Improving Productivity using Software Tools
Your choice of productivity tools can greatly improve your work capabilities, whether you have staff members you want to organise and collaborate with, or you are a single entrepreneur who is going it alone. The right software tools can help companies like your to refine and streamline your workload so you can focus on the most important things.
For example, using collaboration and sharing tools such as Freedcamp, which is a web-based project management tool and organization system for single or multiple users collaborating using cloud computing, can make projects come together more effectively. This is an especially useful tool if you operate using remote team members who are not centrally office based, or you use freelancers to support your work.
Tasks can be allocated to specific team members and you can easily monitor the progress of tasks and leave messages. Message alerts are sent via email, so you can communicate with your team without interrupting them with a phone call or text message. It can also help organise communication between staff and management, creating a single source for team resources, queries, necessary documentation, company templates and reminders.
Too Many Apps to choose from?
There seems to be an app for everything these days, and sometimes it can get a little confusing trying to navigate the Apps marketplace to find the perfect one that you need. It can also become tiring trying to remember which app stores what information. This is why it is better to look for single solution software options that meet your needs and then stick with them. Constantly app switching is time consuming and kills productivity. Good productivity apps and tools are constantly evolving to keep up to date with new trends and added options, so they are worth sticking with.
You want your company to work more efficiently and productively, both within the business and externally. As a business owner, you’re always busy. Until the possibility of cloning yourself becomes a reality, you will need to use some effective productivity software to handle your time-consuming, yet very necessary tasks for you.
Lets take a look at some of our favourite productivity tools that we think could be very useful for you.
QuickBooks Invoicing Software is a Godsend to the small business owner. It is a cloud-based online bookkeeping and accounts system that takes all the hard work out of managing your business accounts. This is especially useful for the sole-trader or single entrepreneur who operate their business without any staff, so don’t have an in-house accountant or bookkeeper. It even works out your government approved allowances for you if you run your business from home. So there are no worries about getting a hefty fine from HMRC should you get your calculations wrong.
QuickBooks can also save you a lot of money having to hire the services of an accountant for your annual self-assessment tax returns. Quite often accountancy fees can eat into a large chunk of your profits, especially if you run a very simple bookkeeping system that doesn’t involve a lot of complicated maths to work out expenses and allowances. You can often wonder why you pay your accountant so much money for such little work! With QuickBooks, you can also track your mileage and issue invoices automatically, as well as run payroll and VAT for VAT registered companies.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software used to be quite costly in the old days and was mainly used by larger enterprises. However, these days it doesn’t matter what size business you run, CRM systems are now available for all sizes of business. Many large CRM systems are much too feature heavy and expensive to even be contemplated by many small business owners, but Insightly is different. This is an online service with a mobile app version that is ideal for entrepreneurs, sole-traders and small partnerships.
Productivity is important for every business, no matter what their size. This tool makes it easy to organise your business contacts, assign tasks and follow ups, and keep track of conversations so you know exactly where you are with each project. Insightly is free and is available for iOS and Android.
Big corporation bosses usually have their own personal assistants who run their diary and organise their travel on their behalf. However, this isn’t the case for sole-traders or entrepreneurs who work by themselves. For entrepreneurs who have to travel a lot for their business, Tripit can help your productivity greatly by organising your travel itinerary, rental car hire and hotel bookings. All these little things that you need to spend time organising and checking. Tripit stores your travel details and plots your itinerary with useful maps and weather reports for where you are going.
Achieve – Productivity Timer
Losing track of time while at work is one of the most common frustrations for a small business owner. Not only does it impact on your productivity, but it cuts into the time you have allocated towards completing other tasks. Pretty soon you have a knock-on effect where all of your daily tasks are either started late, or you are unable to complete because you have run out of time.
The Achieve timer will help you to keep track of the amount of time that you spend on each task. It will remind you when you are close to the end of your allocated time for that particular project, and will also allow you to schedule in regular breaks so you don’t become overwhelmed or fatigued. This is a free tool available on Android.
Google Apps is now called G Suite and is the market leader for a whole range of useful features to help make our lives much easier. With a collaborative approach in mind, you can easily reach out to colleagues to share and comment on Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides and Sites. You can keep and share ideas and use the Jamboard as your collaborative white board to thrash out new ideas. You can access shared files and store new files to share with others.
The Google Calendar allows you to set up suggested time slots for meetings. Others can view and share their calendar so you can see who is attending your meeting, or choose a meeting time that is based on everyone’s availability. This is great for your remote workers or those who travel for work and don’t often get a chance to connect with the office.
Designed specifically for the workplace, you get a free 14 day trial and then you can subscribe starting at just £3.30 per user per month.
Sortd is the first ever smart skin for Gmail. This useful tool transforms your Gmail inbox into a drag-and-drop workspace with columns of customizable lists. It’s like de-cluttering your home, but for email. It matches how you like to organise and access information: Visually, and into useful lists. We all have far too much email to handle at the best of times, so Sortd helps to categorise what is important and what can be discarded. A very useful productivity tool for Gmail!
At the moment Sortd only works with Google Apps and Gmail accounts. You can also open multiple Chrome tabs running a different Gmail account at the same time, unless it is two different accounts coming into a Sortd Inbox at the same time.
Social Media Management
Social media has swiftly become the beating heart of any businesses successful marketing plans. You can grow your audience and drive traffic to your website to buy your products and services through effective social media marketing management. The beauty of the Lobster social media management solution is that you can either do it yourself, or have it all managed for you. Your choice will obviously depend on how much time you have to dedicate to running your social media management, but you can test out the system for yourself with a free 14 day trial to get you started.
There are some amazing features to take advantage of with the free version, but you will have many more at your disposal with the PRO version. There is unlimited online help resources you can access via your dashboard. This is a fully functional solution that allows you to create original posts, update your timelines, and access valuable statistics to help analyse and identify content types and posting times that appeal most to your readers.
Xero accounting software
Xero Accounting Software works online and is cloud-based so you can see exactly how your company is doing wherever you are. With its built-in multi-currency functionality, you can book and view currency conversions instantly. Xero integrates with hundreds of business apps, from invoicing and time tracking to inventory management. They also have expert Xero-certified advisors across the world that can help you with local compliance.
Reputation Management Software
Online reputation management software allows business owners to monitor their customers or site users online reviews. Your marketing team can use positive customer experiences to promote your business through online review platforms.
Management can also capture negative customer experiences to swiftly act on and rectify. Lobster’s reputation management software provides you with mechanisms for submitting new reviews through different channels, such as advertising campaigns and email. Your marketing team can build and refine your company’s online reputation to help build trust and a to promote positive company image.
For more information about G Suite, our Social Media Management solutions or Reputation Management Software, do not hesitate to contact us.