Small business owners are all too familiar with expenses. Building your dream business and keeping it running has always required money, not to mention blood, sweat, and tears. So it’s important to step back from your day-to-day operations and look for sustainable ways you can cut some of these costs and improve your profitability.
There are practical things you can do to accomplish this, such as reusing shipping materials, improving your tax strategies, switching to more efficient light bulbs, or fixing the leaky faucet that wastes gallons of water each day. But our digital age presents new opportunities for savings, and they often come in the form of digital tools.
Automating Your Business
Certain things you have to do just about every day to keep your business running. While you know what these things are better than anyone, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be the one doing them.
“Saving is the name of the game,” insists business expert Deep Patel. “Your time is valuable. Certain processes are cheaper, more efficient, and effective when automated.”
Take a moment to think about the tasks you do regularly. Now, which of these duties can you let technology handle? Here are some key examples:
Payroll: A tool like Deluxe not only handles some of the tasks that were previously on your plate but can also eliminate errors and shore up your financial security. In these ways, it can have a substantial impact on your business finances.
Expense reporting: Using an automated helper like Quickbooks makes expense reporting and mileage tracking infinitely easier. Much of the accounting work is done for you by the tool and is then shared with your accountant to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Emails: Many businesses use tools such as MailChimp to simplify their email efforts and make life better for whoever runs that part of your business. Not only will MailChimp help in the sending of your emails, but it makes things better on the tracking and reporting side as well.
Social media: A tool like Buffer or Hootsuite can save precious time and effort with your social media campaigns. They let you run all social channels from one place, scheduling the posts, tracking engagement, and making it easier than ever to connect with your customers.
Marketing Your Business
For most small businesses, marketing is a major expense. As with many of the aspects of business listed above, it can also be automated. Tools like Marketo let you sync your mobile, social, digital, and email marketing in a way that drives engagement. If that’s not enticing enough, consider the fact that digital tools like Marketo can manage hundreds of millions of activities each day. Even the most impressive entrepreneur out there can’t claim that.
Whether you’re automating your marketing efforts or not, you should definitely be leveraging the power of Facebook. According to research from the United States Chamber of Commerce, it has become the best way to advertise your small business.
This top spot is an odd place for the platform to be, considering Mark Zuckerburg and the Winklevoss twins never set out to create a marketing juggernaut. Yet here we are. The platform based on friend connections is now one of the cheapest and most effective ways to conduct your marketing.
Whether you’re using it to attract new customers, increase sales, expand your reach, or recruit new employees, this social network can cut your costs and help you see results. In fact, Facebook is such a powerful tool that about 40% of businesses prefer to send customers to their Facebook page rather than their official websites.
Improving Your Business
Anytime you’re cutting costs and streamlining your business, you’re making it better. Every dollar you save is another dollar you can put toward growing your operations. And those individual dollars can add up quickly, making every effort worthwhile.
If you find it hard to surrender some of your regular tasks to digital tools, you’re not alone. The reason your business even exists today is that you have dedicated yourself to it. But there comes a time when you need to remove some of the things from your plate so you have time to enjoy the meal. Digital tools provide that opportunity better than just about any other alternative.