10 Ways to Automate Your Home Based Business

By | January 20, 2021

   In case you haven’t noticed yet, it’s become easier to automate tasks that used to take up a ton of time. The result is that for all its pros and cons, there has never been a better time to run a home-based business than right now. Technology has made it possible to run various aspects of your business from the cloud, saving you both time and money, while improving your efficiency and fattening your bottom line. When you think about it that way, why would you want to go back to the old way of doing things?

   Unfortunately, there are so many tools that it’s hard to know which ones would be a good fit for your business. The best way to look at it is to think about it in terms of which processes you specifically could use help with. There are tools for pretty much everything, and if there isn’t, someone will eventually come up with them. Here are 10 ways to automate your home-based business.

1. Automated Email Responses

   Once you’ve provided a contact link in your website, you can expect your visitors to make use of it. Once they do, you may find that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by various tasks and find yourself struggling to keep up with customer emails. You can lose valuable leads this way, especially if it takes a couple days to respond to them. Each minute you take decreases the likelihood that you’ll make a sales, much less earn a long-term client.

   Automated email response software allows you to respond immediately to every email with no effort on your part. All a prospective client has to do is fill out the contact form on your website and the system will immediately send back a reply, based on a pre-written template. All you have to do is personalize the template with your first name, let them know that their email was received, and assure them that someone will be in touch with them soon. This puts their mind at ease, knowing that their message didn’t simply disappear into cyberspace, but rather has been collected.

2. Staying in Touch With Clients

   Just because you finally sold them a product doesn’t mean that’s all there is to it. You shouldn’t think of the sale as the end of that relationship, but rather the beginning! There can be many more sales and referrals by that client to others like them, if you maintain contact.

   If you’ve already sent them “welcome” emails, set your software up to trigger additional emails to follow up their purchase with “thank you” notes and additional information about your company and what it can offer them in the future. There are lots of ways to do this, including sending them an overview of your services or a series of frequently asked questions with clear answers. Note that when you thank your customers, it might be a good idea to enclose some sort of gift, like a discount on another product or service they might be interested in.

3. Automatic Bill Pay

   There’s a good chance you’re already paying many of your personal bills automatically. What you may not have realized is that you can do the same thing with your business bills.

   Note that there’s a difference between paying your bills electronically and paying them automatically. Electronic bill pay is automated to an extent, but having the entire process taken care of automatically can save you lots of time and effort, allowing you to focus on the aspects of your business where you can have the greatest impact. Just make sure you have enough money in your accounts to cover those bills when they become due or there’s no sense in automating the process in the first place.

4. Expense Tracking

   If you’re still fumbling with a stack of paper receipts, you might be wasting a ton of useful time. Don’t get me wrong, you need to save receipts to track all your business expenses, especially for tax purposes. However, neither you nor anyone working for you should be forced to struggle anymore than is necessary with something so basic. There is software for storing and sorting your receipts digitally, so you can find them easily later. This allows you to use your time more effectively, so you can focus on what you do best.

5. Outsourcing

   Another way to automate various aspects of your business is to simply outsource them. This is particularly useful for those who haven’t been in business very long or who, for whatever reason, have few employees to work with. It’s almost an absolute necessity if you’re the sole operator of your business, because there’s only so much you can do without compromising time needed for more important tasks.

   For example, if you have a blog, you can outsource the content to a freelance writer, especially if you’re not a very good writer yourself. Your time would be best spent doing something just as impactful that you don’t have to struggle with as much. If you could use some help with advertising, there are companies who would be willing to hlep you with that. Outsourcing might not seem like automation in the same sense as using machines or computers, but it fills the same needs and is taken care of “automatically,” while you perform other tasks.

6. Automatic Lead Collection

   There’s also software to help you collect and nurture various types of leads, whether they’re from your website or your social media pages. Lead collection is one of the most time-consuming tasks for small business owners and if you’re operating the entire venture yourself, you probably can’t afford to pay someone to chase these leads down. Lead collection software has become very popular in recent years, due to the growing number of people starting online businesses. Remember that once you’re on the Internet, leads won’t be limited to your local area and you can easily get overwhelmed.

