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I am an automation developer and marketing consultant, and along with working as a contract developer/marketing consultant and managing my very own small enterprise, I work for a big multinational accounting agency serving to enterprise-size shoppers (suppose 1000+ staff) implement scripts/methods to automate massive parts of their accounting, bookkeeping, and reporting processes. It is fairly unimaginable to see simply what number of man-hours just a few easy scripts can save enormous corporations, however the greatest issues I’ve discovered working from with small companies and managing my very own enterprise are:

1. Out of necessity, most small enterprise house owners spend the vast majority of their time on duties to take care of and handle their companies, fairly than specializing in development and income era.
2. Due to what I discussed in 1., automation can have as a lot, if no more, of an affect on ***small companies as nicely***, even sole proprietorships.
3. Although automation appears inaccessible, small enterprise house owners can generate quite a lot of “***fast wins***” with automation (even with out coding data, although that definitely helps).
4. Automating facets of what you are promoting helps make that particular portion of what you are promoting run ***extra easily,*** growing your capacity to scale the general enterprise effectively.

Since this an extended put up, let me first give a **TL;DR.**

**TL;DR – Automation can be utilized to assist velocity up quite a lot of duties from bookkeeping, kind filling, knowledge reporting/evaluation, and knowledge scraping (on opponents’ costs, for instance). If you end up expending little to no brainpower performing a job and are considering, “a monkey might do that”, it’s extremely seemingly you possibly can automate that job, even when no present software program answer exists to fill that want for you.**

**How are you, as e-commerce house owners in quite a lot of niches with various enterprise challenges, adopting and embracing automation up to now? What are some duties that you simply want you possibly can automate to present your self again extra time to develop what you are promoting?**

Now, for individuals who are inquisitive about studying additional, let me give just a few sensible examples of how automation can be utilized, each with and with out incorporating customized constructed scripts.

**Answer #1: Bookkeeping/Accounting**

Bookkeeping/accounting is definitely one of many best “wins” to generate with automation – Quickbooks On-line affords built-in automation options equivalent to the power to combine instantly along with your financial institution and permit Quickbooks to routinely course of/categorize recurring transactions. This text on the Intuit web site supplies a superb intro to those capabilities: [Link](https://quickbooks.intuit.com/weblog/accountant-advice/automating-bank-feeds-recurring-invoices-quickbooks-online/).

Quickbooks additionally integrates with a number of third-party apps equivalent to Expensify, which lets you automate (to a big extent) worker expense processing. These options are “fast wins” which any small enterprise proprietor can benefit from to avoid wasting themselves time, even with none data of easy methods to code or script.

Past these built-in integrations, automating the interplay between, as an example, a CRM system that manages invoicing, and Quickbooks (or whichever accounting software program you employ), is definitely fairly easy. I had one shopper that paid her bookkeeper about $2,500 a yr simply to drag invoices out of her specialty CRM system and enter the main points into Quickbooks – it took me little or no time and a fraction of the price to construct her a script that does the very same factor for her on a recurring foundation. She now has saved 1000’s on that bookkeeping expense, and might get extra “up-to-the-minute” income information on her enterprise on account of counting on the script, and never her bookkeeper.

**Answer #2: Type Filling & Customized Electronic mail Technology**

First off, quite a lot of customized e-mail era, notably advertising and marketing emails, might be dealt with utilizing pre-built e-mail instruments equivalent to Mailchimp, Sender, and actually a whole bunch of others. In case you are not leveraging instruments like these in some capability, you need to definitely discover doing so – e-mail advertising and marketing and customized e-mail era, given the expertise out there, ought to be a minimum of partially automated to maximise the time you may dedicate to what you are promoting.

Past advertising and marketing emails, filling out and submitting/printing varieties, together with sending customized emails, are extremely irritating duties that may truly be automated surprisingly shortly. Utilizing Python (notably the Selenium library), you may write a script to take buyer knowledge saved in Excel and fill out net varieties or create customized emails routinely. One nice instance of that is sending billing emails – I had one shopper ask me to assist him create a script that might routinely e-mail ship a reminder e-mail to all shoppers with excellent balances at month-end – the e-mail kindly reminded every shopper of the quantities they owed, and saved him just a few hours every month that he ordinarily spent pulling collectively and sending out that data.

**Answer #3: Researching Rivals’ Costs (notably helpful for e-commerce)**

This, in my view, is without doubt one of the strongest makes use of of automation for small and mid-sized e-commerce companies. A pal of mine who runs a comparatively profitable e-commerce firm had me assist him construct a easy software to analysis the costs of things that a few of his opponents had been itemizing in their very own on-line shops. Beforehand, he would put collectively periodic worth comparability studies to let him know the way his opponents had been pricing their merchandise – nonetheless, after constructing out a script to carry out this course of routinely, he was capable of get way more frequent worth checks with none effort on his half, permitting him to remain one step forward of his opponents.

Inside e-commerce, there’s truly an unlimited quantity of functions for automation. I am not solely accustomed to quite a lot of the instruments on the market, however I do know there are quite a lot of pre-built options that may automate quite a lot of e-commerce processes with out requiring any coding data. Past that, there’s loads that you are able to do to automate your personal processes with just a little little bit of Python data.

I’ve used combos of the above options, together with many different extra area of interest options, to streamline my very own enterprise and assist different small enterprise house owners do the identical. I personally am always on the lookout for new methods to avoid wasting myself time on repetitive “admin” and advertising and marketing duties by means of automation, in order that I can have extra time to deal with work that requires extra thought and judgment.

My query is: ***how are you embracing automation***? Is it one thing you are actively attempting to implement? If that’s the case, how are you going about doing so and what instruments/software program are you utilizing? And past the potential makes use of I’ve outlined above, what are another duties that you simply as small enterprise house owners in quite a lot of industries end up wishing that you possibly can get carried out routinely?

Please additionally be at liberty to PM me when you have any questions or insights – I like chatting with and studying from different small enterprise house owners!

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