Workers share digital files to increase their productivity.

5 Tools to Help You Increase Your Productivity

 

As business owners, we work for ourselves. There is no one to hold us accountable for the work we have to accomplish everyday — no one except for ourselves.

Productivity is the lifeblood of a successful business AND a successful business owner. But with a world full of digital distractions, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep productivity on track.

In fact, a recent survey of UK office workers found that out of the typical eight-hour workday, the average employee only truly ‘works’ around three hours. That’s a pretty staggering statistic.

Whether you work four hours each day or eight, it isn’t how much you work, but rather how efficiently you manage your time. In other words, it’s all about productivity.

Business owners need all the help they can get to keep productivity high. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our Top 5 Tools to Help Increase Your Productivity.

1. Stop trying to remember all your passwords.

We recommend this #1 brain hack for everyone, even those not running their own business.

These days we need a password for everything, from ultra-secure platforms like online banking to free subscriptions to digital news media.

You can do that thing where you create one password for everything. But of course, there are two major problems with going down this path. One, it’s not secure. AT ALL. And secondly, many financial institutions and other platforms involving currency exchange force you to change your password every so often, anyway.

To be more productive, start by not stressing about your passwords. There are three easy-to-use apps that will keep them all securely stored for you.

Our top pick is LastPass. It’s highly intuitive to use and conveniently will pop up everywhere you need it to. LastPass offers a free desktop option that is well suited for average Joes, but for business owners who have to wear more hats, we recommend the premium option. It’s just $12 a year! Premium has improved security, mobile capabilities, and even more memory for even more passwords. The app has awesome features such as auto-password changing if it detects one of your accounts has been hacked.

At $12 annually, every business owner can certainly afford it. And of course, write it off!

Runners up in the category are KeePass and 1Password. People love these apps too, so feel free to give them a go.

2. Bring in the digital task managers.

Want to make your daily to-do list more efficient?

Bring in the digital task managers.

These are really glorified to-do lists, but what makes them different is their ability to be shared digitally. You can send daily duties to multiple employees, and they can then provide input when tasks are accomplished. Digital task managers are excellent tools to keep you and your team on the same page.

The most basic and easy to use is Wunderlist. It’s totally straightforward: a to-do list everyone can learn to use in a matter of minutes. Share your lists among specific groups and organize everything into files of your choosing. Wunderlist is a favorite of students and families, not just business owners, for its intuitive interface.

For more advanced platforms to manage multiple lists and people, Basecamp and Hitask will be a better bet. These are more in-depth solutions that enable you to assign, organize, and manage people and tasks. In addition to the to-dos, you can exchange files between users, share calendars, and coordinate on projects. These are better solutions for managing bigger teams or more complicated employee structures, like multiple freelancers or contractors.

3. Bring in the digital finance managers.

Perhaps one of the most important productivity tools is one that helps you manage your business finances. Not everything can be left to the accountant. As a business owner, it’s crucial that you have a constant grasp of your financial state.

With these online budgeting tools for business, you can keep your grip on your finances without asking the bookkeeper.

We recommend FreshBooks and Expensify to start. Freshbooks is a comprehensive solution for small businesses (less than 50 employees). It will help you manage your invoices and expenses in an intuitive format that’s easy to use and understand. And their stats are impressive — customers apparently double their revenue within the first two years of using the app. Talk about productivity hack!

Expensify is a more simplistic platform. It has less capabilities but will work great for businesses with just a few employees or less. Expensify will manage all your receipts, invoices, expense reports, etc. so you can waste less time on mind-numbing paperwork.

If you want a totally comprehensive budgeting software, start out at Capterra. The site will help you compare multiple business software products according to your budgets, your needs, and the size and scope of your company. It’s a great place to start, especially if you’re looking to shell out more cash on serious budgeting solutions.

4. Take your CRM digital.

Effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is critical to keeping any business afloat, let alone successful. Keeping up with sales, customer interactions, marketing, and IT is no easy feat.

Don’t try to create a system yourself. And don’t hire someone to do it, either.

Instead, try an efficient CRM software that will organize every level of your sales funnel and keep you and your employees focused on more important things. Minimize miscommunication between employees and customers, and say hello to more productivity every week.

Our top picks are Zoho and Colabo. Neither are free, and no CRM software worth its weight will give away the goods for free. Zoho is more of a broad solution that organizes your sales trends and cycles. It’s easy to use and great for small businesses.

If you already use CRM software but want to up your game, then Colabo is the choice for you. Colabo gives you more targeted solutions and is highly rated among large and small businesses alike.

5. Efficiently store your files. Digitally.

Just because we’re storing everything online doesn’t mean we are any more organized than the days of the file cabinet.

And depending on the way you, your customers, and/or your employees are sharing files with one another, you could be wasting precious time.

You need to be able to share files rapidly and securely. For free.

Hands-down the best option out there is Google Drive. Google Drive offers you an immense amount of storage, intuitive organization, and lets you share files securely, the way you want to share them, (read-only, etc.) in seconds.

Dropbox is another great option, but Google Drive is definitely the one most people are using.

If you want a higher level of security for your team and deal a lot with sensitive information like financial records, we recommend getting your team set up with Huddle. Huddle isn’t free, but it’s affordable. Depending on the nature of your business, it may be the best option.

 

Are you buying a business in Perth? Do you have a Perth business for sale? For more information on how you can get the best results, contact Angela at Advance Business Brokers today.