Ever notice how to-do lists never get any shorter? For every task you cross off, ten more take its place. If you’re like most business owners we know, you work hard enough already—so let’s take a few things off your plate. We’re not talking about slacking off, just doing away with the repetitive office chores that suck up your most valuable working hours. We’ll show you how to get your time back by automating the most common business processes, starting with:
1. Emails that practically write themselves
The first rule of email is to spend as little time as possible on email. Luckily, text expanders like TypeIt4Me, TextExpander, and Phrase Express can turn a few quick keystrokes (for example, “thx”) into eloquent blocks of text (“Thank you for doing business with us. If you have any questions, please reach out and we’ll be happy to help!”). Use them to insert your go-to phrases into any email. We also recommend using email templates for the most common scenarios, like fielding questions about your return policy. With a strategic collection of “canned“ emails on hand, you can respond to common customer requests in a matter of seconds.
2. Meetings scheduled like magic
Banish the back-and-forth and make it easy for clients to book you with tools like Calendly or ScheduleOnce. Online schedulers like this are intuitive to use, sync to your calendar and can send automatic follow-ups to make sure no meeting goes forgotten.
3. Payment processing nirvana
Payment processing can suck up all your time if you let it, so delegate the details to us and get back to running your business. With PaySimple, you can accept payments the easy way, anyway: credit or debit card, eCheck, phone call, in-person, or with recurring billing and invoicing options.
4. Payroll rock n’ roll
Get new employees onboard, manage forms and finicky details, simplify filing tax documents, and make sure everyone gets paid. Services like Gusto automate your payroll so you can spend more time being the rockstar that you are. Just invite employees via email and let Gusto take it from there.
5. Paper clutter, cleared and sorted
Sweep that pile of receipts off your desk and into Shoeboxed, which will scan it, store it, organize it, and extract the data you need to make sense of every last purchase. While you could scan individual receipts via the Shoeboxed app, we recommend stuffing them all into their “Magic Envelope” and sending them off to a sorting facility to be scanned on your behalf.
6. Hiring without the hassle
When it’s time to expand your team, ZipRecruiter will automatically post your job opening to 100+ different websites so you can reach a larger pool of talent in less time. No need to log into dozens of websites and job boards, either: you can get matched with candidates, invite them to apply, and review and rate all potential hires from one easy-to-use dashboard.
7. Employee training, ready from day one
Once you’ve hired the right people, get them up to speed with Trainual, which pulls together all your business processes into a single online playbook. Trainual can help you build and scale up your employee training, make company knowledge accessible to your whole team, and make onboarding a breeze.
8. Social media marketing, managed
Social media marketing is great, but there’s an art to doing it well: you want to build a solid social presence without getting sucked into a Twitter or Facebook black hole. That’s where tools like Hootsuite and Buffer come in: schedule your posts ahead of time, build up a lineup of great content to share, and break free from feeling like you need to be checking your feed all day long.
9. Postage without the wait
Scratch another errand off your list with services that let you handle postage and shipping right from your home or office. No more shuffling through long post office lines: Stamps.com will let you calculate and print the exact postage you need without ever leaving your desk.
10. Continuous customer service
Plug an automated chatbox into your website for fast customer support that gets people talking. Capture new leads, answer common questions and engage with your customers right from your homepage. An automated chatbot can cut down on email clutter, save you from fielding the same common questions, and give people the answers they need, stat. Check out options like Tawk, Intercom, and LivePerson.