As a small business owner, you’re probably a bit of an admin whizz. There are few tasks you haven’t turned your hand to - because if you won’t do them, who will? But over time, taking on too much admin can leave you feeling burned out and frustrated. Find out how you can take these six admin tasks off your plate and give yourself more time for the important jobs you’d rather be doing.
1. Tracking projects
When you’re juggling lots of customers and tasks, project admin can start to take over your life. From writing to-do lists to scheduling meetings, it’s all the small tasks that quickly start to add up. Larger companies can hire project managers specifically for this, but small businesses can still save time using project management and scheduling software.
Project management software can be a great way to stay on top of all the tasks you have to do in a day - big and small. At a glance, you can see different project deadlines approaching, access files for specific projects and leave notes for yourself. Most project management software can connect with your other tools and apps for time tracking, CRM (customer relationship management), customer service and support, so that all your information is accessible and accurate.
2. Responding to customer requests
In our increasingly 24/7 world, customers often expect immediate responses from businesses. Whether they have questions before, during, or after choosing your product or service, you’ll make a great impression for your business by replying quickly. But does that mean never switching off?
No (please switch off, breaks are really important!). Instead, set some automated responses wherever customers might contact you - email, social media and your website - to let them know when to expect a reply. And when you come to scale your business, you might use a chatbot to answer frequently asked questions (like FreeAgent's own Ruby the Robot) or hire a customer support person to take over this for you.
3. Getting paid
Getting paid should be one of the simplest tasks you have - send out a bill or invoice and watch the money come pouring in. Unfortunately, that’s often not the reality. Chasing overdue invoices is a task you likely dread, but what if you never had to draft another polite-but-firm email?
You can and should automate your invoice communications - sending out templated emails for the invoice, the thank you, and the late payment reminder if it doesn’t show on time. FreeAgent can do this for you, adding customer details to templates and tracking when your invoice is paid or overdue before sending prompt thank yous and reminders to build relationships that get you paid on time. Find out more in our blog, 4 FreeAgent features to help you win the battle against late payments.
4. Calculating business expenses
To understand how your business is doing, it’s vital to not only track the money coming in, but also the money going out. You need it for your cashflow, your profit and loss report and your tax return. And for this, you need to keep on top of your expenses.
It’s a great idea to feed your expenses into accounting software that keeps track of these for you. No fiddling with receipts at the end of a month, you can record out-of-pocket expenses on the go and track regular bank payments. FreeAgent can make your life even easier, categorising expenses and explaining bank transactions so that everything is in the right place for highly accurate reports and tax returns.
5. Asking for referrals
Marketing techniques can be expensive and uncertain. But word-of-mouth marketing, and especially referrals, can be inexpensive and highly effective. The cost comes when you calculate the time it takes you to reach out and ask for referrals from each customer.
Setting up a referral programme can take away this demand on your time and you can find referral software that helps you fully automate the outreach process. The key is to create a programme that is easy to share and kicks in automatically after each customer has had a positive experience with your business. Have a read of our blog on creating a great referral programme to get some inspiration.
To figure out how your business is performing and where your best growth opportunities are, you need to dive into your data every month. This shouldn’t take long, but when you have to pull numbers from different spreadsheets and apps, it can quickly snowball into a task that takes all day.
Once you know which reports you want to monitor each month, you can automate the bulk of the work. If you spend time reviewing Google Analytics for your website, add the key metrics to your dashboard for immediate access, or export the data to add into your main spreadsheet. If you want to track your finances or best customers, you can pull helpful reports in FreeAgent like your Profit and Loss or Customer Sales in seconds.
Do you want tonnes of reports and financial data at your fingertips? Our accounting software helps you race through your to-do list with clever automations and calculations for your business finances. Give it a go with a 30-day free trial.