The Time Saving Tools & Apps Every Small Business Owner Needs

The Time Saving Tools & Apps Every Small Business Owner Needs

When you’re a kid, it can feel like time is stretched out, never-ending, slow like honey. Especially when you’re grounded or waiting for school to end. But as adults, we don’t have that problem. Time just flies. That’s especially true for business owners, who have the herculean task of getting three days worth of work done in a single 24 hour period.

It would be a lot cooler if we were here to share a time-slowing or stopping secret with you — and if we did, this post would probably go viral — but we’re realists. We know we can’t alter our reality or yours, but we can certainly make use of time-saving tools, tactics, and apps to make it seem like we’re slowing and stretching time. And that’s good enough for us.

So what are some of the best time-saving tools, tactics, and apps for business owners?

Managing your business & your customer data

Running a business is never easy, but with the right CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, it can be easier. Tools like Housecall Pro and Jobber allow you to easily manage your team, send quotes, schedule, send invoices, and get paid. Both also sync with Quickbooks, saving you the extra step of adding the numbers after a job is done. If you’re ready to save hundreds of hours and free up some time, you need a good CRM, so check these guys out.

Keeping your eyes on the numbers

Every growing business needs accounting software that will grow with it. That’s where Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and other similar tools come in. Easily track income and expenses, send estimates, send invoices and accept payments, organize receipts, manage bills, track time, and more. If you’ve been living spreadsheet to spreadsheet, save yourself time and headache by switching to accounting software. Plans are affordable and there’s something for every business, regardless of size.

Managing company files, data, and SOPs, while using a professional company email address

GSuite is Google’s solution to data and storage management, but it also allows you to create multiple “@yourcompany.com” email addresses so any customer-facing employees can send professional looking emails to customers (for example, you@yourcompany.com or sales@yourcompany.com). You can also create group mailing lists, manage mobile devices (even erase data), and store important company documents that your team needs access to on the go.

Communicating with your team

Communication only gets harder with each employee added, but with the right tools, team communication can be simplified. Need to alert your whole team to a change or issue or create specific groups? Even if you’re out on the job and don’t have time to take off your gloves and type it all up, there are ways to get the message out there to everyone you need to communicate with. For text-based communication, there are apps like Slack and GroupMe, and for voice-based communication with the option for text, try Voxer. All three allow you to share photos and videos and communicate with groups or individuals, but Voxer and GroupMe also allow you to share your location, which is a bonus for service area businesses.

Managing HR & benefits

Everyone knows HR can be a real headache, and the more employees you have, the harder things get. But with GoCo, an all-in-one HR platform, it’s easy to manage payroll, time off, benefits, etc. You’ll have all of your employee information in one place, and there’s even a built-in compliance component so you know your butt is covered.

Managing team and personal tasks, lists, and projects

No one wants to micromanage, but every business owner wants to know what’s getting done, when, and by whom. That’s where project management platforms like Trello, Wunderlist, Teamwork, and Monday come in. Trello allows you to create boards, lists, and cards, and is great for visualizing where you are in a process and what’s next. Wunderlist is great for creating and assigning lists and tasks, and setting reminders for yourself or others. You can also add due dates, comments, and tags. With Teamwork, you can create projects, assign and check off tasks, comment, and view workflow by individual, due date, and project. You can also set it up so that email notifications go out to the responsible individual every time a task is assigned to them. Monday is similar, but what makes this great is that you can view things six different ways, so no matter how you prefer to conceptualize projects in your mind, Monday can accommodate.

The best news? All of these platforms are accessible from your phone, desktop, or tablet, so no matter where you are, you can see what’s going on and what needs to be done.

Managing your time

Need to buckle down and spend some time in the office? Wondering how long your day-to-day tasks take? While some of the tools we’ve already listed have time-tracking features, if you’re looking for a tool that does that and that alone, try Pomodoro Tracker, Tomato Timers, Toggl, or TomatoTimer. All of these apps are based on the Pomodoro Technique for productivity, and break down work into intervals with short breaks. Great for hunkering down, focusing, and getting higher-quality work done. Plus, they help you get an idea of how long each task takes, so you can better plan and schedule in the future.

Managing social posts

A lot of business owners hate the social media aspect of business management, but you’ve got to be where people are looking and engage with your customers and potential customers. That means you need to be regularly posting on the social media channels that make sense for your business.

But figuring out what you’re going to post on social and making sure it gets scheduled and posted doesn’t have to be super time-consuming. Tools like Canva make it easy to create graphics and find photos for social posts, and Hootsuite and Buffer make scheduling, posting, and analyzing performance/engagement simple and fast. So if you’ve been overwhelmed trying to manage social media in-house, rest assured, there’s help.

Managing trip details and hotel arrangements for conventions, expos, and that dream vacay

The devil’s in the details, and whether you’re trying to keep track of your own travel arrangements or the arrangements of several people from your team, it’s easy to miss something, lose something, and get overwhelmed. Take the stress out of things by using a tool like Tripit. Simply forward all of your booked arrangements to plans@tripit.com and receive a master itinerary that’s accessible from any device. The pro version even allows you to receive real-time flight alerts, locate alternate flights, find out if a better seat is available, get fare refund notifications, share plans, and track rewards. Forget about printing all the details and fumbling through your bag to find the information you need. Keep it all together with Tripit.

Managing your knowledge and growth

As a business owner, it can be hard to find the time to invest in learning and growing as an individual and a leader on top of everything else. And it can also be hard to ask your team to invest in growth when they already have packed schedules. But thanks to podcasts and apps like Audible, it’s easy to learn and grow on the go.

