As technology evolves, it becomes increasingly clear that there are some tasks machines will be able to do faster — and better — than humans. Instead of thinking in terms of how it could jeopardize people’s jobs, try to instead think of it in terms of how you can leverage tech tools to your own advantage. Automation can take care of your hard work, and for much cheaper than your own hourly rate!
6 intuitive tech tools for your business
Using automation does not mean you're lazy — it means you're smarter for leveraging tech tools that allow you to focus on your most important business tasks. As a small business owner who may not have enough resources in terms of capital, time and manpower, these automated business tools can help you get an edge.
GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping.
GoDaddy Email Marketing.
Work smarter, not harder. You need all the time and resources you can get when starting a business, so read on to learn how these tech tools can alleviate some of the stress.
1. AND CO
Administrative tasks like setting up payments and appointments can take up so much of your valuable time, which is why many entrepreneurs use tech tools like virtual assistants. Those who aren’t ready to hire administrative assistants — maybe because of their budgets or understanding of how to manage people — can still seek help with these tasks through the use of an automation tool like AND CO.
AND CO is one of the best applications available today for small business owners (solopreneurs, specifically) to manage tasks, expenses, invoices, payments, contracts, and projects — all in one app.
One of the most interesting and automated aspects of AND CO is the ability to set up a recurring billing cycle for your expenses and payments, so your invoices and payments get processed automatically. Having a client’s credit card information on file for regular retainer payments is so rewarding compared to the standard process that’s fraught with late payments and forgetfulness.
There are both paid and free versions of AND CO, with applications available for web, Android and iOS.
Pro tip: When it comes to dealing with clients — and separating your business from your personal life — consider a tool like GoDaddy SmartLine. It’s an app for iOS and Android that gives you a second, dedicated number and voicemail on your mobile phone that you can use for your business.
2. GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping
Even without any existing accounting knowledge, you can easily handle invoices and estimates, establish recurring invoices, track mileage and time (to maximize tax deductions), accept payment from your mobile device, review important business and tax reports, import sales data and credit card transactions, and more. Essentially, it makes accounting easier, especially if you don't currently have the resources to hire a bookkeeper.
IFTTT, which stands for If This, Then That, is a web-based service that allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements called applets. IFTTT stands out among tech tools as it allows you to automate a number of different business projects, from social media tasks like automatically posting Instagram photos to your Facebook page, to little errands like converting files, backing up photos, or logging finished to-do list items on your calendar.
IFTTT integrates with more than 360 popular websites and services and has been around since 2011.
There are tons of pre-made applets that are ready for you to use within your own business. For the most popular automation tasks, applets are grouped by collections (like social media tasks). Browse existing IFTTT applets and create your own to trigger activities that would otherwise be a misuse of your own valuable time.
Looking at big-picture tech tools, Todoist is an intuitive project management app that allows users to manage tasks from mobile, tablet and computer. It comes in both a free and paid versions, with the paid version allowing for extensive collaboration with other users as you build your team.
Todoist allows for commenting, file attachments and can even sync tasks with your calendar.
In terms of automation, Todoist allows you to create recurring tasks and use project templates — say, for repetitive projects — so you don’t have to do extra work or miss important deadlines. With tech tools like Todoist, you’ll find relief in moving the contents of your brain into an actionable and self-sustaining system.
5. GoDaddy Email Marketing
GoDaddy Email Marketing (GEM) is an industry leader when it comes to tech tools for marketing automation. For starters, it lets you create emails that are visually stunning and fully responsive. GEM also integrates easily with any other online properties you might have, like a website. And when you get your campaigns up and running, GEM lets you measure success with a powerful array of tools for analytics.
Email automation can be helpful in many ways for just about any small business. You can use automation to set up multi-email sequences once a user signs up for your mailing list, or even to remind them to make a purchase if they abandon their eCommerce shopping cart.
When it comes to tech tools for engagement, Buffer is a social media-management app that allows you to create and schedule posts so you don't have to manually post all day. It schedules for the most optimum times, and you can even “rebuffer” past high-performing posts for maximum efficiency. Buffer also includes access to an analytics suite to show how posts are doing.
What to consider with business automation
As a solopreneur, you will never have enough time to do everything you’d like to. But before adopting tech tools for automation, take note of the way you spend your time for any given task — and which tasks take up most of your time. After your audit (a tool like RescueTime can be useful here), take note of areas where automation could be useful, such as HR, payroll, project management, and so on.
If you’re interested in automation, start off simply and think about what will work in the long term. Make sure your plan is flexible and has room for growth.
Being a solopreneur does not mean you won't be able to accomplish everything you dream. But you have to be strategic in how you spend time within your business. A lack of resources requires just a little creativity via automated business tech tools and services.
Pro tip: Consider the security risks of automation. Anything that is digitized and automated can be hacked — and even the most “secure” institutions have their security issues. It’s worth taking extra precautions to ensure that if something does go awry, you don’t lose everything.