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It Should Be Easy But It Isn’t: Automation (Part 3) 

May 8, 2024

In our third and final (we promise) discussion about automation for small businesses we are going to talk about implementation. 

Once you’ve mapped out what you want to automate and the steps behind each task, you are likely to need the right tools to make it happen. It’s easy to get distracted by the shiny new potential systems, but it is absolutely crucial to decide what you want to achieve with automation first, then find the tools that fit those needs. From there you can plan out how these tools will fit into your operations, set them up, and show your team how to use them. 

You’re finally ready, how will you choose from the endless options for automation tools out there? 

Let’s dive into how each of these automation tools can cater to specific types of small businesses, focusing on their unique strengths and how they might serve different business needs effectively. 

IFTTT (If This Then That) 

Best for: Small businesses looking to automate simple tasks across a wide range of apps without needing technical skills. 

Why: IFTTT is incredibly user-friendly and works by creating "applets" that connect different apps to automate tasks. For example, a small retail shop could use IFTTT to automatically post new Instagram photos as Facebook posts, simplifying their social media management. 

Integromat 

Best for: Businesses needing complex, customizable workflows that involve multiple steps and conditions. 

Why: Integromat excels in creating detailed, multi-step automation with conditional logic. It’s ideal for a service-based business, like a marketing agency, that requires complex task sequences, such as retrieving data from client forms, processing it, and then sending personalized emails based on specific criteria. 

Zapier 

Best for: Small businesses looking for a broad integration platform to connect their apps and automate workflows. 

Why: Zapier supports a vast array of apps and services, making it suitable for virtually any small business. An e-commerce store, for example, could use Zapier to automatically add new customers to a CRM, send a welcome email, and create a task for follow-up, all triggered by a new order. 

Kissflow 

Best for: Small to medium-sized businesses requiring a comprehensive solution for managing workflows, projects, and cases. 

Why: Kissflow is designed for businesses that need to automate and track complex processes, such as approvals and project management, in one place. It’s particularly beneficial for companies like construction firms or consulting agencies, where project oversight and approval workflows are critical. 

Accelo 

Best for: Service-based businesses, such as consulting firms, IT service providers, or digital agencies, looking for an all-in-one automation platform to manage client work. 

Why: Accelo offers automation tools specifically designed for managing client projects, service delivery, timesheets, and billing. It automates the tedious parts of project management and client communication, allowing businesses to focus on delivering high-quality services. 

Keap 

Best for: Small businesses in need of strong sales and marketing automation to nurture leads and manage customer relationships. 

Why: Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is particularly powerful for businesses that rely on strong relationships and follow-up with leads and customers. For instance, a small fitness studio could use Keap to automate email campaigns that nurture leads, schedule classes, and follow up with clients to keep them engaged. 

Each of these tools offers unique features and integrations, making them suitable for different types of small businesses based on their specific needs, industry, and the complexity of the workflows they wish to automate. Choosing the right one depends on assessing your business processes and identifying where automation can bring the most benefit. 

We will leave you with one final thought on choosing the right tool for you. Some options may give you initial sticker shock. Don’t discount them on price straight away. Take the time to really weigh up which one will best fit your needs – as the time the right system will save you will soon pay for itself. The less ideal system might be cheaper on the surface, but it just might cost you more in the long run. 

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