Implementing software-based automation in your business “progressively”

We all know that automating business activities is a game-changer. It’s no secret how beneficial it can be for any business. But let’s be real—it’s not the idea that’s the challenge, it’s the “how” that’s tricky.

Where do you even start? How can you do it without breaking the bank? And how do you make sure your efforts don’t flop? These are the questions that make automation seem daunting.

In this article, I’m going to share a few tips on how you can get started with automation in your business. I’ve developed business applications across multiple industries, so I’ve picked up some solid insights along the way.

I’ll show you how to make your automation efforts truly worth the investment. Let’s dive in and get your business running smoother and more efficiently!

Start With What You Already Use

Most businesses are already using Excel sheets for various tasks, which is a fantastic starting point. You can easily get a custom program written right inside your Excel sheet, known as a VBA program.

For example, I once developed a full salary management system in an Excel sheet for my father’s company. It handled everything from employee salaries and attendance to calculating loans and salary adjustments for the month. With just one click, it would generate salary slips for each employee.

Even now, I use an Excel sheet-based invoice generation system. It keeps track of the next invoice number and generates invoices with the click of a button. It’s incredibly efficient and saves so much time!

So, you can totally automate your Excel sheet using a VBA program or macros. It’s perfect for those simpler tasks.

Sure, you might need to bring in a developer to get your Excel sheet automated.

But here’s the best part—it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It’s a cost-effective way to start reaping the benefits of automation without a huge investment.

Reaching the Limits of Excel Sheets

At some point, you’ll hit the limits of using Excel sheets, especially when it comes to sharing them with your team.

We’ve all been there—sending multiple versions of the same file back and forth, dealing with version control nightmares, and worrying about who has the most up-to-date information. It can get really messy, really fast.

Here’s a simple solution: switch to Google Sheets.

With Google Sheets, you can collaborate with your team in real-time. Everyone has access to the latest version, changes are saved automatically, and you can even see who made what changes.

Plus, you can access your sheets from anywhere, on any device. It’s a game-changer for team collaboration and keeps everything organized and up-to-date. Give it a try, and you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it!

Scripts in Google Sheets

Let’s talk about scripts in Google Sheets.

If you haven’t explored this yet, you’re in for a treat. Google Sheets allows you to automate tasks using Google Apps Script, which is basically JavaScript tailored for Google services.

With scripts, you can automate repetitive tasks, create custom functions, and even integrate with other Google services like Gmail, Calendar, and Drive.

Imagine being able to pull data from your emails directly into your spreadsheet or automatically updating a calendar event based on your sheet data. It’s like having your very own personal assistant!

The best part? You don’t need to be a coding expert to get started.

There are plenty of resources and templates to help you create scripts that fit your needs. You’ll save time and make your workflows so much smoother!

Reaching the Limits of Google Sheets

Even though Google Sheets is fantastic for team collaboration, you’ll eventually hit its limits too. You might find it lacks advanced features or struggles to handle large datasets efficiently.

And let’s be honest, sometimes you need more than just a spreadsheet—you need a more robust and dynamic solution.

That’s where tools like Airtable come in.

Airtable combines the simplicity of a spreadsheet with the power of a database. It’s super flexible and allows you to create custom workflows that fit your business needs.

You can link records, automate tasks, and visualize your data in various ways, from grids and calendars to kanban boards. It’s perfect for managing complex projects and scaling your operations.

Give Airtable a shot, and you’ll see how it can take your data management to the next level!

Reaching the Limits of Airtable

Airtable is an incredible tool that combines the best of spreadsheets and databases, but you might find yourself reaching its limits too.

For instance, you may encounter restrictions on the number of records or the need for advanced customizations that Airtable can’t quite handle.

When you hit these walls, it’s time to consider open-source software solutions.

Open-source tools offer the flexibility and customization that you need, often without the high costs.

There are many open-source solutions for each use cases of the business. If I start listing all of them here, this article becomes a book. So, I skip that part in this article.

In simple words, dive into the world of open-source software when you find it necessary. You’ll gain the flexibility and control to take your business processes to the next level!

Reaching the Limits of Open Source

Open-source software is amazing for its flexibility and customization, but even this approach has its limits.

You might find that open-source tools lack specific features you need, or they require a level of technical expertise and maintenance that’s tough to manage.

Plus, there’s not always an open-source solution for every unique business use case. Sometimes, you need something that’s tailor-made for your specific requirements.

When you hit these open-source roadblocks, custom software development is the way to go.

By working with a developer or a development team, you can create software that’s built exactly to your specifications.

Whether you need a custom CRM, a specialized inventory management system, or any other unique solution, custom software ensures you get precisely what you need without compromise.

Yes, it might be a bigger investment upfront, but the payoff is a solution that’s perfectly aligned with your business processes and goals.

You’ll have the ability to scale, adapt, and innovate without being held back by the limitations of existing tools.

Wrapping It Up: The Final Point I want to make

So, this is how you can progressively implement software automation in your business. It’s all about taking it step-by-step and finding what works best for you. Don’t directly go with custom development or open-source solutions.

Your software automation has to mature along with your business.

By the way, I specialize in developing custom business applications tailored to your unique needs. If you think you could benefit from a bespoke solution, feel free to get in touch with me.

And hey, if you’re just starting out and need some guidance, I’m here for that too.

You can reach out to me for a free consultation on how to automate your specific business use case. I’d be more than happy to chat with you and learn about your business challenges.

Let’s connect and take your business to the next level together!