Small businesses are often strapped for time and money. Administrative tasks are not necessarily income-producing yet still need to be done. Add in the fire-hose of information and the sheer quantity of tools available, and we soon realize we can’t possibly spend our days finding what we need. Here are just a few of the many free or low-cost time saving tools available that will enable you to focus on making money versus chasing the details.
Calendar and Task Management
Calendars? We need calendars! Avoid task slippage and disappearance with a Project Management tool such as Asana. With their free plan, you can add up to 30 team members and unlimited projects. If you need to allow selective access to projects, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan. Alternatively, you can work around this by creating a new work space and only inviting select people to that work space. What’s awesome about Asana? It emails you a daily digest showing overdue and upcoming tasks.
If you are a service-based business and need a tool so your clients can book an appointment with you, check out Appointlet It integrates with Google Calendar and is incredibly easy to set up. If clients can choose an appointment with various team members in your organization, it’s easy to add in those team member options. Have WordPress? It integrates seamlessly.
Online Meetings and Screenshares
With an increasing number of service providers working virtually throughout the world, we often need a visual solution to hash out project details.
Tools such as AnyMeeting are useful for hosting online presentations and classes. Easily schedule a one-time or recurring meeting and email the link to the guests. Guests can call join the session via computer or phone. The presenter can share his screen and record the session for later viewing. Note: AnyMeeting does not support flash so those with Macs may have problems trying to watch a replay.
Join.me gives you an easy way to do a quick screenshare and allows for mouse control to be passed from person to person. The person hosting the session will need to install Join.me’s software, but the person joining the session does not need to download anything, making it incredibly easy for even the least tech-savvy to join your session.
Backup Systems and Cloud Storage
Have you given any thought to what you’d do if your laptop was stolen or if it was fried because the four-legged office mascot spilled your coffee onto your keyboard? Eliminate the unnecessary stress of losing those irreplaceable contracts and other documents by having a cloud backup system in place.
For a relatively low cost, Carbonite offers peace of mind. As part of their easy setup process, you define all of the folders and files on your machine you’d like automatically synced. Within minutes of modifying a document, Carbonite will have it stored safely. Did you permanently delete a needed file? Restore it from Carbonite; they keep a copy for 30 days after you’ve deleted it from your machine.
If you ever need to transfer your files to another machine, Carbonite makes the transfer process seamless. Depending on the number of files you have on your machine, it may take a few days to transfer, but it is incredibly easy for the non-techy to complete with no issues.
Need to share files, especially large ones, with another person? Use Dropbox. Their free accounts start with 2GB of space. They also have an app for your smartphone; I use mine to automatically upload all photos I take into a specific folder.
As much fun as it is to like, retweet and share on social media it can become an enormous, distracting time-suck. There are a few tools that can help lighten the burden on your social sharing obligations throughout the day.
HyperAlerts has been around for quite some time, and my favorite use of it is to receive “ASAP” notifications when someone has comments on my Facebook Fan Page.
Want to get your social sharing efforts queued-up in advance? Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer make it easy to schedule posts to be shared across your social media channels throughout the day. Buffer is specifically designed for scheduling content for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn; Hootsuite allows you to share across Twitter, Facebook brand pages, LinkedIn, and Google+.
If you’d like to learn more about online payment processing, check out this short 2-minute PaySimple video. It describes everything we do.