Turn 24 Hours into 36 Productive Ones with These Business Apps
How to Increase Productivity Using Business Apps
Whether you’re a freelancer or a small studio team of 3, every minute in your workday counts. Growing a business requires a killer combination of instinct, strategy and actual hours put in.
For a small business or solopreneur, this can regularly mean putting in 16- or 17-hour days. Hey, no one said it would be easy.
But these business apps promise to cut down on the intrusive, “important but non-urgent” tasks that interrupt your day, so you can focus on bringing in those billable hours, baby!
Want to squeeze productivity from every minute of your day? There’s an app for that!
Image source – trello.com/
Using Trello in your workday not only helps manage your personal time and projects, it can be a great tool to use to work with clients to manage projects, upload on-boarding materials and communicating with other team members.
Trello is based on the Kanban method of organization, which visualizes workflow. In a kanban board, there are different columns for different phases of a task.
Because of its visual card-based user interface, colour coding features, integrated calendar and ability to assign “cards” to multiple people, Trello allows you to see, with just a glance, who is working on what and which project loops are still in progress.
Image source – moneypenny.me/
Truth: you did not get into freelancing or building your own business because you want to chase your clients down for money.
Service-based small businesses or solopreneurs that rely on clients fulfilling an invoice to get paid are always in danger of either forgetting to send out a bill or, worse yet, forgetting to check on a client whose payment is obviously late.
Luckily, business app like MoneyPenny is the tool you need to automate your accounting tasks, ensure timely payment and plan for future growth. Having an online invoicing and time tracking software that acts as a project hub means that your business’s financial health as well as your project progress is viewable at one glance.
If you’re a solo operation, it’s also a tool that will help you add team members and track their hours for billing, no matter where they’re located.
Image source – blossom.co/
There’s project management for online entrepreneurs.
And then there’s Blossom.co, a project management tool built specifically for teams whose members are traveling, geographically separated but are still interested in working together.
Where does the time go in these cases? Think about it.
Follow ups. Meetings. Time Zones. Collaborating on design. Getting status updates. Logging hours. Checking on completion. Pair programming (if you’re a team of developers, for example).
Blossom brings all these functions of project collaboration together with the software’s own features and uses smart integrations for tools like Slack, Flowdock and GitHub, which teams may already be using.
If you can bring all members under one hub and have them collaborate so that everyone is on the same page (literally), then there’s less time wasted on all these smaller (but no less significant) aspects of project and client management.
The idea behind Blossom is that the features are what make team collaboration time as productive as it can be.
Image source – slack.com/
Slack’s motto is “where work happens” but it could also have been, “when work happens”. On the surface, Slack brands itself as a “messaging app for teams”.
But it is so much more.
Slack gives teams a chance to speak to each other in realtime, no matter where they’re located. This means less email inbox chaos and lost threads.
It also allows smaller teams to add multiple “channels”. This means that if you’re working with multiple clients at once, you can setup a “channel” for each client using just one user account and have multiple channels that you can access.
Besides its handy tagging, notifications and direct messaging features, Slack also allows you to upload any type of file and includes smart integrations for Dropbox and Google Drive, to name a few.
And the best part —everything, in any thread, is searchable.
Image source – zonepdf.com/
One of the most common file formats that is used online today is PDF. It’s so popular, Google Chrome has a built-in extension that allows you to Save directly to PDF format, rather than Print.
It’s what freelancers and small businesses use when they want to send proposals to clients, send on boarding materials to new hires or they want to send forms and documents for feedback.
If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars every year purchasing the Adobe suite but you still want to work flexibly with PDFs, an online web PDF converter like ZonePDF should be your first stop.
Unlike open-source software, ZonePDF lives in your browser so you don’t have to download or install software that could be otherwise bogged down with spam.
It also allows you to convert PDFs to images, Word Docs and Excel files right away, as well as giving you the option to combine or split PDF files. Note that files are stored temporarily for a maximum of 6 hours.
The online converter is lightweight and fast, which makes it a great option for start-ups who are trying to be lean.
Image source – skype.com/en/
While it started as a way for friends and family to connect over long-distances and across time zones, Skype has quickly become one of the handiest business apps to have in a freelancer’s toolkit or a small business’s arsenal.
Skype is a great tool for masterminds, client on-boarding and basically on-the-go communication, for when you can’t be roped to a physical location or an office phone.
Businesses that require frequent, in-person and face-to-face check-ins can really benefit for Skype’s online functionality as well as its landline service.
Skype also offers a messaging and contacts feature, with a history of calls and chats so you can easily access items you discussed during your meeting or check out when the call started for billing purposes.
You can also share screens for pair programming projects or if you’re a designer that needs to run a client through a project mockup.
Guide your client right away in a meeting so you get to the final design faster.
And Skype’s features hookup with other Office 360 programs so that you can flip between programs and collaborate while you talk over Skype.
Image Source – gotomeeting.com
Go2Meeting is one of those power-packed apps that combine video-conferencing with messaging, project collaboration, chat and the ability to share and record screens.
It has its own software, known as Citrix, that must be downloaded in order for the program to run and members to join a “meeting room”.
However, once that is done, you can easily enter rooms once you have the link to the room. This means you can be a part of multiple meetings at once, popping in and out as you need to.
This is especially handy if you’re part of multiple projects. While some may need your expertise, others require you to only be present. Share your screen and record the meeting for future viewing.
What is even more interesting is that several online entrepreneurs and e-commerce channels use Go2Meeting to set up “webinars”, which become an integral part of their sales funnels.
Image Source – box.com/en-gb/home
For small businesses and freelancers, the gain in shaving off a mere couple of minutes here and there for tasks truly adds up over time.
Many of these business apps are so beneficial because they integrate multiple functions in one, automate and allow team members to “set it and forget it”.
It makes collaboration easier, if that’s the aim, or does half the work for you, soy can focus on more important, high-level tasks.
Box is one such app that brings together files and the ability to do more than just store or view and download. It allows everyone who gets access to the account to edit, comment and share in real time.
Team members who are collaborating over Box can also use the platform to check in on project status, track progress, billable hours and use the platform as a calendar.
It truly is an all-in-solution that frees businesses from having to resort to several apps. Instead, they can clear the clutter and log in to one central resource.
Image Source – calendar.google.com/calendar/
Last but certainly not least, every freelancer and agency needs to way to schedule meetings — not just with each other but with clients as well.
Google Calendar offers a powerful solution for those who are looking to automate features like schedule reminders, adding to calendars, having multiple calendars in one viewing and colour coded blocks.
Often times, users of Google Calendar will use the app to hook into time logging software and use the calendar to mark billable hours.
You can also view others calendars via a link. Once you add their calendar to yours, using this link, you can collaborate with greater efficiency. If you have a task that involves several people, make sure to tag or add them to the task you’ve set up on your calendar.
The calendar also allows you to set tasks, all-day appointments and reminders and syncs easily to your smartphone, once you download the mobile app version.
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