7. Abandoned Shopping Cart Reminders

   Another concern for businesses that operate online is all those abandoned shopping carts. Customers will sometimes visit your site and put products into their carts with every intention of buying it, yet sometimes it doesn’t happen. Then end up leaving it there, usually because they were either interrupted by something or because they were undecided and didn’t want to lose their chance to get it. This is especially true when you have limited quantities of physical products that can actually become depleted.

   Statistically speaking, it’s believed that up to two-thirds of online shoppers begin placing orders for products they ultimately don’t buy. As the owner of the business, your concern is not losing a sale. As long as that product is sitting there in limbo, nobody else can buy it, either.

   Fortunately, there’s software that can detect these abandoned purchases and remind customers to finish what they started. You can even schedule these reminders to occur at intervals, just like the big-box retailers typically do. The advantage to doing this is that research shows that over 60 percent of abandoned purchases can be recovered when customers are reminded to return to their carts.

8. Billing Charge Tracking

   In order to run a business successfully, you also have to stay on top of failed billing charges. Customers frequently switch credit cards, or even lose them, then have them replaced. If they have a subscription to your products or services, this can become a problem. The more customers you have, the more detrimental this effect can be on your bottom line.

   Fortunately, there’s also software to help you keep up with collection by setting up triggers to notify you when these charges fail. You’ll get notifications prompting you to contact the customer, so you can find out what’s going on and collect payment. It’s important not to assume that this was intentional on their part, since people lose and replace cards all the time. They may need a reminder or two themselves to help them get things back to the way they were before, with regard to recurring payments.

   Note that you can set up your software to scan their credit card information to check for cards that will be expiring within the next 30 days. This can be used to trigger reminders to customers to update their cards and billing information.

9. Automated Customer Support

   It’s not easy to keep up with customer support problems. Unfortunately, customers may need help at different times and you won’t always be available. After all, you’re only human and you can’t stay up all night answering everyone’s calls and emails.

   However, the right type of software will allow you to continue operating during normal business hours, while still addressing customer concerns. Keep in mind that from a client’s point of view, it’s very frustrating for them to struggle to find a contact link, only to not receive a timely response. This can actually cause your customers to decide against purchasing your products, simply because you didn’t reach them before they walked away.

   Don’t forget that your objective is not only to meet their needs, but actually to surpass their expectations in any way possible. An automated response gives them the peace of mind of knowing that the call or email they just sent out was collected and they will be hearing from someone soon. When the client clicks on the contact link, the software lets you or someone on your staff know that someone had a problem that requires a follow-up.

   Within the software, you can add a list of names to a drop-down menu to ensure that they select the right person to address their issue. As long as you’ve assigned the right team members to the right tasks, such as technical support or sales, the software will take care of the rest. Your customers will be better served this way than if their calls or emails all went to the same place, requiring them to be sifted through and redirected manually.

10. Appointment Reminders

   The busier you are, the easier it is to forget about your appointments. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with clients, leads, or even other business people, this can cost you a ton of time. It’s one thing to schedule an appointment, but remembering it is something else entirely.

   Automated reminders an be used not only to remind you of upcoming appointments, but also to help you send them an email, once you have completed a form with their basic information. The form will set in motion a sequence of emails, including an appointment confirmation and various reminders that will be sent over the days and hours prior to the appointment. The software also allows the person at the other end to cancel with the push of a button, prompting it to let you know so you can get back to them about rescheduling.

   Another thing to consider is that despite using software like this, you might still have to compare various calendars. If you’d like to improve on this, try using a scheduling tool that will sync with your Google calendar. Your Google calendar can be accessed on any device, whether it’s your laptop, desktop, smartphone, or tablet. This way, whichever one you happen to have with you, you will be looking at the same schedule with the same reminders.

   These are only a few of the things you can do to help automate your business. Anything you can do to help save time will allow you to operate more efficiently. Fortunately, it’s much easier to do these things for yourself now than it ever was before, when you had to hire others to perform them for you. Instead of spending that money on more staff than you actually need, you can spend it once on software that costs less and invest the rest back into your business.

