Unexpected Capabilities. Unmatched Service.

5 Helpful Automation Tools for Small Businesses

Small businesses are often high on needs, but low on personnel and resources. And founding a small business means acting as CEO, CFO, COO, accountant, sales rep, cashier … you get the picture. That’s where automation tools come in.

Your goal should be to eventually hire specialists to fill these roles, but you need to grow your business before you can afford adding on salaries. Until then, technology offers a few solutions that won’t take the tasks completely off your shoulders, but they will lighten the load.

Automation tools geared toward small businesses help you accomplish a number of tasks, from managing your e-commerce operations to helping you invoice to streamlining your social media posts. The following are five such options and an explanation on how each can help your burgeoning biz.

5 Automation Tools for Small Businesses

1. MailChimp: MailChimp is an email marketing management platform that offers a few free features for smaller businesses with thin budgets, and more advanced tools for businesses that are a little farther down the road. You can automate email distribution, build custom rules and generate performance reports that help you understand what works and what doesn’t. MailChimp even integrates with major e-commerce providers, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, in a way that allows you to learn from your purchase data so you can create smarter, more targeted emails.

2. Slack: Slack, an online messaging and communications platform, is particularly useful for small businesses that are heavily reliant on remote employees who can’t meet in the office. The program supports group conversations, direct messages and voice and video calls, and allows you to share files with your team whenever you want. Slack’s apps allow users to engage in the service from anywhere via PC, tablet or smartphone. While you can get basic messaging services via the free version of Slack, more advanced pay plans include features such as compliance exports of all messages, 20GB file storage per member and mandatory two-factor authentication.

3. Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a set of social media management tools that interacts with more than 35 social networks and other programs – from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to YouTube and WordPress. Hootsuite offers a range of solutions depending on what you can afford. Even the free plan is useful for startups, offering management of up to three social profiles, content scheduling and basic analytics. Higher-tier plans, such as the Business option at $99.99 a month, allow users to manage up to 50 social profiles with unlimited app integrations, social campaigns and 24/7 priority support.

4. FreshBooks: FreshBooks boasts that its accounting software is “ridiculously easy to use” – a big draw for small business owners who aren’t well-versed in the accounting arts. FreshBooks offers features such as invoicing, tracking expenses, time tracking for yourself and other employees, project management and more. FreshBooks also offers additional convenience by making many of its features available on mobile, such as chat, expense management and invoice view notifications.

5. QuickBooks: Intuit’s QuickBooks is one of the best-known names in small business software, and competes with FreshBooks in the accounting space. QuickBooks also allows small businesses to manage important processes like payroll, as well as checks and tax forms, and offers features such as linking receipts to expenses via smartphone pictures, mileage tracking and P&L monitoring. One note on plan pricing: QuickBooks’ only free plan is a 30-day trial. However, plans for self-employed independent contractors typically start at $10 a month, and plans for small businesses typically start at $15 a month.

As a small business owner, it’s important for you to automate and streamline as many processes as possible. And while we can completely automate your accounting, McManamon & Co. can reduce the stress and time required to keep your financials straight. To learn more about our full spectrum of accounting, paperless office and tax services, call us at 440.892.8900, or send us a message.

Tags:  , , , , | Posted in accounting, McManamon & Co., paperless office, small business, small business taxes, taxes