As a small business owner, you likely wear many hats. From running operations to communication, to problem-solving, there’s always a lot of things to do, yet so little time to do them. Because of this, you’re probably always searching for new ways to be as efficient and productive as possible.
Luckily, in today’s digital age, there is an enormous number of smart tools to help keep business owners on track. However, the large number of online business tools offered to businesses can seem overwhelming to those who aren’t sure what they should be searching for. Selecting the right beneficial online business tools will always depend on what will work best for you and your team. To help you along with the selection process, here are a few popular and beneficial online business tools for small business owners to better manage their business while also keeping their sanity.
1. Toggl and MyMinutes
Keep track of your projects and stay on top of performance with online beneficial tools for small or medium-sized business owners that easily integrate with other project management tools like Basecamp.
Toggl is an online tool that breaks the traditional mold of mundane timesheets. This tool offers the ability to track the amount of time you spend on tasks and projects. If your business focuses on providing transparency to your clients, you can share reports and time sheets with your clients, as well as benchmark your own success.
Constantly running in and out of the office? MyMinutes is a time-tracker app with a keen focus on your productivity. If you feel that your time is being sucked away by a single task, you can set a timer that provides structure while performing tasks that have the potential to quickly suck you into a black-hole, like checking your email.
2. Trello and Basecamp
For the small business owner who is constantly communicating with their team, take a look at these two project management tools. Because what business owner doesn’t like options? If you want to stop working all over the place and have a better handle on important business tasks, explore project management tools like Trello or Basecamp.
Trello identifies heavily as a Pinterest board-like project management tool with the ability to create boards, cards, and lists for any project you’re currently working on. Connect your team in a single space that is accessible across almost any device or platform. Collaborate with the ability to add notes, photos and more to projects. Trello also provides real-time updates. That means you won’t have to click the ‘refresh’ button, ever.
Basecamp is a similar tool and is also great for team-to-team communication and project management. With this tool, you can make your projects easily accessible and manageable. Invite team members and clients to view and collaborate on a project. Create boards with projects, tasks, notes, files and much more.
3. Evernote or OneNote
Diligent note-takers everywhere, this one’s for you. How many post-it notes do you have covering your desk? If you’re constantly writing notes down inside a planner or journal throughout the day, check out tools like Evernote or OneNote, which are both dedicated to help you remember everything, get organized, and also keep you from looking like a crazy person.
OneNote offers you note-taking and saving ability with added creative flexibility. You can use OneNote on tablets and save handwritten notes and use colorful ink to brighten and emphasize certain sections. Since OneNote is a Microsoft product, you should use it with Microsoft Suite to utilize its full potential. In fact, if you are an Office 365 subscriber, OneNote is included in that subscription.
If you’re not keen on using Microsoft Suite or simply want to explore an option beyond OneNote, Evernote is the clear choice for you. You can create notes, checklists and more with the added ability to include links, attachments and audio recordings, and their website cutter is pretty cool. With Evernote, you can save any notes and sync them across all the devices where you have the program installed.
Do you travel for business often? Wishing you had a personal assistant who managed all your travel plans for you? Of course, there’s an app for that, too. Manage your entire itinerary – flights, directions, reservations, and more right inside the TripIt app. Depending on which plan you choose (free versus paid), you can also receive weather and flight updates, find out when a better seat becomes available, and even store travel documents right on the app. Prepare yourself for your upcoming business trip with the master itinerary digital business tools from TripIt.
Managing expenses tends to be a daunting task for many small business owners. If you’re comfortable with leaving the expense reporting to intelligent automation, Expensify will soon become your new best friend. With one-click receipt scanning, managing yours and your team’s expenses just became a whole lot easier. The tool offers a large number of integrations, like Quickbooks and Oracle, and admin customization allows you to choose automatic approval workflows so you can save time and the headache of filling out expense reports manually.
If you’ve ever lost something important as a result of a data disaster, you know that there’s almost never a truly secure way to store things directly to your computer without having a system backup. Dropbox isn’t exactly a basic system backup for your computer, it’s an online cloud-based storage system that allows you to access your files from anywhere. Easily save your files, photos, videos and everything else to your Dropbox-synced computer and access them while you’re on the road. Sign into Dropbox from any device and access your files, collaborate with team members, and feel relieved knowing the things important to your business are stored safe and sound.
These digital business tools for small business owners, among the endless options already on the market, can help owners better manage their business during any stage. Selecting the right online business tools will always depend on what will work best for your business. Discuss options with your team before switching platforms or jumping into new processes. If you’re thinking about starting a business or have already begun your business venture, feel free to contact me for small business legal counsel and advice.