Top Tools To Help Automate Your Business

Don’t you wish there was some way to find out better demographics of your website’s visitors? What if you could recoup the minutes, or even hours, that you spend navigating automated phone systems? And wouldn’t it be nice to get some coding done at a price that is affordable for small businesses? Advancements in technology have made it possible for solutions to be created for these problems and more.

If you’re a small business owner, you know that every minute and dollar saved makes a huge impact on your success. The more time you save on menial tasks, the more time you have to do the work that really matters. Dollars saved allow you more to reinvest into your business. Take a look at these tools that will help change the way you get your work done:

A calendar that helps organize your social life

With LuckyCal, you can see all your work and personal calendars at a glance. Add in those of your friends, family and employees–with their permission–and you can easily call them up to propose a time for you to get together. Having all of this information at your fingertips will keep your phone call short and to the point since you’ll already have a really good idea of when they’ll be available.

Know who your visitors are

You wouldn’t let someone into your home with out finding out who they are, and now you can find out more about visitors to your virtual home. Demandbase is a real-time ticker that will look at the visitors’ IP address and then cross-reference them with information from LexisNexis, Dun & Bradstreet and others.

If you’re able to find out information such as where your visitors work, you can revamp your site to make it more targeted towards the typical person who arrives on your home page. Demandbase allows you a way to purchase the name and contact information of your visitors for an average cost of $1.80 per lead. Your chances of making a sale are much higher since the lead has already come to you, and will probably be familiar with your products or services.

Streamline human resources

HR is one of the hardest and most necessary parts of running a functioning business. If all companies could survive without a system in place to pay their employees, we’d be living in a much different world. Sadly, having a viable HR infrastructure often means hiring a professional and building a department, which can be costly and time consuming.

Paycor is one of many companies that have surfaced in the past few years that recognize the need to provide HR services to small companies that need to focus on growth more than who took time off last month and how that will affect their paychecks. While you work on how to refine your product, a third party handles payroll software, human resource management and all the nasty, interpersonal aspects of running a company that no one wants to deal with!

Cut your travel costs

Sometimes you need to fly to destinations that aren’t easy to reach or aren’t advertised on the carriers website. Use Vayama to get one of these non-run-of-the-mill flights but watch their prices on standard routes, since they may be more expensive.

Sometimes, to save money, you buy a nonrefundable ticket. But when you have to cancel at the last minute, all the money seems to go to waste. But it doesn’t have to when you use MissRefund. For a modest fee, they will recover the taxes and fuel charges that you paid, which you are entitled to getting. The average refund is $101 with some as high as $260. While you can do this yourself, the time you save from not dealing with the airline’s refund department is worth the fee.

Air ticket prices are impossible for the average human to keep up with, so it’s helpful to use a site like Airfarewatchdog or Yapta to find low prices to your destination. The time you save checking websites every 10 minutes will allow you to get prepared for the conference which you’re attending.

Get coding help

Without an IT department, small business owners find it difficult to get their custom coding done for reasonable prices. Now, with TopCoder Direct, you get in on working with top-notch coders at rates that won’t make you run the other way. In fact, you offer up prize money to the person who can give you the best prototype for what your website needs.

Reduce your business’ carbon footprint

Using software can help you to reduce the carbon emissions that are produced by your business. Think of all of the electrical devices that you use on a daily basis–a desk phone, cell phone, desktop, laptop and tablet are probably just a few. Cut down on the amount of electricity they consume, and extend their lifespan, by keeping track of their energy usage. Three software programs can help you to monitor and save energy: Edison, CO2 Saver and Carbon Control Software. Free personal versions are available and an annual license prices range from $10.50 to $20.

Keep contacts in one place

Everyone is very connected these days, with email addresses, cell phone numbers, home and work numbers not to mention a mailing address, Facebook and Twitter. Long gone are the days of keeping them organized in a little black book. For today’s businessperson, there’s VoxOx, which lets you keep all of the information for your contacts (business and otherwise) in one place. Users get a phone number and can allow incoming phone calls to be directed to the phone or computer of your choice. Once you use the two complementary hours, you can pay or watch advertisements to earn more calling credit.

Now that you have a handful of tools that you can save time and money with, you’re free to get back to doing the work you truly enjoy. Though they don’t fully automate your business, every little bit that allows you to be more hands-off really helps when you’re running your own business.

Grady Winston is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.