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10 things every small business should automate



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Simplify your operational workload

What are the things every small business should automate? We asked successful entrepreneurs and small business owners to share their best insights on how they best automate their business-related repetitive tasks From automating appointment schedulers to email marketing, you’ll find several suggestions that may help you decide on ways small business automation can streamline your business.

Here are 10 things every small business should automate:

  1. Appointment scheduler.
  2. Customer relationship management (CRM) system.
  3. Social media.
  4. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) recruiting.
  5. Customer service.
  6. Daily reporting.
  7. Review monitoring.
  8. Supply chain management.
  9. Net Promoter Score (NPS) feedback.
  10. Email marketing.

10 things every small business should automate

We’ve interviewed 10 business owners to help you find the automation processes that could help reduce the operational workload for your human resources significantly. Ready to automate those finicky business processes? Let’s dive deeper into each one below.

10 Things Every Small Business Should Automate graphic

1. Appointment scheduler

Small business owners should automate their appointment scheduling using a calendar integration tool. Tools like Calendly or Picktime are low to no-cost options. Using appointment scheduling apps can decrease the need to speak to every client that reaches out to you. It can also eliminate hiring an additional employee to manage appointment setting workflow.

Small business owners can also gain valuable insights by adding a questionnaire to the scheduler. You can find out what the client needs assistance with that can help you prepare for your meeting. You can also garner helpful information like email addresses, telephone numbers and knowledge of how they found out about your business.

Annette Harris, Harris Financial Coaching

2. Customer relationship management (CRM) system

One thing every small business should automate is its CRM system. This will help keep track of all customer interactions and can help improve customer service. Automating your CRM can help you generate and streamline leads and sales reports.

Additionally, it can help you keep track of customer loyalty programs, invoicing and customer satisfaction scores. All of these benefits can help improve your bottom line. I suggest taking a look at some of the CRM software options on the market and choosing one that will work best for your business. There are many CRM software programs out there, so make sure to do your research before making a decision. Automating your CRM system can save you a lot of time and money in the long run, so it is worth considering for your small business.

Joey Sasson, Moving APT

3. Social media

If there is one thing that every business needs to automate, it is posting on every social media platform. For example, [if you’re] posting on one platform (such as Instagram), your post also needs to automatically [publish] on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and so on. Social media marketing is such a crucial part of a small business’s success. And there’s nothing more important than reaching as many audiences as possible. Automating this part of social media will go a long way for small businesses.

Sean Lau, LivingOutLau

4. Applicant tracking system (ATS) recruiting

Automating ATS recruiting helps provide small businesses with more real, qualified and motivated candidates — crucial in a tight job market. ATS recruiting automation platforms are faster, usually more responsive and way more cost-effective (not to mention time-saving). When small businesses automate ATS recruiting, they can recruit new team members and still have the time and money to develop other strategic areas once the process is on ‘autopilot.’

Ricardo von Groll, Talentify

5. Customer service

With less access to resources […]’, small businesses need to manage the trick of being both creative yet consistent in their approach to customer support.

[blockquote] After all, the success of any business depends on its customers and their willingness to make repeat purchases.

By automating your customer support process, it allows you to treat customers the way you would if you had more time. This sounds counter-intuitive, but customers are often frustrated by hard-to-find contact links and slow responses to their inquiries.

By being able to respond to queries immediately, you can ensure your customers remain happy, retain them and increase their lifetime value. Just make sure the responses are accurate, full and [on-brand]. Customer support automation software can also give you a great overview of recurring customer concerns, alongside their wants and needs. This provides insights that may help you improve your product, service and overall strategy.

Andy Way, PartyLite

Quote and headshot of Andy Way

Quote and headshot of Andy Way

6. Daily reporting

If your business relies upon digital channels to generate revenue and sales, [you should] automate your daily reporting so that you’re pulling in data from different online sources. This could be a combination of:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Ads
  • Facebook Ads

Use Google Data Studio to combine the data and automatically email you a report every morning — or every Monday morning if you find it too distracting. Having visibility of your performance and data in a single view is paramount to making sound decisions.

