Business Process Automation for SMEs

business process automation

Human Pixel CEO Alex Kain recently spoke to the Business Essentials Daily podcast, and the main talking point was business process automation for SMEs. Here’s a run-down of the key points.

Identifying the problem is crucial

When considering automation, it’s important to look at the real problem. For small to medium enterprises, one of the biggest pain points is not making enough sales. Automation can certainly help, but you need to analyse the cause of the problem. For example, are you not getting enough leads? Or are you getting plenty of leads but not converting them.

By understanding the main problem, you can find business process automation solutions that deliver a real benefit, rather than automating just for the sake of it.

Data is king

There’s an easy trap to fall into as a small business owner, and that’s assuming you know your customers. You can achieve a certain amount with this knowledge, but you also need solid data to back up your business decisions. A lot of automation tools can give you deeper insights into who your customers are, what they’re interested and how you can best tailor the customer experience to encourage more conversions.

Do you need artificial intelligence?

Many tools in the modern world are being branded as artificial intelligence (AI), however, often they’re nothing more than automation tools. For example, a basic chatbot that leads customers through pre-set conversations based on keywords is not AI in the truest sense. This is simply automating a conversation.

True AI is more beneficial for larger businesses that need to analyse bigger data sets, for example. For SMEs, it may be better to consider some simple CRM automation or workflows to guide your sales processes.

Align processes to your customer needs

It can be tempting to implement a range of automation and processes that put you on the cutting edge of technology. However, it’s important to align those processes to your customer experience. Remember, some forms of automation may make life easier for you as a business owner, but it could make things more difficult for your customer.

Always consider the ROI

Return on investment is crucial for anything you do in business. You wouldn’t sell products for less than the cost of producing those products. The same theory applies to investing in technology. You need to be able to measure the ROI of any business process automation. Does it increase efficiency? Reduce staff costs? Ensure that you know the outcome before implementing automation technology.

Look for cost-effective solutions

Not all business improvement or automation technology needs to cost a fortune. There are plenty of cloud-based products, such as Zoho, that you can use right off the shelf. The cost comes in when you want to customise the software and add workflows. However, if you have the time and the capability, you can do all of that yourself too. Like anything, it just comes down to having the time and expertise.

Don’t fear digital solutions

The key message is that digital solutions are just part of business evolution. Overall, it’s about increasing efficiency and accuracy. But it’s also about staying competitive. As your competitors embrace digital solutions, they ultimately achieve success which can eat away at your own profits. Many small businesses are hesitant to embrace digital change, but they shouldn’t be. There are companies out there to help, and with business process optimisation particularly, you can totally transform the way you do business.