5 Ways to Make Your Online Life Easier as a Small Business Owner

Life as a small business owner is anything but uneventful, and many people in the position often liken it to juggling and spinning plates. Nowadays, no small business is complete without an online presence, and a website is rarely enough. Between social media, email marketing, and all the other opportunities available, most entrepreneurs could conceivably spend the whole working week online if they wanted to.

Of course, unless your entire business proposition takes place on the internet, that’s not feasible. Indeed, while the importance of your online communications cannot be overstated, there are likely to be many other aspects to operations. Every minute you can save online is more time to devote to your core operations. With that in mind, we present five great tips to ensure your online life flows as seamlessly and productively as possible.

1. Automate Your Customer Service

Resourcing is a genuine challenge faced by many small business owners. You might be full of ideas and overcome with opportunities. However, you might not have a team, or even a dedicated individual, to help make that happen. Excellent customer service is a hallmark of great businesses, but if you do not have the time to respond immediately to online inquiries, consider at least some automation.

You could invest in a chatbot for your website and social media pages. This can be designed to answer common questions conversationally, solving issues for customers without any human intervention. It’s always worth setting up email autoresponders on service addresses, too, as people are far more likely to view your business positively if they are acknowledged and know that something is being done.

2. Cut Down on Time Spent Posting on Social Media

Many small businesses do not have massive marketing budgets. That makes social media even more attractive, and one of the best ways to increase your reach at little cost is to post often. You’re almost certainly aware of the ability to schedule posts on the most prominent platforms. Still, there are services like Hootsuite, Buffer, and MeetEdgar that boast increased functionality and easy reporting across accounts.

Spending an hour setting up posts is often far better for your productivity than spending 10 minutes on them six times a week, as you can continue your momentum in other areas of the business.

3. Let Someone Else Take Care of Your Online Hardware

Small business owners need to wear a lot of different hats. You are the marketing manager, accountant, designer, writer, and every other staff member your business requires in the earliest days. However, there are options out there that mean you can relieve yourself of tech support duty sooner rather than later.

If you rely on the cloud, such as in a Software as a Service business or as a company with sizeable online storage needs, your team should focus on your customers and products – preferably not the hardware. Companies such as TRG Datacenters can provide the tech support you need without a dedicated team. Datacenter management companies such as this one ensure your hardware is up and working and keep an eye on it on your behalf.

Outsourcing in this manner cuts down not only on tech support requirements but budgeting for hardware, security, and backups.

4. Make Sure Important News Comes to You

As a business leader, it is your responsibility to make informed decisions, and the online world moves fast. You could spend hours on your favorite news sites, but there probably isn’t the time. So instead, you can ensure that the news that matters comes to you directly. This could be through something as simple as Google Alerts for keywords that directly impact your business or could extend as far as a curated news aggregator like SmartNews or Flipboard.

5. Go Beyond Email with Management Software

Ask most small business owners what they would like to spend less time on in their daily working lives, and the chances are that email will land near the top of the list. Of course, email providers are far ahead of where they were a couple of decades ago, but relatively few are close to perfect from a business management perspective.

External tools are often the way to go, and something as simple but effective as Boomerang can cut down the time spent in your inbox by several hours each week. It tracks emails that you have sent out but are yet to receive a response to and also enables you to schedule outbound emails, just like your social media posts.

They say that time is the most valuable commodity in the world, and when it comes to being a business owner, this could not be more accurate. Automation and outsourcing are the key to better time management for entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. The tips above can represent the first steps to freeing your diary to spend more time leading and less time doing.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.