Shoaib Mughal, Marketix

7. Review monitoring

Staying on top of customer reviews is not a [easy] piece of cake — especially if you’re listed on a lot of platforms without great control. Unhappy customers turn to public platforms when they feel stuck, which [opens an] opportunity [for you] to spot problems, look for the root cause and fix them.

The faster you get to those reviews, the better your chance of getting them removed.

And positive reviews are an incredible opportunity to engage happy customers, as well as your team. Some companies even share their positive reviews on social media to drive engagement in their communities.

In both cases, time is of the essence. But nobody has time to go and check each platform manually every day. There are plenty of review monitoring and automation tools and most are very affordable – reviewflowz is a free option if you’re using Slack.

Axel Lavergne, Reviewflowz

8. Supply chain management

Businesses must surely automate their supply chain management system. This is one of the best ways to handle business operations. Such a system would provide scope in easing off demand and supply checks — ensuring your inventory is well prepared to meet the requirements.

Having a real-time system automatically providing when to order, how much to order, and maintaining a good lead time schedule smoothens the operations.

Johannes Larsson,

Quote and headshot of Johannes Larsson

Quote and headshot of Johannes Larsson

9. Net Promoter Score (NPS) feedback

Every business should be collecting customer feedback. If you are, you know that it can be a time-consuming process. And if it’s collected manually, you risk collecting feedback at inopportune times or missing the opportunity entirely. NPS feedback is crucial to customer relationship management and future marketing strategy.

We run team-building events and training programs for corporate groups. We have an automation in place that automatically sends an NPS survey to customers the day after their event.

By automating our NPS, we also allow ourselves to automate referral requests from folks that gave us a 9 or 10 NPS rating. On the flip side, we have automated processes that send internal notifications to our team for folks that gave us a lower rating.

Datis Mohsenipour, Outback Team Building & Training

10. Email marketing

When I have to choose one thing that every small business should automate, it should be email marketing. Although it is a cliché nowadays, email marketing campaigns are still greatly underestimated — small businesses can automate it and devote the time saved to other activities.

With email marketing, you are building a community around your product and brand awareness — often[times] email marketing has a very good conversion rate. A few examples of automated email campaigns include:

  • Welcome emails
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Birthday/anniversary emails

Tomáš Novák, Marketing Miner

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Managing people

Four Effective Tips to Improve Labor Management in Companies



Businesses worldwide are always on the hunt for ways to improve their processes and add more efficiency to day-to-day functions. Of course, labor management is one of the major aspects of every company that demands continuous attention and improvement.

Every business understands that effective labor management is essential when it comes to increasing the productivity, safety, and efficiency of every project. The managers bear all burden to ensure that the labor is working effectively to meet the needs of supply and demand chains.

Here are some effective ways to improve labor management in your company for the best of your business.

1. Use Standardized KPIs

It can be hard to hold someone accountable for their performance when there is no evidence to back up the claims. In such circumstances, the labor deserving of praise may be left out, and those who need improvement may continue to waste company time and resources. Of course, such practices can cost you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Hence, smart companies worldwide are using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as a tool for worker motivation and accountability. These indicators help them better understand why certain standardized goals exist and their role in making the company succeed.

2. Incorporate a Software

Managers have a lot on their shoulders in addition to managing the workforce. A few people cannot keep an eye on everyone throughout the day. They need Kaizen Software to find the best solution for labor management. This way, the managers can find time to pay attention to many more important matters.

Efficient management software is being used worldwide due to its countless benefits. They offer security, better communication, and enhanced tracking to make your business more efficient. Hence, your business will have a better opportunity to grow and bloom.

3. Ensure Safety at the Workplace

Every workspace has its own challenges. However, everyone can agree that industrial workers have more challenges when it comes to safety. After all, they are surrounded by heavy machinery and face increased chances of accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. Hence, it must be a top priority to make your workplace safer.

You can start by looking into the hazards in your workspace and minimizing them one by one. In addition, it is also important to ensure that all your workers have access to safety gear at all times. Caution can save more lives than building an elaborate regime to care for injured workers.

Managing industrial workforce

4. Keep Workers Posted

Whether a construction site or a chemical industry, there can be new hazards and precautions for workers every day. A little negligence in the workplace can lead to a regrettable accident. Hence, it is always a good idea to keep your workers informed about current events.

