I love finding tools that make my business more effective, don’t you? My list is ever-changing, but these five have been on my lists for years. See if they can help make you more productive.
I just discovered DropBox for my phone, which makes it easy to send photos to my cloud storage through my DropBox profile. It’s also great for accessing large files between computers or among different users. You can access it from your phone, visit the website or download the drag and drop program to your desktop.
You can get 2 GB of free storage, and they entice you with more free storage if you take a tour and invite your friends to join. After that, plans start at $9.99 a month for 50 GB.
What It’s Best For: Ya know those emails someone sends you with a ginormous file that you never get due to spam filters? Just pop it in Dropbox and share. Easy.
Even with so many different invoicing, accounting and project management programs out there, none seem to offer it all. I like Harvest because not only can you send your clients invoices, but you can also track your time worked, which is super valuable to those of us who bill hourly (I’m currently tracking that on a lo-tech spreadsheet!).
It has a variety of reports you can run to see where you’re spending the most time, as well as to manage your budgets and expenses. Plans start at $12/month for solo users.
What It’s Best For: Playing nice with others. It works well with Quickbooks, Outright, Twitter and more.
I might be a tad biased, but I think Base is a great addition to this list for small businesses. I’ve been pretty averse to customer relationship management platforms up until I tried Base, but they make it so pretty and easy, what’s not to love?
I like how you can track a contact from being just a contact to a potential deal, and then once you close the deal, you see how much value you created. You can keep your contact info for everyone you speak to here, along with notes. You can even send emails to your dropbox to attach to a deal or contact.
There’s a 30 day free trial currently, and plans start at $15 a month after that.
If you’re still looking to evaluate other customer relationship platforms, check out a comparison of top vendors, Sage CRM vs Salesforce.
What It’s Best For: Managing contacts and seeing what your potential deals are worth. I never had the number in front of me, so it was eye opening!
4. Google Docs
Once I switched 100% of my company’s word documents and spreadsheets to Google Docs, I was amazed that I’d gone so long resisting. Don’t resist; it’s futile. Online word processing is the now.
Being able to share a document without that stupid chain of emails (“wait–was that my version or yours? Did you get my final updates?”) is heaven. Now that I’ve figured out how to view different revisions and leave comments, it’s even better.
It’s free, free, free. You can create forms and presentations too.
What It’s Good For: I use the documents and spreadsheets every day. You can open Word docs that people email you in Google to keep everything in one tidy place.
Another tool that gets a plus mark from me due to its integrated mobile feature. Consider Evernote the sticky note of the future. Here you can type notes, paste urls, record voice messages, and add attachments from your phone or computer. You can even share your notes through Facebook and email.
One day I was driving and I recorded a note to remind myself of something later. It was instantly in my account when I got to my office. You could use that to transcribe meetings!
Another awesomely free tool.
What It’s Best For: Keeping notes about your clients straight. Consider it a scrapbook for different topics.
What software tools help you run more smoothly? Please share them!