9.20.2021

Operational Efficiency: How to Automate Your Business in 4 Key Areas

Written by Aine Hendron

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With technology rapidly advancing, businesses have more and more opportunities to automate their processes for better operational efficiency.

If someone (or something) else does the manual work you’d normally do, you’ll be freed up to turn your attention to other areas of your business, saving time and money. Naturally, automating business operations will ensure that tasks are completed with perfect accuracy, at the right time, and will allow you and your team to realign your focus and effort in other areas of your business.

Here are 4 areas of your business that you should automate today. 

1 Sales and business management

The first and most important business automation tool you can invest in is a POS system. Point of sale (POS) systems work as the backbone of retail and hospitality businesses. Designed to work as a complete business management system, this sales automation allows you to control all vital aspects of your company from one cloud-based system, both in-store and when you’re out of office.

POS systems are so valuable since they provide reports and analytics on important areas of your business.

Sales reports

Most POS systems will provide sales reports based on individual product performance, trending items, and allow you to filter by product popularity, by date, or by the employee who sold it.

This allows you to identify your most profitable products, and gain a better understanding of where your income and costs are coming from. This can help with creating more accurate projections, more successful sales and promotions, prevents waste, and allows you to provide better employee recognition. You’ll also receive detailed inventory reviews that break down sales by profit margin and profitability over time.

Inventory management

Improved inventory management can completely transform a weak bottom line and save valuable time for business managers. By using your POS to manage stock, you can sync online sales with in-person sales for 100% stock accuracy. 

Most POS systems also automate stock purchasing. This is when your POS detects that products have fallen below a certain level, and automatically orders more with your supplier, or sends you a reminder. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems

Of course, customers are the most important part of your business. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems save customer contact details and shopping preferences for more targeted marketing, and better relationship maintenance. If you have a long list of clients, it can be easy to lose track of which customer uses which product, but your POS can create customer profiles based on consumer behavior and purchasing history, allowing for more accurate communications, tailored to their needs. This is essential for customer retention and business growth

2 Finance management

Financial management is an essential part of all small businesses, and there is little to no room for mistakes or errors. Poor money handling can lead to oversights related to shrinkage, debts, missing invoices (both those that your business has been billed and those that you have sent). Not to mention expensive mistakes in stock purchasing, where cost-saving can make a huge difference to your bottom line. Here are some ways you can automate your business’s finances. 

Bookkeeping

Automating your bookkeeping can save on average 8 working hours per month on your accounts [1]. This software will sync with your till and harvest relevant data about sales, purchase orders, discounts and payroll for simplified money management. 

With bookkeeping software, logging expenses can be done by simply taking a photo of your receipt and allowing the software to extract the data, assign it to a transaction and categorise it for you. Some other useful features include:

  • Invoicing
  • Bank connections
  • Time tracking
  • Tax self-assessment
  • Expenses tracking
  • VAT software [2]

Accounting

What if you could get one hour’s work done in 10 minutes? What would you do with the extra 50 minutes of productivity time? Accounting automation software is designed to save business owners’ resources, time, and money. This automation software will ensure that your finances are recorded with pinpoint accuracy and are safely protected through secure coding and cloud storage. Most accountancy software offers a range of useful features including:

  • Bill payment and tracking
  • Options to calculate and submit VAT and Tax returns online
  • Business expenses claims tracker and reimbursement
  • National and international bank connections
  • Project trackers that quote, invoice and accept payments for jobs
  • Employee payroll and pension calculations
  • Reporting and filing
  • Send, track and receive invoices
  • Multi-currency accounting [3]

3 Bookings 

People who work in hospitality will know firsthand how complicated it can be to calculate the space required for bookings. Minimise the stress of repetitive and time-consuming tasks like evaluating table sizes and predicting waiting times by automating the booking process. There are a few types of booking software available to restaurants.

Virtual queuing systems

This automation software allows customers to scan a QR code and join a virtual queue, or book a spot in your restaurant for later in the night. This software will calculate availability and offer customers a time slot in your restaurant, which you can then accept or decline. Reduce waiting times and increase customer satisfaction by allowing guests to handle reservations themselves. In turn, this enables staff to focus on the guests present in the restaurant and spend their working hours more productively. 

Complete reservation management

The more comprehensive solution is a complete booking system that handles internal and external bookings. This software not only handles customer bookings but internal company schedules too. Simplify things like staff rotas, staff meetings, and personal diary management through one system.

Booking processes should be extremely user-friendly and available on a range of platforms, like your website, microsite, or through your Facebook page. You might want to consider a booking software where you can take a deposit to secure bookings. Managers should be able to check restaurant occupancy, productivity, revenue, and cancellations for an up-to-date overview of operations through their software. 

Select a booking platform that provides customers with automated confirmations and follow-up SMS and email reminders about their booking to reduce no-shows. Your customers can even review you online with some platforms, boosting social proof of your business. 

4 Marketing

Marketing automation has been shown to improve lead generation, conversion rate, social awareness, and save money on a traditional marketing strategy. In fact, automating your marketing process can lead to a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead [4].

Email marketing campaigns

While it might come as a surprise, email marketing is still the most effective tool when it comes to communication and sales. Email marketing tools allow you to engage with your audience on a more personal level, so it outperforms social media in regards to reach, personalisation, and content value. In fact, it has the highest ROI of any marketing channel. Typically, email campaigns have 50 – 100 times the click-through rate of Facebook and Twitter [5].

Invest in state of the art automation software

Take care of customers, while the technology handles repetitive business process tasks. Epos Now provides multi-award-winning POS systems for retail and hospitality businesses, designed to meet all of your needs and desires. 

Our systems are buildable and customizable, allowing you to choose as many or as few integrations as you wish, helping you craft your perfect business management system. With over 100 possible integrations, you can handle business automation from one central device. 

  • Email marketing integrations
  • Accountancy and bookkeeping software
  • Booking software for the food and beverage sector and hotels
  • Website builder 
  • Loyalty program software
  • Linked KDS and POS software
  • Dozens of payment options: including Order and Pay and payment processing

To learn more about Epos Now book a free consultation with one of our experts today.

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