Knowledge about company procedures and safety rules can reduce insecurity among workers and increase their efficiency. It is best to let your workers know that all their questions will be answered. This way, they can feel more comfortable seeking your guidance instead of finding out by trial and error.

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Managing people

10 Key Strategies for Managing and Engaging your Employees



Effective employee management and engagement are crucial for small businesses to foster a positive work environment, maximize productivity, and retain top talent. Small business owners need to prioritize their employees’ well-being, provide growth opportunities, and create a culture that promotes engagement and collaboration.

Here, we will explore ten strategies and practices for employee management and engagement in small businesses.

1. Clear Communication and Expectations

Clear communication is vital to set expectations and ensure alignment between the business and its employees. Regularly communicate goals, priorities, and performance expectations to your team. Provide feedback and recognition for their achievements and address any concerns or issues promptly. Encourage an open-door policy and create channels for open dialogue and feedback.

2. Training and Development Opportunities

Investing in training and development opportunities for your employees demonstrates your commitment to their growth and success. Identify areas where employees can benefit from additional skills or knowledge and provide relevant training programs. This can include workshops, conferences, online courses, or mentoring programs. Encourage a culture of continuous learning and support employees’ professional development.

3. Employee Recognition and Rewards

Recognizing and rewarding employee contributions is essential for fostering motivation and engagement. Implement a recognition program that acknowledges outstanding performance, teamwork, and achievements. This can include verbal praise, written appreciation, or tangible rewards such as bonuses or incentives. Regularly celebrate milestones and accomplishments to show appreciation for your employees’ hard work.

4. Work-Life Balance and Well-being

Promote a healthy work-life balance and prioritize employee well-being. Offer flexible work arrangements when possible, such as remote work options or flexible scheduling. Encourage breaks and time off to prevent burnout. Provide resources and support for physical and mental well-being, such as access to wellness programs or employee assistance programs. Show genuine care and support for your employees’ overall well-being.

5. Foster a Collaborative and Inclusive Culture

Create a collaborative and inclusive culture that values diversity and fosters teamwork. Encourage open communication, idea sharing, and collaboration among employees. Foster an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and included. Embrace diverse perspectives and leverage the unique strengths of your team members to drive innovation and growth.

Getting feedback on employees

6. Performance Management and Feedback

Establish a robust performance management system to set clear goals, provide regular feedback, and evaluate employee performance. Implement regular performance reviews to discuss progress, identify development areas, and set new objectives. Provide constructive feedback that focuses on both strengths and areas for improvement to support employee growth.

7. Empowerment and Autonomy

Encourage autonomy and empower employees to take ownership of their work. Delegate responsibilities and provide them with the necessary resources and authority to make decisions. Encourage innovation and creativity by allowing employees to explore new ideas and approaches. Trust their expertise and provide guidance when needed.

8. Career Growth and Advancement

Support your employees’ career growth and advancement within the organization. Provide opportunities for skill development, such as stretch assignments or cross-functional projects. Offer mentorship programs or coaching to help employees navigate their career paths. Create a clear path for advancement and communicate the potential growth opportunities available to them.

9. Team Building and Social Activities

Organize team-building activities and social events to foster strong relationships among your employees. This can include off-site retreats, team lunches, or recreational activities. Encourage team bonding and camaraderie to enhance collaboration and create a positive work culture.

10. Continuous Improvement

Establish a culture of continuous feedback and improvement. Encourage regular check-ins between managers and employees to discuss progress, challenges, and goals. Solicit feedback from employees on processes, policies, and workplace initiatives. Actively listen to their suggestions and make necessary improvements to enhance the work environment.

Employee management meeting


Effective employee management and engagement are critical for small businesses to thrive. By prioritizing clear communication, providing training and development opportunities, recognizing and rewarding employee contributions, promoting work-life balance and well-being, fostering a collaborative and inclusive culture, and implementing additional strategies such as performance management, empowerment, career growth, team building, and continuous feedback, small business owners can create a positive and engaging work environment.

Investing in your employees’ success and happiness not only benefits them individually but also contributes to the overall success and growth of your small business.

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Growing a Business

Secure your startup’s future by watching the big corporations



Welcome to Startups Weekly. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Saturday morning. Starting next week, it moves to Fridays at 12 pm PT.

