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7 Best Automation Tools for Small Business – 2021

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~ 19 minutes read

“How can I automate my small business?” This question has run through your mind thousands of times if you are devoted to the idea of reaching operational excellence and making your business prosperous.

Just think about it: less than 1% of businesses in the US fall under the enterprise category. What about the rest 99%? It’s simple: they are in an immense race to stay competitive in the ever-changing customer age. And automation is the first and yet the most crucial step in the promising digital transformation journey.

In this article, we will provide you with 7 tools to automate various areas of the small business by revealing their integral features, integrations and pricing plans.

What are the advantages of using automation tools?

What factors should you consider while choosing automation tools in 2021?

A list of the best automation tools for small business

1. Automation of repetitive tasks: ElectroNeek

2. Social Media management automation: Hootsuite

3. Meeting scheduling: Calendly

4. Contact management: BenchmarkONE

5. Expense management: Expensify

6. Invoicing and payment management: FreshBooks

7. Task management: Trello

Conclusion

What are the advantages of using automation tools?

Automation tools in 2021 should become an indispensable tool for your small business both externally and internally which will help you not only to boost revenue but optimize your teams.  

There are at least 4 benefits that automation may bring to your business:

  • Enhanced customer experience
  • Elimination of human error
  • Operational costs reduction
  • New customer acquisition
  • Building stronger brand and stable customer relationships

Remember that 1% of enterprise-level companies across the US? In addition to the advantages listed above automation helps your small business grow and increases chances to get into this 1% of ‘the lucky ones’. 

What factors should you consider while choosing automation tools in 2021?

There are 3 main factors any business should consider while choosing software for automation needs:

  • Features
  • Pricing
  • Connectivity

Below we will observe automation tools for various business operations. We believe that automation of these small yet time consuming daily tasks will eliminate inefficiencies in small businesses and make their owners a little bit happier:

  1. Repetitive tasks management
  2. Social Media management 
  3. Meeting/appointments scheduling
  4. Contact management
  5. Expense management
  6. Invoicing and payment management:
  7. Task management

A list of the best automation tools for small business

1. Automation of repetitive tasks: ElectroNeek

ElectroNeek logo

ElectroNeek is a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tool that helps to automate repetitive desktop and browser tasks. 

What you can automate with ElectroNeek

ElectroNeek is an ease-to-use solution (ranked among the top easiest-to-use RPA platforms by G2 and Capterra) that allows even users with no or little coding experience to create their automations in ElectroNeek IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Drag and drop the task blocks and create simple to smart automation, such as mapping data fields within accounts reconciliation in accounting, web scraping and leads qualification in sales, automatic email notifications in marketing, creating reports, and even managing tasks across multiple SaaS systems. 

Key features:

  • Email parsing
  • Excel and .CSV automation
  • Legacy workflows
  • Web scraping
  • UI testing
  • Data Migration
  • Drag and drop interface
  • Project management
  • Reporting and statistics
  • Task management
  • API

Integrations:

  • Asana
  • Dropbox Business
  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Jira
  • Microsoft 365
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • QuickBooks Online Advanced
  • Slack
  • Zapier
  • Zendesk

Pricing: $450/month for Studio Pro


2. Social Media management automation: Hootsuite

Hootsuite logo

In the digital communication era, many small businesses leverage social media as a great marketing tool that apart from building a meaningful brand image can positively impact upselling and cross-selling business strategies. And here is where Hootsuite social media management tool may come in handy.

What you can automate with Hootsuite

By using Hootsuite you may launch and analyze marketing campaigns across all social media platforms in one dashboard, monitor audience engagement, collaborate with the teams, integrate with your existing marketing tools. Optimize your employees’ time on posting using sophisticated scheduling and notifying features. 

Pricing: Starts from $29.00/month

Free Trial: Available

Key features:

  • A/B testing
  • API
  • Activity Dashboard
  • Campaign Analysis
  • Content management
  • Customizable Branding
  • Data Import/Export
  • Engagement Analytics
  • Real-Time Analytics
  • Reporting & Statistics
  • Social Media Integration

Integrations:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Mailchimo
  • Marketo Engage
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • Slack
  • Twitter
  • WordPress
  • Zapier

3. Meeting scheduling: Calendly

Calendly logo

Calendly is an easy-to-use online appointment scheduling application that allows you to schedule unlimited appointments and provides the ability to integrate with any other calendar systems or applications. 

What you can automate with Calendly

Based on the account type, Basic, Premium, or Pro you get access to various features, including setting your meeting availability preferences, automated meeting notifications, Calendly widget which can be added to your website, setting buffer time between meetings, ability to integrate with up to 6 calendars, create group meetings and access to a live chat for more than 10 users.

Starting from: $8.00/month

Pricing model: Subscription

Free Trial: Available 

Key features

  • API
  • Activity Dashboard
  • Activity tracking
  • Automatic notifications
  • Calendar management
  • Customizable branding
  • Customizable templates
  • Electronic payments
  • Email integration
  • Reminders
  • Reporting & statistics
  • Third party integration 

Integrations

  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Hubspot CRM
  • Hubspot Marketing Hub
  • Mailchimp 
  • Microsoft 365
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • PayPal
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • Stripe
  • Zapier
  • Zendesk

4. Contact management: BenchmarkONE

BenchmarkONE logo

BenchmarkeONE is a marketing and sales automation tool that allows its users to efficiently manage their existing and prospective clients. In addition to great functionality, even busy small business executives will find leveraging this CRM easy and efficient. With its competitive price, BenchmarkOne is tailored to small businesses’ needs.

