How Business Owners Increase Profit with a Tech Secret: APIs
Businesses use software products like Quickbooks, Gmail and Docusign everyday to save time and money doing all the things necessary to run a business, and great business owners are always thinking about how to use technology to improve their operations, so they can increase their profit margins and grow. Naturally, when a business owner notices that a team member is spending many hours doing a repetitive task, like sending out contracts for signature, they look for a software solution, like Docusign, to make that process faster and more reliable. Great business owners are good at finding these sorts of software tools that improve operations, but most never think about how they can automate time-consuming workflows between their software tools.
Let’s say your business provides services to clients and every time a new client works with you, you send them a personal email, an invoice and a contract to sign. You might get the invoice ready in Quickbooks, customize the contract in Docusign and send the personal email with Gmail. This might take 45 minutes to do. Imagine if you could enter some basic info into a form, like the client’s name, address and deposit amount, and then with the click of a button, all that work in Quickbooks, Gmail and Docusign would be done automatically, in the blink of an eye. Automating workflows between your various software tools can take your productivity to a whole new level, saving tons of time and money. Most businesses don’t know this is possible, or they assume it requires hiring an expensive IT professional. With APIs, it’s possible, cheaper than you think and can bring serious returns to your bottom-line.
API stands for Application Programming Interface, but that doesn’t do a great job of explaining what it is. When a software tool has an API, you can create custom automations for it, and connect it to other software tools that also have an API. Some good news: most common software tools have an API. For example, Docusign, Gmail, Quickbooks, Mailchimp, Paypal, HubSpot, Dropbox, Wordpress, Wix, Calendly, Zoom and many many more all have an API. An API is basically a way that code can interact with a software tool, instead of a user with a mouse and a keyboard. For example, if you wanted to post something on Facebook, you could login on your computer, write the post on your keyboard and click “post” with your mouse, or you could instead send a code command with the post information to the Facebook API that would then create the post for you. Now, in this case, it’s probably just easier to login and create the post by hand, but what if you owned ice cream shops and wanted to automatically create a Facebook post, send out a Tweet and then send an email blast every day that the temperature gets above 80? You could monitor the weather and do that all by hand, or you could have some code use the AccuWeather, Facebook, Twitter and Mailchimp APIs to do it all for you. This is one example of the time-and-money-saving power of APIs, but you can automate just about any custom business workflow you can imagine by using APIs.
How to Use APIs
For some automations, you can connect APIs yourself using a great tool called Zapier. Zapier provides lots of common APIs and workflows for you to connect together easily in their dashboard. They let you drag and drop automations, while they handle the code to communicate with the APIs. Some automations that are more complex or use less-common APIs, may require help from a freelance software developer. A developer can connect APIs and create automations in just about any way that you can imagine. Hiring a freelance developer for a small automation project is inexpensive, and you can quickly generate a huge return on your investment.
Start Automating with APIs
Have an idea for automating a business workflow? At AIsoft, we can tell you the best way to do it, give you a sense of how much it will cost and even handle it for you. We’ve created custom automations for all sorts of businesses, saving them countless dollars and hours, and allowing them to increase profits and outcompete their competition. If you’d like to learn more, you can visit our site or send us an email at email@example.com.