By Ivan Serrano, special to Overdrive
As an entrepreneur you have a million things to do every day from hiring employees, marketing your brand and dealing with finances. Juggling all of these duties on a daily basis can be overwhelming to say the least. Luckily there are plenty of tools that can keep you organized.
Asana is a free and powerful project management tool that allows teams to communicate with each other in one central location. This is especially useful for entrepreneurs that employ virtual employees. Not only is it a great way to stay in touch with your team, it also keeps you up-to-date on their progress. You can create as many projects as necessary, assign tasks to team members, set due dates, add attachments and set goals and milestones. It also comes with a handy dashboard feature that gives you a high level view on the status of each project. It’s an excellent visualization tool and you can easily see how close you are to hitting your proposed deadline (or not).
Managing all of your social media accounts can be a time consuming task but fortunately there are social media management services like HootSuite to help lighten the burden. Depending on your management needs prices range from free for basic to $amount for the Pro plan. You can easily schedule updates to a variety of social media networks including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Mixi, keep an eye out on keywords or hashtags related to your business and keep track of any mentions. You can also view analytics for all of your profiles though for more in-depth information you will need to pay into the Pro plan. Since everything is organized in one place, it makes managing your accounts much easier and can keep you up-to-date on breaking news and trending topics.
You probably already know about this tool but that doesn’t make it any less important. Google Drive is one of the best ways to collaborate and share documents with clients and employees especially since it can convert and edit Microsoft Office documents. One of the best features of Google Drive is the ability to comment on documents. Instead of editing, you or your collaborator can highlight specific sections that need to be changed or clarified. The other person can then either make these changes or respond to the comment. It’s an excellent way to streamline the editing process so both parties are on the same page. And since the documents are located in the cloud, they can be accessed anytime and anywhere in the world.
While there are more telecommunication options out there, Skype still remains one of the most trusted and largest options with over 300 million users. There’s something to be said about actually speaking with and seeing your team in the same virtual space. It helps build a community and also builds a sense of loyalty. With the free version you can have up to 25 people on a call at a time and only do one-on-one video calls. However, the premium subscription allows for up to 10 people on a video conference call.
Whether you have a graphic designer on your team or not, you can reduce the time you spend on your e-newsletters by using MailChimp. It’s incredibly simple to use and doesn’t require any design experience. All you need to do is choose a template, insert your text and images and send it off to your email lists. Depending on the size of your email list and what services you want, you can take advantage of other features like scheduling your emails. It’s such a useful service that large business like The Onion and The New York Times use it themselves. It also comes with built-in analytics to track open-rates, click through rates and even a section where you can compare A/B tests.
Organize Your Business
Running a business doesn’t have to take up the entire day thanks to these time-saving tools. The more streamlined you can make your process, the less you need to worry about the day-to-day tasks and focus on building up your brand.