Can Start-ups Benefit from Automation?

Startups strategy

Automation has become a hot topic in recent years, partly due to the impressive technological advances that have made automation increasingly accessible. Despite this, many people still assume that only large-scale enterprises can truly benefit from automation or that it’s only useful in certain settings, such as on a production line. 

While automation is certainly playing a pivotal role in the manufacturing industry and helping enterprises to increase their profitability, these aren’t the only instances in which automation can be valuable. In fact, it’s often smaller companies and start-ups that can benefit the most from embracing automation. 

Why Do Start-ups Benefit from Automation?

Start-ups and small businesses typically have fewer resources than larger companies, which means smaller workforces and less funds. When you don’t have a large staff to rely on, there are fewer people to perform critical activities and manage in-house processes. By incorporating automation into your operations, however, a small workforce or limited resources needn’t be a barrier to success.

When new businesses take advantage of automation, it can put them on a more even playing field and enable them to compete more effectively with larger or more established firms. As a result, start-ups which use automation effectively can maximise their profitability, optimise their performance and grow more quickly. 

With this in mind, take a look at the functions and processes that every start-up and small business can automate now:

1. Bookkeeping

Financial management is a critical aspect of running a business and it’s something you need to be proactive about all year round. However, most small businesses don’t require a full-time bookkeeper, so hiring someone could be a waste of your resources, particularly when there are automated solutions available. 

The right bookkeeping platform will suit the nature of your business and provide you with the functionality you need to stay on top of the day-to-day financial management of your start-up. From recording your expenses and collating data from a range of sources to issuing invoices and instigating the collections process, automated bookkeeping solutions can keep costs low while streamlining your company’s financial management. 

2. HR and Performance Management

In many ways, your workforce is your biggest asset, which is why it’s important to hire and retain top talent. In addition to this, you need to meet certain legal obligations as an employer, as well as incentivising your team and maximising outputs. 

While some companies rely on an entire HR department to manage their workforce, you can use an automated HR and performance management platform to get the same results. With StaffCircle, for example, you can create a customised database of your workforce, manage absences, establish onboarding and offboarding programs, create departmental and organisation charts, generate employee analytics reports and much more. 

Automating this aspect of your business can drastically reduce resource consumption but it can also give you peace of mind when it comes to compliance and meeting your obligations as an employer. 

3. Project Management

Whether you’re an agile business, a lean corporation or a waterfall organisation, you’ll need an established form of project management to help you achieve your goals. Many businesses adopt well-known methodologies, such as agile, lean or waterfall, to maximise productivity and efficiency, but using these methodologies alone isn’t always enough. 

Instead, you need to ensure you have the right resources to hand so that your preferred methodology can have maximum impact. With the right project management software, you can automate certain aspects of project management to minimise the time it takes project owners or scrum leaders to oversee a particular task or feature. 

With customised dashboards, real-time updates, collaboration tools and in-built methodology compatibility, project management tools can transform the way your business operates and ensure workflows are automated and efficient. 

4. Social Media

More than half of the world’s population is active on social media, which means it’s a fantastic way to reach your target audience. No matter what type of business you run, you can be sure that your target demographic is using one or more social media platforms. However, creating a profile and publishing content sporadically won’t help you to engage with them. 

Instead, you need to be active on social media regularly, post valuable content, direct users to your website or landing pages and get involved with relevant conversations. While you’d need an entire team of social media execs to do this manually, you can streamline the process by using automated platforms to do the hard work for you. 

From analysing activity and notifying you of ‘mentions’ to scheduling posts in advance and creating cross-platform content, social media management tools allow you to automate your activity and generate better results and higher returns from your social media channels. 

5. Lead Scoring

Every lead is valuable to your business, but some are more valuable than others. The process of ‘lead scoring’ allows you to assign a value to each lead to determine how important it is to your business. Once a value has been assigned, you can see at a glance where to direct your efforts and which prospects are most likely to become clients or customers. 

Of course, manually assessing each lead would take a large amount of time. What’s more – attempting to score leads manually means that subjectivity could affect the validity of your analysis. 

Fortunately, automation makes it easy to use lead scoring to identify the prospects that are most valuable. In fact, lead scoring software will use custom algorithms to identify a lead’s value and display the information instantly. With objectivity and rapid data processing, automated lead scoring isn’t just more efficient – it’s more effective too. 

6. Email Marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most powerful ways to reach your target audience and grow your business. For start-ups in particular, the low costs and high success rates associated with email marketing make it an obvious tool to use. 

However, it’s important that every user receives content that’s valuable to them, which is why incorporating personalisation into your email marketing can be so effective. When you automate your email marketing, it isn’t just easier to create engaging emails that are full of impactful visuals; it’s also easier to manage your email marketing lists, segment your target audience and ensure compliance with data regulations, such as the GDPR.

From welcoming new site users immediately following their registration to showcasing products you know a user will be interested in, automated email marketing can transform the effectiveness of your campaigns and maximise your marketing ROI.  

How to Use Automation to Fuel Your Start-up

With so many benefits associated with automation, it’s easy to see why entrepreneurs are eager to incorporate it into their start-ups. To get the most out of automation, however, you’ll want to take a strategic approach. Identify the tasks and processes that use the most resources and automate these first, for example. 

Similarly, take your time to find the tools, platforms and software that’s most valuable to your business. Not all automated systems offer the same features or functionality, so be selective about the tools you use. When you use automation in this way, you’ll find that it can reduce your operating costs, increase efficiency and give you the boost you need to carve out your place in the market amongst major players and industry leaders.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.