Small businesses are important in supporting the local economy and the community’s cultural fabric. Yet many businesses are using technologically old methods for their workflow management. This decreases the speed and efficiency despite the committed people who work tirelessly to scale a small or midsize business.
Streamlining small businesses
A small business like a family-owned cheese factory, a local favorite pizzeria, an artist who established oneself in the business of art galleries, or a novice designer launching their label; all have a few common points:
- Their business stands on a unique selling proposition which in most cases only they can deliver
- They work with lean teams
- Apart from their craft in most cases, they lack professional expertise in business management
Despite these limitations, many local and small businesses have done commendable jobs. Some have created a niche space and loyal clientele who keep reordering from them. This visibility is a new-found success because of the consistent efforts of the business owner who leveraged social media to display their wares.
If these businesses use workflow automation management for all the essential verticals, then things that overwhelm them start easing out. For instance, a business owner who uses automated order management can raise invoices, track shipments, monitor accounts receivable, and process refunds without being hassled about the turnover of the order. The entire process is automated, so it’s algorithm-based, and there are no delays or snags in any of the tasks involved in the process.
Benefits of workflow automation
- Professional approach
When the workflow process is smooth for a small business, it is respected and trusted by the customer base. With automation, all the repetitive tasks like order and vendor management, payments and receivables, cash management, customer service, and email and chat responses are carried out through robotics. The process’s bottlenecks are identified and removed before automation.
- Increased productivity
When RPA aids workflow, timelines are reduced and deadlines are met with enhanced productivity. Automation increases the speed of delivery of any task and finishes the task in less time than a manual operation.
Business process automation helps with clear forecasting using AI metrics to create red flags and alerts for possible threats. For instance, if there is a possibility of delay in payment from a major client due to some unavoidable reasons, the business is forewarned. They can prepare for the day by either accepting fewer orders or setting the right expectations.
- Precise ad spending
Spending on advertising is necessary even for small and local businesses to establish their presence and attract customers. But this is an expensive affair if the ads are not sensible or carry the right message for the customers.
With AI-aided automation tools, consumer insights are mapped to understand if a particular ad is effective or not. In this manner, corrective measures are taken to launch relevant ads and earmark the right budget for each ad.
- Data transfer
Local businesses cannot afford to take multiple copies of data or store it in different places in perspective of both safety and utility. At the same time, data is required for a smooth workflow. Automation helps in unified data storage through easy data share and transfer tools that help all the employees of a small business use the documents.
Small business workflow automation
Small businesses need not be fully automated unless they are into manufacturing precision equipment. However, identifying the processes that need to be automated either with RPA or AI-driven automation is dependent on the nature of the tasks. Some common verticals that benefit from automation are:
Emails, messages, and communication connected in productivity tools consume a majority of the productive time of an average employee. Through workflow automation, these tasks can be programmed
- Vendor management
Acknowledging invoices raised by vendors, paying through accounts payable and reconciliation with other financial statements are part of automated vendor management
- Order management
Raise invoices, follow-up customer for payments, processing refunds, and receiving payments is part of automated order management
Small businesses have more tools at their disposal to professionally handle their work at a fraction of the cost. At the cost of hiring two part-time employees, the cost of subscription services for workflow management services starts offering feature-rich products to help small businesses scale new highs.