What you can automate with BenchmarkONE  

BenchmarkONE assists users with more effective management of existing and prospective clients. You can import contacts from various sources, including email, spreadsheets or social media and capture leads from your website or a social media page. BenchmarkOne offers contact segmentation and campaign analysis. The tool can be accessed via any device and run on Windows OS and Mac OS.  

Pricing

Starting from: $39.00/month

Pricing model: Free, Subscription

Free Trial: Available 

Key features

  • API
  • Activity Dashboard
  • Activity tracking
  • Automatic notifications
  • Contact management
  • Customer database
  • Customizable branding
  • Customizable templates
  • Electronic payments
  • Email integration
  • Real time data
  • Reporting & statistics
  • Social media integration
  • Third party integration 

Integrations

  • Gmail
  • Hubspot CRM
  • PayPal
  • QuickBooks Online Advanced
  • Slack
  • Stripe
  • Twitter
  • WordPress
  • Xero
  • Zapier
  • Zendesk

5. Expense management: Expensify

Expensify logo

Expensify is an automated business expense management platform that assists small business owners in keeping business expenses organized and tracked.

What you can automate with BenchmarkONE  

Among the key features that make the product special is integration with such major accounting software as QuickBooks, NetSuite, Intacct, Xero, corporate card reconciliation, ability to work in any currency, and next-day deposit reimbursement.

Pricing

Starting from: $4.99/month

Pricing model: Free, Subscription

Free Trial: Available (No Credit Card required)

Key features

  • API
  • Accounting integration
  • Accounting management
  • Activity dashboard
  • Automatic notifications
  • Billing & invoicing
  • Compliance management
  • Customizable reporting
  • Data import/export
  • Electronic payments
  • Expense tracking
  • Multi-currency
  • Real time data
  • Reporting & statistics
  • Third party integration 

Integrations

  • FreshBooks
  • Microsof Dynamics GP
  • Microsoft Excel
  • NetSuite
  • QuickBooks Online
  • QuickBooks Online Advanced
  • Sage Intacct
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • Stripe
  • Workato Xero

6. Invoicing and payment management: FreshBooks

FreshBooks logo

Another good example of an easy-to-use financial management automation software. FreshBooks is small business accounting software that allows you to manage your invoices with a click of a mouse. With FreshBooks keeping records becomes easier, faster, and consistent at the same time.

What you can automate with Freshbooks

FreshBooks is an all-in-one solution for creating and sending invoices, tracking the time spent, adjusting records for financial statements, and managing client payments. Auto-leveling and data checking ensures consistency of data and eliminates human error risks.

Pricing

Starting from: $6.00/month

Pricing model: Subscription

Free Trial: Available 

Key features

  • API
  • Activity dashboard
  • Automatic notifications
  • Billing & invoicing
  • Compliance management
  • Data import/export
  • Electronic payments
  • Financial analysis
  • Invoice management
  • Invoice processing
  • Multi-currency
  • Reporting & statistics

Integrations

  • Authorize.net
  • Magento Commerce
  • Paypal
  • QuickBooks Online Advanced
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • Shopify
  • Slack
  • Stripe
  • Twitter
  • WooCommerce
  • Workato
  • Xero
  • Zapier

7. Task management: Trello

Trello logo

Trello is a game-changer among task management platforms. It is easy to use and can be used for multiple tasks from creating your list of tasks to tracking projects of multiple teams across your small business. 

What you can automate with Trello

Apart from being the simplest CRM with user-friendly dashboards where you can organize your To-do lists by visual cards, Trello offers such features as automated checklists, team templates, advanced search filters, data backup, private and secure data distribution and even over 800 emojis for the enhanced communication opportunities.

Pricing:

Starting from: $12.50/month

Pricing model: Free, Subscription

Free Trial: Available

Key features

  • API
  • Activity Dashboard
  • Activity tracking
  • Automatic notifications
  • Collaboration tools
  • Drag and Drop
  • Prioritizing
  • Project management
  • Project time tracking
  • Projections
  • Task management
  • Task planning
  • Task scheduling
  • Task tracking
  • Third party integration 

Integrations 

  • APIANT
  • Basecamp
  • Box
  • Dropbox Business
  • GitHub
  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Drive
  • Jira
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud
  • Slack
  • VisitorTrack
  • Zapier
  • Zendesk

Conclusion

We have observed the top 7 best automation tools for small and medium-sized businesses in 2021.

To sum up, it should be noted that many small and midsize businesses think twice when it comes to automation because of the common misconception that it is an expensive tool that can bring a return on investment only in larger corporations with giant budgets. 

However, as the technologies mature automation platforms inevitably become more affordable. Now you don’t need tens of thousands of dollars to have a scalable solution to serve your business needs. For instance, such platforms as ElectroNeek charge only for an integrated development environment license and offer an unlimited amount of bots at no cost. 

So instead of getting stuck in limbo while your competitors master innovative solutions don’t be afraid to take the lead in this movement and make digital transformation strategy as important as any other business initiative across your company business units.

Want a quick start? We would advise choosing ElectroNeek as an intelligent full-cycle automation tool with the best UX and scalability potential. However, the final choice is up to you.