We're big believers in using technology to ensure our business is productive and streamlined, and we advise many of our clients about how to do the same. In today's business world, the winners are the companies who can make digital media, mobile technology and apps and cloud based infrastructure work for them - not against them. What does that look like in practice? It looks like hours, days and dollars saved, clients better served, information more easily accessed and your business running as smoothly as possible. It means giving time back to yourself and your team, that used to be wasted on administrative tasks and busy work.
This is a list of some of the best productivity apps out there that can change the way you operate your business and enable you to transform the way you offer services, sell products, and talk to your clients.
Evernote is one of the best apps for teams to use. It enables you to save and share valuable notes and information without falling in danger of losing it, or having key projects and documents fall through the cracks. Evernote can even help your staff stay on top of their paperwork, with the functionality to let them scan and save paper work and receipts from their smartphones. It's available on almost every platform out there, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and Blackberry. What's not to like?
Slack is one of those apps that you never know you need until you start using it. Basically, it's a group messaging app intended for teams and co-workers to help them manage tasks, communicate and cut down on time-wasting meetings. The benefits to your company should be obvious in staff hours alone! Slack has a wide range of addons available, letting users manage budgets, edit documents, save tasks, share calendars, mark-up files - and even order pizza, right from inside the app.
Project management is an area where many businesses can find themselves falling down. It's tough to keep your clients projects moving forward and progressing at the right pace when you're juggling the other areas and issues of your business. A great piece of project management software can be a huge gamechanger and it can mean the difference between happy customers and angry former customers. You can use the simple board based interface to track tasks and share comments and documents. It's used by thousands of companies worldwide.
If you're not fond of the board based system that trello uses, another awesome idea is to start working in Basecamp. Some companies have been able to completely do away with emails and use only Basecamp to keep themselves running. It's in use by organisations as huge and important as NASA - so you can be sure it's of the highest quality. Basecamp also has some great features for managing clients, where you can create a client view and share some selected project elements, due dates and task lists with them.
This is an extremely simple task managing tool, with great team functions and features. It's a Microsoft product, and it integrates well with their software. Like Evernote, Wunderlist is on almost every platform, and it's a reliable, streamlined app that you can use to stay on track and keep focused on your priorities. It's not as fully realised as a tool like Basecamp, but it has enough in its favour to make the list!
If you're running a small team of 1-5 users, Insightly is a must have. It's a CRM - customer relationship management - application that lets you track, manage, communicate with and understand your entire client list. You can run reports to learn almost anything about your clients, which is a major help when you're doing any kind of marketing. Beyond that, you can track leads, opportunities and sales systems to make sure you're bringing in the right business.
This is a more expensive option than Insightly. Where Insightly is going to be free for a small team, Salesforce starts at $25 every month for each person using the system. That's a trade off, sure - but you're getting access to a whole world of addons and applications that can increase the power of your CRM. One of the best of these is Salesforce IQ - a platform that is so smart it can almost talk to your customers for you.
This is an app for businesses who are already pretty entrenched in Microsoft's systems. Dynamics is going to be the best app for you to use if your staff are Microsoft Office users, and you're ready to move deeper into their territory. It has the power of Salesforce, with a little of Microsoft's own secret sauce in the form of its different modules and packages. It's highly productive and well worth the cost.
Keeping in touch with clients is difficult. Sometimes, you need to send out mass emails to your list, or carry out marketing activities, or even just inform your clients about changes or news from your business. So how do you do it? For many companies, Mailchimp is the answer because it's the easiest way to send out beautifully designed email newsletters and track the analytics and data from them. You can learn who opened your emails, where they clicked, and even how many times they read your message.
Without a full time web developer or designer on your staff, a tool like Instapage can help you get gorgeous web pages online in no time at all. You can build landing pages that let you market to potential customers, highlight individual products, or share special offers. The ready made templates are easy to work with and modify, ensuring that you'll put your best foot forward and keep your business looking sharp and professional.
Some of these apps are tough to implement, but at Charltons we certainly have the expertise and knowledge you'll need to get started. We're committed to technology in our practice, and we invest a lot of our time into ensuring that our clients needs are met too. Whatever apps and tech you end up using, we'd love to learn more!