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Automating your business does not mean that everything should be performed by a machine. Automating is another term used for streamlining and increasing efficiency. Now, no matter what type of business you have, efficiency is critical to the bottom line, your profit margin, so it makes sense to investigate five of the most common areas identified where businesses lack efficiency.

Reduce paperwork

Despite the advancements in IT and digital technology, many businesses still rely on old-fashioned paperwork as well as using digital alternatives. The question you should ask yourself is what element of paperwork is essential, and which is simply ‘easier’ to work with. Sometimes we may have become so used to working with paper that we are reluctant to do away with it, but as with any change, once you get used to a new system, it is easy to look back and wonder how you managed with the old one. With easy access to cloud storage and more and more software available to streamline business operations, you should embrace these changes, not rail against them. As a simple example, have you noticed how many more businesses now email invoices and receipts rather than sending them through the post? This can save considerable time and also money.

Integrate operating systems

Have you embraced digital technology and now have software-based operating systems? If so, the next question is to ask if they are compatible? Do you use a different software product for your accounts and for your invoicing, your stock control and resource management? Today it is possible to consolidate many applications into one homogenous operating system.

Consider outsourcing

The more people you have working in one place, the more ‘management’ and overseeing they require, which can distract from other more-productive work. Many elements of a business can be taken care of away from the premises, which can also lead to the possibility of expanding your business yet downsizing the premises. Outsourcing work can also reduce the cost of hiring employees as many outsourcing freelancers work on a simple per-hour basis.

Optimise your B2B procedures

Few businesses today operate without communicating with other businesses. Thus, optimising this communication can reap huge dividends. In a retail environment, for example, sharing data with your suppliers in relation to sales can increase sales, reduce inventory, result in capital savings, improve cashflow, and reduce lead times. Once again software packages can come to your rescue and do all the hard work for you, leaving you more time to do business rather than just run one.


One of the hardest transitions when expanding a business is to let go of the reins and to put responsibility for certain elements in the hands of someone else. Those in your business who have worked for you for quite some time probably have a better understanding of the business than you might give them credit for. Slowly divesting responsibility can be good for you, and also good for staff as they will take the increased responsibility as a promotion and a reward/acknowledgement for their good work.


So, when it comes to automating your business, think streamlining, not replacing valuable staff with machines… that way you will be able to use your own time more effectively.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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