Starting a new business is a very exciting process…and it can be very stressful. Most new business owners start out wearing most, if not all, of the hats in the office, and staying on top of everything is overwhelming. One thing every successful business owner needs to learn is how to take advantage of simple, effective productivity tools to help them get more done in less time, and rest assured that all the bases are covered.
- Invoicing Made Easy – Freshbooks is a small business accounting software that makes it easy to track billable hours and projects, manage invoicing, and keep track of expenses. The cloud-based app offers secure access from your desktop and mobile devices, so you can add information as you work, wherever you are. It's also easier to generate reports and send the relevant information to your tax preparer later. The software is simple and intuitive, and if you ever need help, the customer service support is excellent.
- A Friendly Task Master – For task management and project management, Simpleology lives up to its claims that it's, "easy enough for elementary school students yet powerful enough for Fortune 500 executives." It helps you get more done with daily training on time management topics, and convenient features like lists and trackers, project scheduling with delegation and reporting functions, programmable "robots" that can automate repetitive tasks, and optional browser plug-ins that remind you to stay on task instead of procrastinating online.
- Juggle Appointments – Scheduling and tracking appointments can turn into a major time-sucker, if you let it. Assistant.to is a program that integrates with Gmail to request and schedule one-on-one meetings by email. The app monitors your calendar to prevent you from double-booking your time, automatically calculates time zone differences to avoid confusion, sends automatic notifications when a meeting is scheduled or re-scheduled, and it also remembers previous meeting locations to help you schedule future meetings more quickly.
- Tame Your Email – Boomerang is a scheduler and tickler program that works with your Gmail account. Write routine emails and schedule them in Boomerang to be sent out later; the smart calendar understands input like "send next Monday." If you receive an email that requires future action, click a button and Boomerang will archive the message until you need to take action, then bring it back to your attention. It can also remind you to follow up on sent emails that don't receive a reply, and it also works with Gmail on your mobile devices, so it's easy to keep things in order, even when you're on the road.
- Automatic Mileage Tracking – If your business includes time spent on the road, you've probably already discovered what a pain it can be to track your mileage. Everlance automatically detects your trips and logs mileage in a format that is IRS-approved, and can be exported as a .csv or .pdf file, so whether you're tracking mileage for client reimbursement or for tax deductions, you're covered. The cloud-based app lets you add notes to your trips and categorize them, and it supports tracking multiple jobs and vehicles, so it's easy to keep everything organized. There's also a receipt-tracking feature that lets you photograph receipts for parking, bridge tolls, and other expenses that relate to each trip.
Time is a business owner's greatest asset. The right software can often make short work of othewise tedious tasks, allowing you to focus your time on your core strengths. For tasks or skills that need hands on attention, consider outsourcing talent for your business.