As a small business owner, you strive to find ways to maximize every penny. From savings on supplies to cutting payroll costs by asking your loyal employees to double down, you squeeze out any possible savings to help your business continue to grow. In efforts to slash costs, small business owners (especially new business owners) sometimes forget about increasing productivity by cutting down on time wasted during the workday. Employees who are more productive will obviously be able to make greater contributions every day.
Today, I am sharing 8 productivity tools for small business owners. These tools will help your entire team become more productive for a very low cost investment. That’s the kind of ROI you should be able to get behind!
Project management tool Trello, is a web-based app that’s perfect for getting your team all on task for any sized project. Whether your team is spread across an office building or stretched across the world, you can get started for free. It’s user-friendly and allows you to set up checklists, assign workload, and send comments or feedback directly to your team. Think of it as a virtual dry-erase board. Just as you can erase and move project tasks from one column to the next with ease on a whiteboard, you can do so with Trello. However, your employees don’t all need to waste time coming to the whiteboard to take a peek at the project status.
If you haven’t tried Google’s G-Suite yet, it’s worth a look. Although there is a small per-user cost, it gives you access to sharing calendars, documents, spreadsheets, video chatting and send private messages. It’s like Google Drive but with more features. For example, you can connect your company’s domain to Gmail, which virtually all users will know how to use. Perhaps one of the best features is the automatic backup of data, so no more excuses about missing documents from your team.
Do you have a need to frequently share files with clients? Dropbox allows file sharing without the need for your employees to wait for files to upload when they are sending or download when they are receiving attachments. Dropbox is cloud-based, giving your clients instant access to files once they are dropped into the box.
How can your team fix time-wasting habits if they don’t know they exhibit them? RescueTime addresses this issue. Have your employees install this app on their computers and let them tell it which websites and apps are for legitimate work purposes (Google apps, for example) and which are for their personal use (social media, perhaps). RescueTime will create a report at the end of the day showing them how they spent their day. It’s an eye-opener for conscientious employees who didn’t realize the time they wasted! Pretty cool, huh?
Slack is an app that will streamline your communications. Put an end to miscommunications and excuses that your team didn’t get their emails. No more need for to waste time sifting through your email to re-send emails that your staff missed reading! You can organize conversations by topics, which are called channels. These channels are totally flexible according to your needs. Team members can join or drop from conversations as the scope of the project changes. Plus, they can easily search for conversations with a search tool. One great benefit of this tool is that your team can upload files from Google Drive or Dropbox, if needed.
Do you have an employee managing social media manually? It’s a big time-killer. It’s really difficult not to get tempted to click on an offer or read a story when you’re on social networks. Plus, the time spend logging in and out of each network manually steals away minutes. Buffer is a super-affordable way to connect your URL to 8 social media channels including Pinterest. You can create a social calendar, create Bitly short links, curate content, and schedule posts from just one place.
Do you have a remote team? Troubleshooting can get sticky when you have a team member who’s great at using web-based tools but not so great at solving any computer problems that may creep up from time to time. With Teamviewer, any team member with an internet connection can allow your IT guru to see about fixing the problem remotely and with a minimum of downtime. While this app is not free, it’s a small price to pay to get your employees back on task quickly when problems do arise.
Some companies hate the idea of using a password manager app while others accept it. The truth is, your employees lose or forget or get locked out of their apps. After all, you’ve instructed them not to write down of keep a physical list of passwords to increase company security. Resetting passwords is an aggravating time-killer. LastPass is a happy medium between your “no recording of passwords” mandate and completely forgotten passwords. This is a free app that stores your employees’ passwords in one place. It prompts them to create one strong, memorable master password into their LastPass account. This is the last password they will need to remember, or at least for as long as they use LastPass.
Some people like to brag that they work smart rather than hard. As a small business owner, you don’t have that luxury. You must work smarter and harder than your larger competitors in order to remain in business and make a living.
Anything that you can do to increase employee productivity will pay off in recovering lost time, right away. However, it has an even bigger impact than you might think. Investing time or money into these productivity tools sends a message to your employees that you do care about making their jobs better. This will make them want to continue to go that extra mile or two for you every day.
And that, my friend, will help your business continue to flourish.