How automation can transformyour business
Small business automation has changed the game for so many across the US. Especially in the financial advice industry, many tools are available to help you automate certain processes and shift focus onto the more important tasks; increasing returns and profits. This article will explain how automation can make your business more successful, from quick wins to long-term strategies.
Understanding business process automation
Simply put, business automation uses software to automate repetitive and multi-step transactions that your business carries out.
Automating specific processes has been particularly helpful for IFAs (Independent Financial Advisors), who often struggle with money and time, especially when starting out and building their business.
Automation equals having the free time to focus on things like face-to-face customer engagement, improving service and increasing retention rates.
There are plenty of real-world examples to evidence how much companies can benefit from automation.
Audi Japan’s KK’s finance department, for example, streamlined its systems and saw a 75 per cent reduction in processing time. That gave their team an extra 60 hours a week to focus on other growth areas.
What tasks benefit from automation?
As you look into how to automate your business, you’ll soon discover that not all organizational tasks benefit from automation.
One example is word-of-mouth, which is a huge advantage for financial advisors. 92 per cent of people worldwide trust referrals from people they know, and evidently, this process revolves around human beings and natural conversation.
But there are other ways of gaining leads that could be just as productive if automated and placed in the hands of intuitive software.
Email newsletters, communications and sign-up forms can all be generated automatically. Even blog or website content doesn’t necessarily require a human to do the bulk of the writing anymore — though there’s a balance of quality and simplicity to consider there.
Things like social media outreach and financial operations (accounting, scheduling and so on) can also be automated to significant effect.
These are all time-consuming tasks that can potentially take away from an advisor’s most important asset: their client.
92 per cent of people worldwide trust referrals from people they know
What quick wins can you enjoy when you begin to automate?
Automated email campaigns – Automated email campaigns maintain a strong client connection while freeing up valuable staff time. Dormant subscribers can be targeted and engaged exceptionally effectively with the right technology
Automated social media accounts – Planning social content in advance and investing in scheduling software that automates posting is a great way to streamline idea generation and SMM (social media marketing). Rather than having to dedicate time to social content every single week, a calendar of content can be planned to guarantee consistency
Time-saving admin adjustments – In any industry, administrative shortcuts can save a lot of time. Automated document management systems can create templates, save formats and reduce paper use (and therefore, environmental impact)
Free time redirected to clients – All the quick wins add up to one thing: advisors spending more time building relationships with clients. When automation helps attract leads and reduce busy work, advisors have space in the schedule to retain leads. Customer satisfaction and organizational efficiency are two elements that can simultaneously stay on track
Implementing long-term automation strategies
For any business, measuring automation’s true and total success takes time.
If you want to maximize growth and efficiency, a long-term, sustained and targeted automation strategy that you keep a close track of is the best way to make that happen. This will require slightly more work than the quick wins explained above.
But, once the automated processes you set up are running smoothly, you can gather essential data, establish patterns and easily identify what is and isn’t working.
Automation can increase the success of marketing and e-commerce campaigns over time, especially if you’re tracking the data and making changes to better target campaigns along the way.
Automated software can also collect and analyze customer data, giving you information that simplifies and clarifies the client attraction and retention processes.
Many customer-facing small businesses have recently added automated chatbot programs to their automation plan.
Chatbots generally cost around $500 per month, but since they create capacity for 24-hour customer service, they’re considered worth it in many cases.
There’s also robotic process automation for time-consuming but essential tasks like trade reports and file transfers.
If you implement a long-term strategy and monitor these robotic processes, you’ll see how many crucial hours of staff time you’re saving over time.
Similarly, inventory management processes can be automated. Setting up the software and programming in an existing inventory will be complex initially, but it will become worth it.
What’s the future of automation?
No business can solve every issue with automation, nor should they want to.
Excellent employees are just as valuable, and there are plenty of processes that human beings can perform much more effectively and ideally than technology could.
It’s predicted that by 2025, as technology develops, 85 million jobs could be automated. This seems like a worrying piece of information until paired with the prediction that AI software will also create up to 97 million new jobs.
For financial advisors, automating processes increases room for growth.
The correct software implementation could allow a single advisor to double their client base, take on more leads and create an excellent customer experience that aids retention.
Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.