Python is a programming language which is pretty easy to get started with, and can do a wide range of tasks. Automating tasks with Python can save so much time, it could be worth several full time staff, and can easily help you shift into doing things of higher values. Here are some which might be helpful for your business.
Depending on your business, scraping content from the web may be of use to you. Some reasons for doing this could be:
– To scrape contact details of leads from a website
– To gather information in a structured way which you can present on your site in a better way
– Gather information about a website, perhaps your competition, or your own metrics
Note: Always be sure to abide by any privacy policies and data protection laws.
There are a number of freely available Python packages which can be used for web scraping purposes, such as urllib, urllib2, STRING PARSING, BeautifulSoup (for handling website html in a structured fashion). Use these tools together to retrieve raw data, clean it up, and format it in a structure which is most useful for you – perhaps a csv file which can be opened by excel or maybe another Python module which will for example contact everyone in the csv file automatically.
Python is flexible not only for scraping data, but also for reporting data. There are a number of packages for this, such as piLab, and piChart. If you have data within your python program, you can therefore display useful charts and plots, which can give you information about your business process or overall business activity. These charts can be actionable, for example showing that one marketing channel is much more effective than another – so perhaps it’s time to ditch the poor performer.
One great benefit to building a custom tool is you can connect data from different sources, and plot them together – something that may not be possible without writing some custom code. Check out my END GOALS for some inspiration!
Automate Manual Tasks
If some of your business processes involve clicking around websites, perhaps generating accounts for a social media platform, testing some of your websites if your a webite designer, uploading data to some website, or other similar tasks then you are in luck! You can easily automate this sort of thing with a tool called Selenium. Selenium offers a firefox extension, which will record your actions as you click in your web browser, and you can export this recorded “macro” as Python code which you can then include in your tool and run it again and again. Selenium has a bunch of functions available for interacting with web elements.
Python can automate social media interactions, sending of emails, and even text messages (in conjunction with something like twilio). This can save a huge amount of time – sending 500 emails with the click of a button as oppose to manually doing it? Heck – you may not even need to click a button, just have something trigger the send automatically.
Project Management Integration
Python can interact with pretty much all of the modern business tools which have a good API, such as Asana. I personally use Asana and find it very useful to track and organise tasks. Python can create tasks, complete tasks, and just generally do anything in Asana which a human can. This is great because you can have your python tool running in the background and it can updates the tasks automatically without you having to monitor it closely.
Combining All of These
As you can see, even just one of these uses of Python can save a lot of time – so using all of them at the same time, and connecting them in a coherent way could be massive. This is what I’m working towards – basically having a custom tool run most of the business, and I intervene for tasks which need my approval or a human element. Check out by Business Updates and the Automation category to learn more about automating your business.