Every day we find ourselves juggling our time and trying to fit a day’s worth of work into as little hours possible. We look for ways to make project management easier and seamless, especially when it involves working with a team. While the work will always keep coming, there are ways to keep things simple and organized so that you can keep up your ‘A’ game and ensure your business continues to get your full attention.
Here are six FREE apps that every entrepreneur and small business owner can make use of and free up more time to get down to business.
This is one app that any person can utilize. One can create notebooks to organize clients, research, social media, and so much more. Evernote allows you to keep track of different projects and ideas, and effectively organize them all in one place. For example, you could create a note that tracks webpages you want to read later by clipping them directly from your web browser using the Evernote add-on. You can create tags to make searching for specific notes easy, and set-up shortcuts to set priority notes and notebooks so they are just one click away. The app allows for you to track text, photos, set reminders, create lists, and even create voice recordings. For those using IFTTT (see app #2), Evernote can be used to archive a ton of information being populate on different social media. For example, Twitter posts (i.e. specific hashtags or tweets you are mentioned in) could be collected in Evernote so that they are displayed in one note. Another cool function is Work Chat, which allows one to connect with others to share notes and send messages – say no more to email chains! AND the Evernote app is also available for multiple platforms from desktop to iPhone and Androids to tablets and iPads – making it easy to access and update when you are on the go.
Crave more details? Learn more here: “10 Evernote Power Tips to Keep Productivity on Track”
2) IFTTT (If This Then That)
This is the ultimate tool to keep tabs on multiple web services. You create “recipes” which are chains of simple conditioned statements that are triggered by actions that take place on various web services. One can create “IF recipes” or “DO recipes”. For example, for an IF recipe you could arrange for your Instagram pictures to be shared on Twitter as a native photo, rather than just a link as it would typically show. Another example, have it set to create reminders for important emails you receive OR save receipts, orders and invoices to a Google Drive Spreadsheet when they come through as emails in your Gmail account. A DO recipe may be when you take a photo of a receipt, it will be saved directly in Evernote on a specific note with other receipts you’ve snapped. For DO recipes, you will need to download the additional app, which is available through iTunes and Google Play.
Check out this handy IFTTT guide that shows you how to “Use the Web’s Most Powerful Tool Like a Pro”.
Every social media users’ go-to when it comes to scheduling posts and tracking all the great things you want to share with your followings. Buffer is an app that allows you to schedule posts to Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and so on, and helps you craft your message so that it displays appropriately for each platform. It also assists with planning when to share your posts by tracking what the best time and days of the week are based on your accounts’ insights and activity. The Buffer app is a common share link, making it even easier to schedule articles and webpages directly from your web browser as you go. Easy-peasy!
Learn more about how to maximise your use of Buffer by reading “The Top 10 Secret Buffer Hacks & Features”.
If you are active on social media, particularly Twitter, then this app is definitely a must-have for your business. Hootsuite allows you to have all your social media platforms in one location so that you can monitor the various news feeds and keep tabs on engagement. A key feature to utilize is Streams, which allow you to track different hashtags and lists. For example, if you have a Twitter Chat you want to participate in, create a stream tracking its hashtag and when the chat happens you’ll have one spot to see all the tweets coming through. Hootsuite is also excellent for list management. It’s so simple that all you have to do is drag and drop people you follow (or follow you) into lists. You can also drag and drop people within the lists. Similar to Buffer, this app allows for you to direct post to various platforms and schedule posts for later. Hootsuite makes it easy to drag and drop images, and also shorten URL links to keep your posts within the character limit.
Want to learn more? Check out “The Beginner’s Guide to Hootsuite” by Mashable.
If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, then you can understand the challenges of juggling ALL the aspects of a business by yourself or with a small team, and how difficult it can be to tackle project management. Fear no more, Trello is the app that allows you to get a handle on project management and increase your productivity. Essentially it is a task management app that gives you a visual overview of what is being worked on and who is working on it. This app is like a whiteboard with Post-It notes (in this case, they are called Cards), allowing you to creatively organize your projects and to-dos. For example, you can create a board for a specific client and allow your team, or even the client, to have access to the board. You can create cards with checklists and assign due dates, as well as include attachments and interact with your team through comments. One could use this app for admin and management, content marketing planning, big projects, and project development.
Get beginner tips from Trello’s Blog – “Beginner Tips for Using Trello”.
If you haven’t heard about Dropbox, you’ve likely heard the saying, “it’s saved to the cloud” – meaning you’ve saved something to be stored online for accessing from anywhere that has internet access. This process can be done quite easily thanks to apps like Dropbox. This app is very much like using a folder on your hard drive, but you have the ability to drag files into a folder that will automatically sync online and to any devices that are linked to your account. You can use Dropbox to store your photos, docs, videos and other files. Need to share a file with a colleague? Say no more to sending emails with attachments. Dropbox allows you to share files and folders with others, and can limit their access to view or edit.
For even more reasons about how great Dropbox is, read this article “62 Things You Can Do With Dropbox”.
NOTE: This blog post was inspired by discussions from our monthly Twitter Chats - special thanks to those who gave suggestions on helpful apps for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Learn more about these online sessions here.