Too little time. Too much to do. Too cumbersome tasks. Too many things you don’t know how to do. Adding one more task seems overwhelming. Do you feel this way? Even if you don’t, chances are someone on your team does. And that hurts your small business, because human capital will underperform when it feels overwhelmed, burned out, and disengaged. Some solutions: delegate tasks, automate tasks, make cumbersome tasks less cumbersome.
This is a list of easy to implement and relatively low cost products and services that can provide tremendous value to a small business.
1. Upwork – online freelance platform
Upwork is an online freelance platform. The platform has built in features for communication, payment, time-tracking, project management and more. It’s free to use, but to access the top-tier freelancers, you must upgrade to a paid Upwork plan.
If you want to scale a project, but don’t have the time or in-house talent to pull it off, look to remote talent like Upwork freelancers.
Earl White, the vice president of House Heroes LLC, a Florida real estate services company, reported that “Upwork has been a game-changer for us. I hired a virtual assistant through Upwork, and the ability to delegate routine tasks has freed up my time to work on other aspects of the business. In addition, I can find freelancers for tasks that my employees are not equipped to do. For example, I needed a video edited last week, and was able to hire an experienced editor on Upwork for that job.”
Consider all the resources needed to manage the paperwork in a transaction: printing, scanning, faxing, copying, sending pages back and forth for signatures, filing. Manual paper-based processes can be tremendously inefficient, frustrating, and error prone. Docusign has different solutions based on different industries and business models, but if your small business does not have streamlined processes for signing contracts, circulating documents, creating and filing templates, look into DocuSign.
Here are some common ways DocuSign can help your small business
- Saves you time, money– you see the result in a few hours instead of weeks and delight your customers along the way.
- Improves your productivity and scales your business faster – You’ll be able to automate your entire workflows and conduct business securely from anywhere. You’ll rest assured that everything stays legal, secure, and visible with a complete audit trail.
- Helps you track workflow progress – Stay on top of your business processes, send reminders to recipients, view audit trails, and store that information securely online.
- Empowers your employees – You can create and upload reusable templates which your employees can easily create, distribute and update. It means you can close contracts without worry.
3. Ring Central
Ring Central is a cloud based business phone system. With Ring Central, you can have video conference calls with multiple participants using everyone’s existing devices. There is no need for all the hardware, training and software maintenance that comes with traditional on-premises phone systems. Users can use various devices, including PCs, laptops, mobile phones and tablets.
Other features of Ring Central include:
- Integrates with other popular platforms such as Salesforce, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
- Cuts down on operational costs- easy to manage, so you will rarely if ever, need to spend money on training or repairs, and does require hardware installations or maintenance
- Is easy to navigate, and you don’t have to hire a tech specialist to help with maintenance.
Slack is an online collaboration hub. It has built in messaging, audio/video calling and screen sharing features. If you team is working on a project, files and messages about the project can all be shared through Slack, rather than switching between different apps for chatting, document sharing and emails. It also eliminates the need to have messages and project materials spread across different apps. Using Slack, you can designate different channels for projects and teams, and share project materials and related messages on a given channel (rather than jumping around to multiple apps such as Dropbox, Gchat and Outlook).
Todoist is a robust task management system. In other words, it is the “to do list” of your dreams. Each task in your todolist can be scheduled, assigned a priority, assigned under the umbrella of a specific project and contains a place to take notes and attach files. ToDoIst also allows users to assign tasks to other people. The Todoist interface is clean, clear and user-friendly.
6. Google Apps – cloud based office suite
Google Apps is an online office suite that can replace the outdated style of desktop computing and location-based servers. The Google Apps suite includes Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet.
Here are three ways switching to Google Apps can help your small business:
- Maintenance, Upgrade and Investment Free – Let Google and the secondary service providers worry about power surges, failed hard drives, upgrades, and compatibility while you run your business.
- Total Mobility – With Google Apps cloud computing, files and software are stored in the cloud, and accessible through an internet connection. If your tablet or laptop break, you can still access your work and files from a different device since they are stored in the cloud and not on your specific piece of hardware.
- Simple Collaboration– You can share files, videos, and ideas quickly and without the confusing duplication of email. Several people can work at the same time on the same file,
Managing customer information, outreach, communication and even the business cards you receive at events can be a huge undertaking. Using customer relationship management (CRM), such as Insightly, can help you to make the most of these valuable relationships.
Here’s what Insightly can do for you:
- Centralized source of customer information that could accelerate sales, increase transparency, and improve operational efficiency
- Business process automation – if your business is rapidly growing with multiple locations across the country, then you need a better was to manage relationships, projects, and employees. You need the right mix of automation, integrations, and flexibility.
You can automate many administrative processes, resulting in higher levels of productivity and customer satisfaction.
Take the first step
Whether you’re growing an existing business or want to start a new one, you need to have efficient and effective business processes.
You don’t need to use everything we’ve suggested because there’re some that won’t fit your preferences. In such cases, it’s best to stick only to the technology that you’re comfortable with and that suits your current processes.