15 thoughts on “10 Ways to Automate Your Home Based Business

  1. Benson

    Businesses grow when we play our part and learn new ways to dealing with it and applying them with hopes that it would work out fine. These 10 ways to automate your home-based business can help go a long way in making your business great. Automated email responder and meeting reminder are two things i find very necessary in your businesses. Cheers.

    Reply
    1. Mark Abbott Post author

      Very true, Benson! We’re never done learning new and better ways to do what we do best. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

      Reply
  2. Stephanie

    Thank you for this. I have been trying for a couple of weeks to figure out how email marketing works, and the way you described the process makes it simpler than what I thought it would be. I still don’t have enough traffic yet, I’m slowly getting there. I’ll be sending this article to my friend that’s just starting in the bussiness as well and she still doesn’t even know what email marketing is. This is going to give her a great insight.

    Reply
    1. Mark Abbott Post author

      Anytime, Stephanie! Your site will get there. It can take time to build up that traffic, but all you can do is stick it out consistently. Glad the article helped!

      Mark

      Reply
  3. Christine

    These are some great tips, all ten of them are very useful.. Automated email responses are really a huge relief for someone who sent a site admin an email and wonders if he or she received it. Getting that automated email in your inbox is reassuring. The expense tracking software is actually extremely useful for me, because I’m really bad with paperwork, keeping receipts, bills, or any other paperwork that needs to be kept. I just never manage to do that. I would be the world’s worst accountant 😉 So, such a software is definitely worth checking out for me. I think it would be better to have that instead of paying someone to do it for me. Automatic lead collection is also a great help for me. Are some of those softwares free or do they come with a monthly subscription fee?

    Reply
    1. Mark Abbott Post author

      You’ll find both free and subscription software out there. Usually, the “better” ones cost a little more, but not always. The way I see it, it’s best to get what you can reasonably afford and make comparisons. You might find that the free versions of these meet all your needs at the stage your business is currently in. It doesn’t make much sense to get the painfully expensive premium version of something if you’re not going to use its most expensive features. Anyhow, glad you enjoyed the post! Best wishes in your life and business!

      Mark

      Reply
  4. Abir

    I was thinking abou how I’ll Start my home based business that’s why this article is valuable for me. I have learned a lot about home based business. The 10 way is really important & Effective for home based business. Really Thankful to you for this article… 

    Thanks Again…             

    Reply
    1. Mark Abbott Post author

      Thanks, Abir! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Best of luck in your entrepreneurial ventures!

      Mark

      Reply
  5. Pentrental

    Automating your home based business can be crucial especially when it starts to grow. I agree that with so many tools out there for automation that it can be difficult to pinpoint the very best ones. An automated email response system is great as email is one of the heaviest hit areas of business, and one that content creators have less time to devote. I’ve heard a little bit about Hubspot and I’m looking forward to checking it out via your link further. Another one in particular that I like is abandoned shopping cart reminders. I’ve been looking for a way to remind customers about their carts. Do you have some favorite software in this department? Thanks in advance and I’m looking forward to reading more!

    Reply
  6. BJaYbOLt

    What makes online business very hard for some people is the fact that they refuses to opener up and they don’t read or dig into more opportunities. I like the idea of automating your home based business, it’ll be nice, make it more less stressful and the ways you’ve given are resourceful.

    Reply
    1. Mark Abbott Post author

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Yes, you certainly do have to keep constantly searching for opportunities. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

      Reply
  7. Nath

    Thank you so much for sharing this here. You know, with the plethora of tools made available here these days, it becomes almost impossible to identify what is what and what light not to be tried. I really appreciate all you gave shared here and how to really ensure we maximize things like this to help us in our website development and to heap the bulk load of work from us. Thanks

    Reply
    1. Mark Abbott Post author

      Definitely! Sometimes you’ll discover some new tools or software that you think you need, only to find out you’ve already tried something like that or might already have something that does the same thing. Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Mark

      Reply
  8. Suz

    This is a very good post that shows me how I can automate my online business. I just started my online business and I have been looking for ways to make it easier for me to work with. I thi k the email response will help me and also getting in touch with my clients can help me even better. I like what you have shared.

    Reply
    1. Mark Abbott Post author

      That’s great, Suz! Glad you found it helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

      Mark

      Reply

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