While running your own business is one of the most rewarding things, it definitely gets overwhelming! Thankfully, there are parts of business that can be completely automated. Automating tasks like payroll, tax filing, and invoicing frees up time, reduces stress, and lets you focus your unique talents on helping your business succeed!
Here are some of the best choices to help you automate your business.
Gusto is a payroll and HR platform that is super simple to use and lets you handle all your employee management on one platform. You get a professional, remote HR team working for you, so if you have any questions, it’s easy to reach out and get help!
Accurate, up-to-date bookkeeping is the key to tracking and planning your business finances. For this, we use Bench. With Bench, you get a remote bookkeeping team that tracks and records all your business transactions, and an intuitive app to help you pulse-check your finances on the go. Professionally prepared financial reports make it easy to track business performance. And Bench will even file your taxes for you at the end of the year—one less job ticked off your to-do list.
One major benefit of signing up with Bench: They offer catch-up bookkeeping services. So, if your day-to-day bookkeeping has fallen behind, your team at Bench will bring it up to speed!
If business often has you on the road, writing mileage off your taxes can save you big bucks. Problem is, you need receipts and a comprehensive travel log to back up your claim. That can mean digging for receipts and records come tax season.
MileIQ is a simple app, working in the background on your phone to keep a record of where you’ve driven. The app lets you set work hours and favorite locations, making categorizing trips easy. MileIQ then compiles all your travels into one easy-to-read record, making it simple to claim mileage when tax season rolls around!
If you collect a major part of your income by invoicing, you can end up working overtime just so you can get paid! Thankfully, Freshbooks is an easy solution, and quickly becoming the industry standard for freelancers and the rest of the invoice crowd. Freshbooks lets you create invoices on the fly, filling them in with saved client profiles and your services. Track your paid, unpaid, and not-yet-sent invoices, send reminders with a click, and collect payment by credit card.
If you’re on the fence, Freshbooks offers a free trial!
A paperless office is a tidy office. Digitizing receipts will help you cut back on clutter and make sure you can back up your deductions. Shoeboxed turns your paper records into pure data. Stuff an envelope, send it in, and you’ll get a reliable, comprehensive expense report in the cloud!
Doing business in multiple states? Keeping track of sales tax can get you lost in a tangle of spreadsheets. TaxJar sets you free. Easily integrating with your online store, it produces monthly “return-ready” reports. You always know how much tax you’ve collected, and how much you need to file.
If you travel for work like us, TripIt takes the stress out of planning. The service scans your inbox for events, airline reservations, hotel bookings, and car rentals. Then, it automatically builds an itinerary that you can reference from anywhere. Sharing and collaboration options let partners and team members hop on the ride as well.
When you’re ready to expand your team, you’ll want to find employees who are worth the investment. ZipRecruiter saves you the hassle of making multiple postings on multiple job boards. Submit one listing, and ZipRecruiter automatically submits it to over 50 job sites. Plus, through ZipRecruiter’s interface, you can manage al your job applications in one place.
When you start to build your teal, getting a new employee up to speed can be very time consuming. Trainual is an easy-to-use tool that smooths out the onboarding process. Keep all your company’s info in one online training manual, and create tests for employees to complete. Then, test their knowledge, track their progress, and get back to business.
When you’re inundated with emails on a daily basis, a tidy inbox can seem impossible. Sanebox lumps together all your non-urgent mail into a daily or weekly digest. So you can review all your non-essential communications at a glance, and focus your energy on the stuff that really matters!
If you’re thinking of hiring a designer for your business, but hunting down the right one seems overwhelming, Design Pickle is here to help. For a flat monthly fee, the service lets you submit unlimited design requests. Suddenly, designers are looking for you—and not the other way around!
We all spend a little too much time on social media, but thankfully planning your feeds can be easy and streamlined. Buffer lets you run multiple social media accounts for your business all from one place. Write and schedule posts in advance, and Buffer makes sure they reach your followers. So you can market your business on the timeline, while saving time for your most valuable one-on-one customer interactions.
CUSTOMER RELATIONS MANAGEMENT (CRM)
Salesforce is the industry standard for managing customer journeys—from first contact, to sale, to repeat business. But because of its high price, Salesforce is a serious investment. Many small business owners opt to use spreadsheets instead—and end up devoting more time and energy to CRM than they ever intended to.
Zoho is a robust alternative to Salesforce, offering much of the same functionality at a fraction of the cost. And it even includes some marketing tools Salesforce doesn’t offer as part of its standard CRM.
Your FAQ can only go so far. Who can a prospective customer talk to if they have questions you haven’t already answered? Pop-up chat boxes are an increasingly popular solution. Popping up right away on your website’s main page, they encourage users to reach out to you directly, rather than sending an email. That means you can start interacting with a user immediately, cultivating them as a new lead, without cluttering your inbox.
Tawk is a well-rounded, free option. It’s quick and easy to set up, letting you monitor site visitors in real time. You can even set “shortcut” responses to common questions. And if you don’t have the time to monitor your chat dashboard 24/7, Tawk will help you hire live chat agents for $1 an hour.
Once you start an ecommerce business, you soon become a familiar face at the local post office. But if you want to skip the line—and save time and money—there are a few easy solutions.
Stamps.com lets you print off postage from the comfort of your own home or office. It takes the guesswork out of shipping prices, too—so you know how much to charge your customers.
Shipstation completes the rest of the shipping process. It connects with most off-the-shelf ecommerce platforms, letting you track order fulfillment, print shipping and return labels—plus packing slips—en mass. And you can set up shipping profiles to track customer preferences and fulfill future orders faster.
Automating the tasks that eat up your hours are sure to help your business run more smoothly. No matter what type of business you have, we hope these tips will make your life as a business owner easier!
Need more advice on how to run your business smoothly? Check out our blog for more free resources!