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5 real-life automation examples for your business

You’ve probably heard us talk about automation before but have you thought about how it can help your business? Maybe you need some examples to understand how it could save you and your team time and therefore money. Here are 5 real-life examples of how we can automate processes in your business and help you get back those hours for more important tasks. 

1. Create invoices automatically or respond to payments

One of the more obvious automation tasks in a business is the creation of invoices once a sale is made. Some software systems have this kind of automation built in, but sometimes it is a very manual task. In this case, as long as your accounting software is cloud-based (such as Xero, Quickbooks, Sage Cloud or Freshbooks) then we can use Zapier to connect this software with emails, sheets or a form and speed up the manual process while eliminating human error as well. 

Example: After sending through a proposal, the client accepts via email. We can then create a template email for you to send which explains your terms and conditions and asks them to complete a billing form. On completion of this form, the client’s information is automatically added to your cloud-based accounting software, and a new invoice is created for your approval. Taking it one step further, once the invoice is paid, and your accountant reconciles this with your bank account, the client receives a thank you email and details of the next steps in the process.

2. Notify employees of tasks or follow-ups due:

The basic structure of any automation is a trigger step, followed by one or a series of tasks. So, no matter which software you use to notify your employees of new tasks, even if it’s just email, this process can be automated. 

Example: you get a new client and have onboarded them using your onboarding automation, the next step is to contact the client and get the project up and running. You can use the payment of the deposit invoice or the email confirmation of an order to trigger a notification via Slack, Asana, Monday or email to the relevant employee to ask them to contact the client with all their details listed in the notification. In addition, you can add a follow up notification for yourself or a relevant person in 3 weeks’ time to check with the client about how they feel the project is going or if they have any feedback. 

3. Onboard new employees:

It may not happen weekly or even monthly, but the process of onboarding an employee can be tedious, especially if you don’t have dedicated HR and IT departments. There’s a whole list of processes that need to happen – which takes time and often things can fall through the cracks if you’re not organised. Not to mention, the employee needs to be trained which should be the main focus. 

Example: when a new employee is confirmed, ask them to complete a simple form which captures all of their personal information including their full name, preferred name, tax number, address and identity number. This can automatically be sent to the accountant or payroll software and triggers the next set of steps. In our case, the employee needs to be added to Google Workspace and their email created, then invited to Slack, Asana and Harvest. (I’m sure there are a few more than I’m missing!) Then they need a new email signature and a short biography to be added to the website. If you’re very organised, you can record a video explaining all of these processes which can be sent to the employee to get them started with the training. 

4. Format any information and send it somewhere else:

As you can see by the examples above, the theme is that any information can be sent to another app using Zapier (or a similar automation software). Sometimes information needs to be formatted or extracted before it can be added to another app. This is where filter and formatting steps come in. You can read more about these in this article by UK Zapier experts, Solvaa.

Example: If you sell products online and get an order confirmation via email you can use this information to trigger other processes. However, sometimes the information in this order confirmation needs to be updated or expanded on to be useful. If the email confirmation includes the product code but not the product name, you can use Zapier to format each code into a product name or append important information so that you can notify the relevant person to process it. You can also split text into various fields for the shipping waybill or supplier processing. 

5. Schedule your social media content from a calendar or prompt you to post:

Lastly, one of the more tedious tasks in any business is the act of scheduling or publishing social media posts. We all know by now that we need to have a content schedule or plan our content in advance but who will actually post these on the day that they are planned?

Example: If you do use a content calendar, you should do this either on a Google Sheet, Airtable or specific social media tool such as Hootsuite. If you write your content on a Sheet or Airtable first, you can use Zaps to trigger your posts to be scheduled to Hootsuite or directly to the social media platform on the day that the post is planned. Alternatively, you can send the post to the relevant person via email so that they can copy and paste it to the platform at the time that they receive the email. 

No matter what kind of business you’re in or how you have set up your business processes, there are always ways to streamline and save time so that you and your team can focus on what you do best and work on billable tasks.

Come and chat to us about how we can save you time and money with automation.

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