I am a (very) small business owner, so I appreciate how valuable time can be to other business owners. For an upcoming speaking engagement I was asked to compile the top five applications I use to run my business smarter and faster. After compiling the list, I realized that this is something I should be sharing with everyone.
Here are the top five applications I use to make my small business run smarter:
1. Google Apps - Google Apps is the generic term for Google Services for businesses. Google Apps hosts my businesses email, calendar, and contacts, allowing my business to have enterprise level functionality for free. I can use any email client I choose, and have all of my information synced on any computer or device while having a full backup copy available in the web interface. The searching function of Google Mail makes finding emails very easy. Google Calendar makes scheduling meetings and sharing your schedule with others very easy.
2. Batchbook - The one lackluster component of Google Apps is the contacts, so I had to find a CRM system that could manage my contacts. Batchbook is the application where I: consolidate all client communication, use notes to keep track where/when I met someone, tag contacts to separate them into groups, etc. Batchbook syncs with my Google Apps account and my email marketing software.
3. Google Voice - I am always on the go, and don’t have a landline phone at my desk. I also don’t want to give out my personal cell phone number to everyone. By giving out my Google Voice number, I can have that one number forwarded to any other phone number where I am reachable, and screen or play a different voicemail message depending on who is calling. My favorite feature of Google Voice is the text and email transcriptions of any voicemail messages I receive.
4. Dropbox - Gone are the days of having just one computer or just working at the office. I can put any file in my Dropbox folder and it will sync across my computers, mobile device, and the web interface. I don’t have to worry about emailing documents to myself or saving them to a flash drive. I just save the document and it is synced. Dropbox also saves revisions to files, so if you make a mistake and overwrite a document, you can restore previous versions. An often forgotten feature of Dropbox is that you can share specific folders with others, which is a great way to share large files with others.
5. Evernote - Evernote is my brain. That is where I keep all the “little things” I will need to find again. I have “notebooks” for things like: Client notes, Meeting notes, login information, timesheets, websites that inspire me, blog post ideas, restaurants I would like to visit, recipes, etc. I keep my information secure using SSL security to login, and I encrypt text in confidential notes. Evernote has web application, desktop applications for Windows and Mac, and applications for iPhone, Blackberry and Android.
Those are mine, what are yours?
Photo credit: Esthr