4 Things Every Small Business Should Automate

4 Things Every Small Business Should Automate

Operating a small business or start-up is a challenging task that demands consistent time and other resources from the founders. The pain points of a small business are more than an established or a large business. Small businesses value every small achievement and try to brave the toughest of terrains to stabilize their operations and become profitable companies that do not burn cash. 

Most small businesses have common issues like the founding members are proficient in the product but lack business acumen to market and acquire customers who will pay for their goods and services. If looked at from a different angle, these are good problems as braving them will test the determination of the founders and their team to excel and scale their operations. However, the gap between understanding the problem and the ability to scale is the differentiator that will act as the game changer and also later the growth driver for the business. 

The current scenario for small businesses and start-ups is a lot better than how it was a few years ago. In a world where workflow automation is carried out in a piecemeal method, businesses will accelerate and stabilize their growth in a matter of months. Automation can ease the majority of issues that small business owners face in terms of operations and finances. 

How to overcome hurdles in a small business?

Overcoming the core issues of small businesses can make or break the lives of all stakeholders. The market for most traditional businesses is either cluttered or has a high barrier for entry-level. In a cluttered market, establishing a niche is difficult albeit not impossible. 

Countless small businesses have managed to run successful businesses by taking things slow and steady and investing where it matters. And if an analysis of all such success stories in recent times is actively tracked, several will give the credit to the decision they took in automating their processes. 

A small business may not be able to completely automate its process as the cost-benefits analysis will not favor the decision. However, it is necessary to understand that phased automation can also help in easing the burden of core functions. Depending on the type of business, the decision to automate a function can be taken. 

Let’s take an example of two small businesses, one is a retailer of fast fashion and the other is a manufacturer of custom tools. With all other things like demand, order values, and able leadership remaining the same, retailers have to automate their inventory and category management so that they don’t have dead stock in the form of inventory piles. 

Contrarily, assuming the manufacturing segment earns the same order value in its area of business, it may need automation in manufacturing using a 3D printer to finish the design process and automate the entire manufacturing process. The rest of the processes can be automated at a later stage once the benefits of the first phase start yielding results. 

Automation guide for small business

A homegrown business that is primarily bootstrapped has to move cautiously and consider a step-by-step approach when trying to automate its process. As iterated the function that needs to be automated depends on the product. If the number of units ordered is more for a business then it is essential to start with customer-centric tasks. If the number of units per order level is less, but the order value is more for a business, for instance, a business that makes customized boats, has to concentrate on automating the manufacturing segment first. 

Here is some basic automation that will suit small businesses at some point in the journey before they can scale to fully robotic processes:

  • Client onboarding

Onboarding is crucial as it creates the first impression for a customer who has not experienced your brand and is trying it for the first time. If onboarding is smooth, with immediate responses through instant messaging, emails to confirm their order confirmation, timely alerts about the status of the package, and tracking details after despatch, then it engages the client and keeps them interested in the process. Without information, they are clueless about the status of their payment till the actual package is received

  • Customer service

Chatbots answering frequently asked questions is now a comprehensive deal and it answers a lot of questions based on the exhaustive data sets that have been fed into the algorithm for macros and knowledge bytes. If ever there is an out-of-context message then the chatbot will even reply that it cannot decipher the context and will connect to a human customer service person. In this manner, a small business can engage its customers automatically for the majority of the queries and step in when necessary. 

  • Accounts

Small business owners find bookkeeping and paying taxes on time an excruciating task. Most of these businesses cannot afford a professional accountant who can track and enter the payments. Accounts automation can save time for small business owners with platforms that take care of both payables and receivables including invoicing, billing, and payments. This step leaves the business owners enough time to concentrate on the core operation and increase the visibility of the brand for expansion and scale. 

  • Marketing and advertising

The advertising and marketing expenses of a brand need to generate a good ROI and entice the consumers to try your brand. Small businesses can spend for their marketing through AI-powered automation tools that help in monitoring the success of the campaigns through community insights. Business intelligence tools that use several data points optimize the ads so that they score high and appear in the feeds of social media platforms and marketplaces. 


Small businesses are the dreams of passionate individuals who are either running a legacy or starting up on their own for the first time. Their size is not detrimental to their growth as most of them may just wish to scale to a point where they can just continue being a good brand. Whether they wish to scale or not, the ground rule is they need to make positive cash flows throughout their business tenure. 


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