With the NFL season rapidly approaching, people are hustling to complete their fantasy football drafts. Many fantasy players try to get ‘that edge’ in the season by picking a top, expert-ranked starter that will make a consistent difference weekly, others by selecting a sleeper poised for a break-out season. We pooled our experts to come up with a list of some of the most valuable, all-around tools to make running your business more efficient, as well as some ‘sleepers’ that can make a difference that you never expected.
Below are our top-ranked tools that you should look at drafting in the first 5 rounds. Next week, come back for the break-out sleepers:
Round 1 – Gmail: While this might seem like a safe pick because you might already use Gmail, there are a bunch of Gmail hacks and add-ons to be more organized than you thought.
- Last year, we wrote a whole post on some of Gmail’s features because it is more than just an email service. You can use Gmail to communicate via SMS by emailing from a phone number, or use Hangouts to instant message or video chat. All of these features allow you to see who’s online and connect with them instantly.
- Google Labs has a bunch of free ‘experiments’ including Boomerang Gmail which lets you write an email and schedule it to be send at the perfect time by using the send later button. Or if you don’t want to read a new email from a friend when you are working, you can Boomerang the message so it comes back after work hours.
- Finally create an unlimited number of email addresses with the “+” character to help categorize. For example, marysmith@gmail can become marysmith+billing@gmail for people who have billing questions about your business. You can then create filters or rules based on these email addresses to keep yourself and your files more organized.
Round 2 – Wave: This web-based tool is best for basic accounting needs because it allows you to import, and categorize transactions directly from your bank account and credit cards. Wave gives you the ability to calculate taxes, generate bill payment reminders and basic ledgers, and record payments. You can even give read-only access to your accountant or bookkeeper. Wave won’t replace your accountant or do robust invoicing and payment processing, but is still a great starter solution for many small businesses.
Round 3 – Sprout Social or Buffer: You’ve got your Google+ page up and running, and have started actively posting on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s getting to be a lot to manage and keep straight. That’s where a social posting program comes in. Both have simple interfaces to schedule posts and track basic stats for your campaigns, but each has its own strengths which means we couldn’t select just one! andSprout Social has great reporting and an awesome listing of the feeds from all of our top followers (who you can categorize into folders) while Buffer has taken content curation to a new level with it’s awesome ‘suggestions’ page. Both offer free versions which are great to step into the world of social media.
Round 4 – Trello: A collaboration tool that helps organize your company’s projects. Trello tracks what projects are currently being worked on, who’s working on what and the progress being made. This tool helps you manage workflow and track project milestones. It syncs across devices and allows you to invite people to projects or keep them just for you. There is a free version as well as ‘business class’ as you need more attachment size, administrative control and security.
Round 5 – Mailchimp: Similar to social media management, there is no shortage of email tools, but our pick for small business management is Mailchimp. The free-version of the software will allow up to 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails per month – more than enough for a business just starting to build their customer base. Additionally, features like unlimited free storage of images, and simple integrations with survey tools and event management applications like Eventbrite, makes them one of the most comprehensive freemium models on the market.
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Image Credit: Draft by Penn State