As a startup founder, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could predict the future a little bit more than you currently do? It turns out you can: By paying close attention to what the behemoths in your space are doing. Last year’s AWS Re:Invent set the direction for a lot of what Amazon is doing this year — including where it invests. Re:Invent 2023 is coming up soon.

Google I/O revealed that Google is investing heavily in computational photography, large language models and all things AI. As a startup, you can use these data points and draw a line into the future: Can you align yourself with the big-picture trends? Are you missing anything?

This week, at Apple’s worldwide developer conference WWDC, the company took the wraps off its AR/VR headset. Priced at $3,500 it won’t be a commercial success, but as a startup, you’d be very silly not to pay attention: It is a complete game-changer for startups.

Startup valuations are taking a pounding

After a frothy few years of don’t-call-it-a-bubble, it seems like the inevitable market correction is here. We’ve seen wave after wave of tech layoffs, and it seems like investors are starting to take a more realistic view of their investments, starting to mark them down.

Marking down an investment doesn’t necessarily mean drama; it refers to the common process of adjusting the value of an investment asset to reflect its current market value. In the case of VC, that often happens if the valuation turned out to be a bit on the optimistic side. Investors will typically mark down investments to avoid overstating their portfolio’s worth. In a nutshell, it’s best practice to acknowledge potential losses before they are realized. That’s what is happening now — and perhaps should have been happening for a while, as Rebecca argued late last year, when she noticed that a bunch of startups had quietly marked down their own valuations.

Jeremy Abelson and Jacob Sonnenberg, both at Irving Investors, argue that if you haven’t yet, you probably won’t grow into your 2023 investment valuation.

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Just in the past few weeks week, we had another handful of examples of this:

Life is a highway

The EV space is exploding (sometimes literally) at the moment, and there seems to be a huge amount of stuff in motion in the world of transportation.

Mercedes just got permission from the state of California to start selling a car that can self-drive without having to hold the wheel or look at the road. No doubt this’ll set Elon Musk’s little temperature gauge to “furious” as the company’s cars do attract a federal tax break but come up short on the self-driving front in its native California.

Price is often brought up as a major hurdle for EVs, but Volvo snuck out a small SUV that can cruise along for 275 miles and has a sub-$35,000 price tag. That still isn’t pocket change, but it’s a lot cheaper than a lot of the EVs on the road. Meanwhile, Fiat showed off a city vehicle it’s working on that made both Harri and myself squee with delight.

Safety is another theme across TechCrunch’s transportation coverage: Smarter cars should, in theory, mean safer roads. In practice, Waymo had to explain why one of its autonomous Jaguars ran down a dog in San Francisco last month, and Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently proposed a rule that means all new cars and trucks would need to have emergency systems that “would have to be capable of stopping and avoiding contact with a vehicle at speeds of up to 62 miles per hour.”

Remember what we said about legislation driving innovation and opportunities for startup? That proposed NHTSA rule falls into that category. Thought experiment: Could your company tap into that shift somehow?

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Apple sets the pace

While Apple isn’t really a startup, it is the world’s first $3 trillion market cap company, so in a week where our servers have been melting from all of the exciting news that came out of the WWDC keynote, I wanted to highlight some of the things that are most interesting to startups and startup founders.

One thing worth paying attention to is the Apple Design Awards, which often foreshadow large trends in design and user experience best practices — along with what the Cupertino-based software giant celebrates at the moment.

Another trend worth paying attention to from Apple is its focus on health and safety: It released a check-In feature to ensure people get home safe, a nudity filter to shield you from unsolicited real-life aubergine emoji and mental health mood tracking. All of that is specific to this WWDC, but it continues a trend: Fall detection, car crash detection, ECG to detect heart events, and lots of other health and safety indicators. It has made it easier to find and disable AirTags that might be used for stalking, and a Safety Check and lockdown mode, which takes your iPhone off the radar to get away from an abusive partner (more from our security team here).

As a startup, all of the above should give you pause for thought: There are big trends at play here that Apple clearly wants to continue to invest in. Apple has gone heavy into the privacy of your data, and leaning into security, safety, mental and physical health and more. Build something truly innovative in these spaces, and you have the world’s most valuable company validating that these are problems worth solving.

Image Credits: Apple

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