Driving to or from a job? Sitting in traffic? You and your team can make use of this otherwise wasted time by listening to an audiobook or podcast and adding to your knowledge. Now, there are no more excuses for why you didn’t finish that business book. You can even pay for Audible memberships for employees as incentives!

Managing follow-ups and open estimates

While CRMs like Housecall Pro and Jobber can help you send invoices and quotes, you still have to manually take care of the follow-up. That means either setting aside time every week to go through the stack of open estimates, make calls, and send emails, or just hoping that anyone who’s interested will eventually call to schedule. Neither is a very good option, and you could end up leaving some big money on the table if you’re doing things that way.

Closing Commander is a system that automatically follows up with every customer you add up to 7 times, and makes it easy to track opens, responses, and won bids all in one dashboard. The best part? All emails come from and go to your business email address, so nothing looks automated or spammy, and you won’t miss a single message. Save time, close more estimates, and know the follow-up is getting done.

Now Go Forth & Save Time

Well, that about wraps it up! We could, of course, make this list longer, but this is all about time-savings, so why would we? Thanks for sticking it out with us, and let us know in the comments what your favorite time-saving tools and tactics are!

Great Apps For Small Business Owners

Great Apps For Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, any tools that can make your life easier, streamline communication, or save you time are pure gold. Thankfully, developers are always working on new apps to address some of your biggest challenges. Here are some of the apps we recommend to business owners and what they can do for you:hand-holding-a-phone-with-app-icons

Google My Business — With the Google My Business app, you can manage your GMB information, respond to customer reviews, share photos, and get insights into how you’re performing online, all from your phone or tablet.

Evernote — You don’t always have a notebook in hand when brilliance strikes, but you probably have your phone nearby. With the Evernote app, you can easily jot down ideas; organize notes; create to-do lists; save business cards; and scan, store, and organize important contracts and documents. And since it’s all right there on your phone, you can reference it anytime.

Google Drive — Like Evernote, the Google Drive app allows you to create documents, store them, and share with others for collaboration. Want team feedback on a new direct mail flyer? Want your team to be able to easily pull up contracts, Google sheets, or other important documents? Google Drive makes it possible.

Slack — Slack is a great tool for real-time communication with your team, no matter where you are. Within Slack, you can easily direct message anyone on your team, but you also have the ability to create channels, like a general channel where you can post important information that’s relevant to the whole team, or project/topic specific channels. You can also pin documents within channels (Google Drive integrates with Slack, as does Asana, Salesforce, Dropbox, and others), and the search function makes it easy to look up previous conversations using a keyword. Another great thing about Slack is that you can select when you want to be notified: when conversation happens in any channel, when someone messages you directly, or only when you’re mentioned in conversation with an @.

Voxer Walkie Talkie Messenger— Voxer is a messaging app that allows you to have real-time private and group chats in a walk talkie style. Unlike walkie talkies, with Voxer, you can choose to listen and respond immediately or wait until a better time. You can also have your voice messages transcribed to text so you can read them, and easily share your location, photos, videos, and dropbox files with others.

Messenger/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter — Your customers want to be able to reach you through their preferred method and at their preferred time, and many are now using social media to do so. Customers also want quick responses, which is why we recommend getting Messenger app, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the apps of any other social media platforms you have a business profile on. With the apps, you can make sure no messages, comments, or tweets that need to be responded to go unanswered.

Yelp for Business Owners— Whether you love or hate Yelp, many customers and potential customers still use the app to learn more about you, review your business, and get in touch with you. With the Yelp app, you can easily manage your profile, track activity, add photos, respond to reviews, and answer customer messages and questions quickly, right from your phone.

Facebook Ads Manager — Running ads on Facebook? The Facebook Ads Manager app allows you to easily check in on ad performance, create new campaigns, and stay up-to-date on important info and updates. With Facebook ads, time is money, so being able to check performance and learn about potential problems or concerns quickly and easily is important.

AdWords Express — Running ads through Google AdWords express? With the AdWords Express app, you can quickly create and edit ads, set ad goals, and track ad performance right from your phone.

Square Point of Sale (POS) — The Square app makes it easy for you to accept payment for a job, regardless of whether your customer is paying with a debit card, a credit card, Apple Pay, or a chip card. All major credit cards are accepted (2.75% per swipe) and money is deposited fast. Within the app, you can set up products, services, photos, and prices, and at the POS, your customer simply signs directly on your phone or tablet. All you need is the Square reader and the app and you can kiss checks goodbye.

QuickBooks Accounting — Let’s face it, as a business owner, you have to know your numbers. Looking for an app that allows you to create and send invoices, capture photos of receipts, manage cash flow and expenses, and quickly view your P&Ls? The QuickBooks app is it.

Your Business Banking App — Most banks these days have apps that allow you to transfer money from one account to another, view past transactions, track direct debits and direct deposits, and view bank account totals quickly and easily. Many also allow you to quickly deposit money without ever stepping foot in the bank. Simply snap a photo of the check and hold onto it until it clears. Whichever bank you use for business, get the app on your phone or tablet so you can keep your eye on your money and say in the know.

Closing Commander For business owners, time is money. But have you thought about all the money you’re losing out on because you don’t have the time to follow up on every open estimate? It may take up to 7 touches for a customer to move forward after receiving an estimate, and that’s a lot of work for an already busy business owner or service team. Enter Closing Commander. This app makes following up and closing sales easy. It’s automated, personalized, and affordable. Some users are seeing more than 34% success rate in closing more of these open estimates. Check it out!

What are some must-have apps you rely on? Let us know in the comments below!

Our Favorite GIFs

Our Favorite GIFs

We send a lot of GIFs to each other on Slack, so we’ve decided to share some of our favorite and most frequently used GIFs with you. Enjoy.