Lack of time is common among business owners. Between sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, and everything else, it’s no surprise that many entrepreneurs feel overwhelmed.
The good news is there is a way to lighten the load. By automating the routine and repetitive tasks in your company, you will be able to focus less on mundane activities and devote more time to other essential tasks such as building relationships with customers or finding ways to grow your business.
Use the six tools below to put certain tasks on autopilot so you can free up more time in your busy schedule.
IFTTT lets you link different web tools and services by means of “recipes.” All recipes follow the format “if this then that” wherein “this” is a trigger and “that” is an action. IFTTT recipes allow you to automate several activities, such as posting to Facebook or sending text messages by assigning channels to the trigger and action parts of the recipe.
Say you want to automatically update your Twitter photo whenever you change your Facebook profile picture. All you need to do is create a recipe wherein a Facebook photo change is the trigger (this) and updating your Twitter image is the action (that).
Or, say, you want to automatically receive a text message every time a particular stock price rises above a specified level. For this task, you can assign stocks as the trigger and SMS as the action.
IFTTT currently supports 71 channels, including Dropbox, Facebook, Instagram, SMS, and more.
It may look a bit confusing on paper, but the service makes it really easy for users to create recipes. Try it and start automating the repetitive digital tasks in your business.
Boomerang is a Firefox and Chrome plugin that enables you to schedule emails in Gmail. Simply type your message in Gmail, specify the date when you want to send it, and you’re good to go. It even lets you create reminders if you don’t hear back from the recipient.
Boomerang is a convenient tool that can be used to automatically schedule follow-up emails or reminders and ensure that you won’t miss the chance to re-connect with your leads or clients.
And if you want a cleaner inbox but don’t want to lose track of an important message, you can “Boomerang” it by opening the message and specifying when you would like to see it again. The plugin will then archive the message, and at the time that you chose, will put it back in your inbox and star it, mark it as unread, or place it at the top of your message list.
This clever tool enables you to schedule social media posts throughout the day. No need to manually set dates and times; Buffer lets you schedule your updates with fixed time slots, allowing you to line up your posts with just a few clicks.
What’s especially helpful about Buffer is that it can be integrated with several other apps and extensions, so you can add posts to your Buffer account from just about anywhere on the web. Want to share an article that you’re currently reading? With the Buffer browser plug-in, you can schedule it right from the web page itself.
You can also connect the tool to various RSS readers, such as Feedly, Pocket, and more so you can share posts straight from your reader.
This is a handy tool for Mac OS X that lets you assign keyboard shortcuts to your most frequently used phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs. If you find yourself typing the same things repeatedly — dates, boilerplates, instructions — then simply add them to your snippet collection and assign keystrokes to them.
TextExpander helps you type faster, avoid your most common typos, and even fill out forms more quickly.
While building meaningful relationships cannot and should not be automated, Rapportive does make it a bit easier. Another browser add-on for Gmail users, Rapportive displays public social media information about your contacts inside your account.
Ever wanted to personalize your emails even more? Rapportive displays your contact’s photo, location, recent tweets, and social media profiles as you type your message, allowing you to find content, shared interests, and posts that you can reference to.
Are you drowning in receipts and other paper documents? Are you dreading having to sift through all of them when tax season rolls along? Let Shoeboxed offer up some assistance. This service provides an easy way to digitize, categorize, and archive your receipts, business cards, and other documents. It streamlines accounting and bookkeeping tasks and helps users find deductions, expenses, and other pertinent information.
Submit your receipts and other docs to Shoeboxed and the service will extract significant information — vendor, total, date, payment type — from the documents, verify them with human eyes, and then organize the data into your fully searchable account.