As a small business on a budget, it’s important to choose the right tools not only for productivity but for cost. It’s also important to revisit your programs and apps yearly to review which ones are still meeting your goals. If your business is growing, it may be time to upgrade or consider other options that allow for scalability and even better organization.
The following are some of the most common areas where productivity tools are beneficial to small business owners. These should give you a good place to start the year off right when it comes to boosting your productivity tools:
CRM, Contact Management
Every small business owner needs a system for maintaining contact information; from keeping track of clients, contacts, sales funnel tracking to just remembering people they meet when networking. You can use a full CRM (customer relationship management) system like HubSpot, Salesforce, ZenDesk, or Zoho for such tasks. Many of these programs are also available as mobile apps. So, if you work in sales, business development, or account management, you’ll be good on the go.
Meetings, Communication, Chat
Whether you conduct meetings in person, over the phone, or via video-chat services, there is a way to streamline the process. To get your meetings more organized—before, during, and after—you can use tools like Zoom, WebEx, GoTo, or Google Meet. With more people working from home, your video conferencing options should be robust and reliable. Consider services where meetings can be recorded for members who live in other time zones and are unable to make the meetings. For small, informal video chats, WhatsApp is free and simple.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Use systems like Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Xero, and Wave to organize and streamline the way you invoice, accept payments, and monitor cash flow.
Social Media Management Tools
Valuable time can be wasted on social media (hello, infinite scroll) if you don't tackle it in a methodical and planned manner. Small-business owners who don’t have a social media marketing team can benefit greatly from platforms like Hootsuite, Planoly and Buffer. Plan your social media posts in advance and set to schedule. Business tools within the Facebook platform also allow you to schedule your posts for Facebook and Instagram so a few hours spent scheduling means you don’t have to manage your posts daily.
Email & Newsletter Management
If your small business uses Gmail, you have access to a number of Google extensions that can help you organize and filter your email. Managing your email becomes much easier when you can actually visualize your email activity. EmailAnalytics is an email management tool that integrates with Gmail and G Suite accounts and automatically syncs with your email history, then visualizes it in intuitive charts, graphs, and tables.
For newsletter and email marketing, platforms like MailerLite and MailChimp are great email and newsletter tools that are easy to use and integrate into your website. For more of the eCommerce and paid newsletter business tools, ConvertKit and Drip offer newsletter campaigns, drip marketing campaigns, lead nurturing, etc. Pick a tool that leverages Zapier to integrate your contacts and followers easier.
If your project requires a project manager on board, here are our best tips for hiring a project manager. If you are just starting out and have the time, a good project management program will allow you to keep track of tasks, share data, and collaborate with coworkers all in one spot, making it one of the greatest tools for getting your work organized. For an all-in-one project management tool, look at ClickUp, Monday or Asana.
Because productivity is such a personal thing, the software programs and apps you require should be tailored to your business needs and the work you do. Before adding a new tool to your workflow, take some time to figure out exactly what you need. Read and compare the pricing structures, support, and customer reviews. Choose programs that will be best suited for you and your team, and scalable later on down the road.
At Our Project Experience, we have a dedicated team to help get your project off the ground to reach your goals. Each client is paired with the perfect project manager, based on project requirements and how well we think you’ll work together. We’ll make sure your experience is a smooth and happy one, and you’ll have our full team at your fingertips. Learn more here.