Save time and produce more with these business tools.
Entrepreneurs have little time to get a lot done. Fortunately for those of us in the modern age, there are apps to help with improving our productivity. After launching several successful businesses, here are the tools I can’t live without. Most of them have a website, but also have great mobile apps you can use on your phone while you are on the go
Social media is critical for any business. No matter the size or industry, customers expect businesses to have accounts on the major social media platforms — and provide useful and interesting content. However, it can be time consuming and frustrating to have to constantly be logging onto each of the different platforms to figure out what to post, and post at just the right times. With Buffer, you can schedule all of your posts in advance on all platforms.
How it saves time: by using it once a week for 10 minutes, you can knock out social media marketing all at once.
A task management system like Asana helps track progress and manage priorities on many projects at once. It’s helped us stay on track with the many different projects going on, and allows me to seamlessly manage remote teams.
How it saves time: takes task management out of the ‘black hole’ of email inboxes and provides visual prioritization to keep everyone on track.
Google Apps, including Hangouts and Drive, allow us to work cohesively and keep connected, despite our team being spread out across the world. With multiple remote teams in different states and countries, Google Hangouts allows us to easily connect and have meetings with anyone in the company. Google Drive allows us to not only keep all important files in one safe place, but also helps us easily share and collaborate on various documents and spreadsheets (and tracks changes, so that we can see who made edits, and when).
How saves time: anyone with an internet connection can find and edit shared files; video conference calls are easy to arrange.
With a small team, it doesn’t always make sense to get each team member an account for every tool/service we use. A password management system helps manage all passwords for these accounts in case someone else on the team needs to access them; all passwords are kept securely in one place, and it syncs with phones and desktop. You can easily manage who has access to which accounts.
How it saves time: no more panic attacks over forgotten passwords; less administrative time setting up and managing accounts when employees come and go. Also, using a tool like Last Pass is much more secure than putting passwords on post-it notes… which we’ve all done at one point or another.
Dealing with paperwork and organizing receipts is a necessary evil for any entrepreneur. It can be a pain, is very time consuming, and it takes away from getting other important things done. A tool like ScanSnap allows you to digitize all receipts and make them searchable, which keeps things organized.
How it saves time: no more paper. Scan in everything, and it gets saved in a format that is searchable and automatically saved to Google Drive or Dropbox.
Contract paperwork can also get frustrating for entrepreneurs, especially when you are trying to get signed contracts back from potential customers. Docusign allows you and your customers to easily sign contracts online, without having to print, sign, scan, and send back. Streamlining the process of paperwork allows deals to close much faster, and with less hassle. (And yes, digital signatures are legally binding.)
How it saves time: removes the hassle of printing and scanning and saves your clients’ time (thereby reducing friction to complete sales).
You may have noticed this little white box migrating from farmer’s markets to businesses of all kinds; its founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey, is also a co-founder and CEO of Twitter, and the company went public late last year. This payment system allows small businesses to swipe credit cards and handle other business transactions via phone, tablet or even a sleek point-of-sale stand.
How it saves time: no need for a bulky register or customized payment system; allows businesses to take payments on the go in seconds.
According to Hamilton Beach, 24 minutes a day are spent making, serving, and drinking hot drinks at work. Keeping employees alert throughout the day is critical, and many employees need a healthy dosage of caffeine to make that possible. Our Nespresso Prodigio machine not only makes fantastic coffee and espresso, but works fast and connects to smartphones so that employees can start making coffee right from their desk and have it waiting for them in the kitchen.
How it saves time: keeps employees productive, and cuts down on this wasted time getting coffee.
As an entrepreneur, your time is far too valuable to spend chasing down lost passwords, client signatures and files hidden deep on your desktop. Take a moment to try out one of these easy-to-use, intuitive tools. They’ll save you the time needed to work on building your company.
By Craig Bloem, FreeLogoService.com CEO & Founder