When you own a small business, time is money. And every time a task that should be automated is handled manually, it wastes your time and your business loses money. To make matters even worse, performing these tasks manually, in front of clients or prospects, projects the wrong image.
Even though technology is readily available and even affordable, many small business owners do not take full advantage of these powerful software packages. It may be hard to believe, but only a small percentage of business owners have the technical expertise necessary to handle the automation process. The others have neither the time to learn nor the ability to hire the experts to do the job.
But one thing is certain: One way to increase your business's bottom line is to get software that automates the tasks you do manually and consequently, inefficiently.
Something as simple as contact management software is so valuable. First and foremost, searching for contact information is never more than a few mouse clicks away. Some software will even allow you to access this data while away from you office.
Have you finally mastered your email system? Love the way it keeps you off the phone? If you're not careful, you'll soon be wasting as much time responding to your email as you did returning your phone calls.
There's not enough space to list all the benefits of using autoresponders or all the ways to utilize autoresponders in your business. Here are just a few – use them to send out product and pricing information, to capture contact names and addresses, to help with frequently asked questions (FAQs) lists, to deliver different chapters of an e-book – anything that keeps your company name in front of existing or potential customers can be handled more efficiently using an autoresponder.
Raise your hand if you're still carrying around your paperbound daily planner! Throw it away and get software to keep track of your appointments and those of all your employees. You'll appreciate how easy it is to know who's doing what and when.
And think about how much time you spend each year gathering the paperwork your accountant needs at tax time to prepare your company income taxes. Why allow your accountant to charge you his or her hourly rate to do the type of data entry you could have been doing all year long IF you had only purchased AND installed business accounting software.
If you think, "Well, I do this only once a year," you are right, but remember, there are many more income-generating things you can do with the time you are wasting. Every second of saved time helps your business operate more efficiently.
Even the most automated of offices is doomed should your hardware ever crash and your data not be backed up. And we're not talking about "if" this crisis will occur; we're talking about "when" it will occur. There are so many easy-to-use and affordable backup software programs available that you've no good excuse for not backing up your valuable data.
There are many other business tasks you can automate but there's not enough room to list them all. Tasks like project management, employee management and inventory management are more efficient when they are automated. You can even translate your paper marketing and sales information for fast and easy delivery via the Internet.
There's no end to the list of office tasks that can be automated using the software that is readily available today. Put together an office automation budget and decide which tasks are the most important to automate. Then get going – you've got work to do!
Copyright c 2004 Cavyl Stewart. For more information on software to automate your business or other small business programs, visit: http://www.find-small-business-software.com/software-directory.html – Also, be sure to check out my Exclusive, 100% free ecourses.