficient.
Lead generation, tracking, and ad spend are just a few of the business automation options that your marketing team can leverage to maximize both reach and conversion.
One of the best applications of automation in terms of sourcing and nurturing leads is to create individual “classes” of lead types, based on where the lead came from, what products or services they might be interested in, the likelihood of conversion, etc. This in turn allows you to actually put more leads into your pipeline without getting overwhelmed or disorganized.
Additionally, automation can be used to schedule and publish social media posts, taking the tedious grunt work out of social media marketing without removing your ability to engage one-on-one with customers through direct messages and comment replies.
Legal Operations Automation
When we talk about automating legal operations, don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you hire a robot lawyer as counsel—although that does sound like a fun premise for a TV show.
That said, think once again about how many repetitive, time-consuming, low-value tasks you waste resources on every day simply because you legally need to.
Take contracts for example. Through business process automation, you can actually integrate contract management software into your customer relationship management suite. Version control software can automatically track and save updates to contracts, while AI-powered document review tools identify issues and simplify the editing process.
Even something as simple as utilizing standardized legal templates to populate relevant variables can have an enormous impact, saving you hours of time, money, and energy.
Sales Process Automation
There was a time when the key to closing a sale was face-to-face or over-the-phone salesmanship. These days, though, most customers already know exactly what they’re looking for. They just need help finding it.
An SEO agency can help your business in that regard—if you ask nicely, I might know a good one *COUGH* LSEO *COUGH*—but what happens when the sale is made? Who takes the money? Who saves the customer’s contact and delivery information? Who logs the order and tells the warehouse to begin shipping?
These and dozens of other facets of the online sales process are among the most easily and widely automated business tasks today. If the product or service your company sells is already digital, then that just makes things even easier.
Simply put, there’s no reason why any business operating in 2022 shouldn’t have an automated sales process. If you don’t, you’re throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars daily.
How to Optimize Your Scaling Business Strategy
The digital marketplace is a constantly evolving animal, with advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning growing by leaps and bounds every year. It can be a lot to keep up with.
When developing a scaling business strategy, it’s important to know exactly which aspects of your business are best suited to automation. It’s also important to know what business automation tools and programs do the job best, as well as how to extract every drop of value from those tools.
At LSEO, we strive to provide our clients with the very best SEO services and other digital marketing solutions that help them take advantage of the newest, most up-to-date, and most effective technological solutions.
If you need help scaling your business with automation, we’re happy to put our expertise to work for you. Contact us today!