A while ago we posted an article about tools that we use on a regular basis to make us more productive and organised in our work lives. As entrepreneurs we are always incredibly busy so any web or mobile apps that help us save time and increase productivity are always going to be a good investment.
In addition to tools that we originally wrote about (listed below, from Momentum onwards) we have a few more that will increase your productivity (and sanity).
Capsule is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system that is ideal for managing all of your contacts, tasks and sales pipeline. To be honest, it is so central to our core business now that we would struggle to operate without it. We wrote a blog post about it a few months ago (they have rebranded since then!).
ToDo by Projectplace
Where would we be without lists? In a world of chaos that's where. Projectplace do many things but we particularly like their ToDo module which is based on Kanban boards.
Fundamentally, you put all your tasks on one board, sorted into 3 columns of To Do, Doing and Done. The idea is that they all start in the To Do column and you only move tasks that you are going to tackle today into the Doing column (so that you aren't overwhelmed by the shear volume of jobs you have to do!). Once the task is completed, just drag it across to your done column, so that you can see what you have achieved.
One thing you may be yet to learn as an entrepreneur is that your 'to do' list is always huge. And it never gets any smaller. So, once you've accepted that you are going to be busy until the day you retire (do entrepreneurs really retire?) use ToDo to make sure you get through your tasks in a timely fashion.
More info https://todo.projectplace.com
Suffering form internal email overload? Yes, we were too. Until we discovered Slack. We use Slack for internal messaging, which is ideal when we have business advisers working remotely. We have a number of themed channels such as #clients, #events, and #ideas and we create teams around those channels. For example, send a message about an event you want to exhibit at and everyone in the #events channel will see your message and discuss accordingly e.g. "Great event to exhibit at, what will it cost us?" or "Why on earth do you want to exhibit at a Star Trek convention, we are a high-end fashion retailer". Or similar.
Check them out https://slack.com.
We have been using accounting software for more years than we care to remember but we have noticed in recent years how much more user-friendly it has become. Cloud-based computing has not only made accounting more affordable and more accessible (desktop and mobile) it has almost made it, dare we say it, pleasurable? That sounds wrong on every level, we know, but nicely executed software can make your life so much easier.
To that extent, you could do worse than try QuickBooks by Intuit, it's ideal for small businesses.
And here are some of the tools we recommended a little while ago:
A neat little extension for Google Chrome which prompts you to enter the main focus for your day. Every time you open a new tab you’re presented with a stunning photo, an inspirational quote and a reminder of your focus. The aim being to maintain your momentum and not get distracted into a rabbit hole of other websites and social media.
I love the clean layout and structure of Evernote and use it primarily for notes, lists and general thoughts. I also draft up blog articles (as I’m doing right now!). Evernote has tons more features than I currently exploit, including a great scan and search option, and I’m looking forwarding to diving more into their premium features.
A smart phone app offering guided mediations. I use Headspace every morning for 10-15 minutes to be mindful and set myself up for the day ahead.
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A great looking Google app for subscribing to articles from my favourite blogs which I then access on my iPhone or iPad.
This is a really neat tool for converting documents and editing pdf files. Invaluable when you need to convert something to pdf or combine a bunch of individual pages into one document.
Great for tracking time spent on specific projects or when working on contracts that are billed by the day/hour. I tried a bunch of different time tracking apps and found OfficeTime to work best for my needs, plus the smart phone app is useful for when out and about.