6 Time-Saving Small Business Tools

  • January 15, 2015

    6 Time-Saving Small Business Tools

    As technology puts more and more tools and information at our disposal, doesn’tit seem like life is getting more cluttered and time is even shorter? If your life is overly complicated, it’s time to take a step back and find ways to maximize the time you have.

    1. Browsing, simplified

    Delving into interesting news is one of the highlights of the day for most of us, but finding exactly what interests you can be frustrating, and newsfeeds don’t really address the problem…they are just more clutter. TheNeeds is an app designed to “discover the best of the web based on your interests.”

    Unlike other aggregate news services, TheNeeds offers something entirely new. After you make choices based on what you want to see, the program learns from what you actually read – and factors in your friends’ interests in and what’s popular on social media. As your interests change, your content changes. So you always see what’s most likely to interest you…on a very personal level. Your personal array includes news, articles, music, sports, videos, social posts, or whatever else you’re into.

    You’ll save time by having exactly what you want to see in one familiar tiled display, eliminating the need to search all your favorite sites one by one.

    2. Convenient forms, anywhere

    Paper is so over. If you’re still sending people forms to fill out and waiting for them to be faxed or mailed back, then scanning, filing, giving up valuable office real estate for paper copies…why?

    Canvas is a supercool program that lets you create custom form-based apps for customers or employees to download, fill out, sign and return from any web device.

    Create proposals on the fly, collect employee documents, have customers fill out order forms, attach photos to records, scan barcodes and more. Canvas puts all kinds of documentation at your disposal, no matter where you are.

    Never have to dig through your briefcase for a form or find a signed contract again. Canvas stores it all in the cloud, and you can access it anywhere.

    3. Accounting, done

    Minimize your accounting woes with FreshBooks, an easy and intuitive accounting software. Prepare work estimates, send and track invoices, accept payments, keep track of expenses, run aging reports, and attach photos of receipts for expenses.

    You’ll be able to track billable time and project expenses automatically, without spending tedious time logging individual entries. Creating invoices on the fly is even likely to get your bills paid faster.

    You can also export your data to Quickbooks, so when tax time comes around, you don’t have to take a week off to shuffle through shoeboxes. Your expenses and receipts will already be neatly organized and ready to go. Your accountant will love you.

    4. Network, growing

    Business cards. Everybody needs them, but what to do with them? Did I mention that paper is over? CamCard takes the card out of business cards. It’s an app that scans and enters data from a business card when you snap a picture. Then you can attach notes or photos to the entry to help put a face to the name.

    Exchanging contact info with a new contact has never been this easy. Once you have the details, you can call or email new contacts directly from the app, like an address book.

    Forget collecting a hundred cards and struggling to remember which is which. Or worse, writing a grocery list on the back of an important card and tossing it when you’re done. CamCard lets you search everyone you met at the conference and puts you in touch instantly.

    The best thing? CamCard details are in the cloud. When you change numbers, your contact information is updated for your contacts. And when a contact gets a new job title or changes companies, you get notified. A quick congrats is an easy way to remind contacts of who you are in a no-pressure way.

    5. Communication, fixed

    If sending emails to your customer base or writing up a blurb for a local paper makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Paste your text into EngagerLite from Atomic Reach and the program analyzes your writing, looks for mistakes, and offers suggestions for improvement.

    Way beyond simple spelling and grammar, this free program shows you how to make your writing more dynamic…and tells you whether it’s too academic (or too simple) for your intended audience. So you can quit agonizing over every word and get back to business.

    6.Scheduling, completed

    Even in a small business, employee scheduling can be a nightmare…especially if they all work in shifts. Now where’s that sticky note about a day off, and who is out sick again?

    Findmyshift can help you organize by allowing employees to log in and claim time slots, manage changes, and swap hours – based on permissions you set up. They can access the schedule anytime and from any device, so no excuses about a missed shift because they forgot to write their hours down.

    To make the task even easier, Findmyshift offers drag-and-drop scheduling, different settings for roles (with different permissions), automatic shift reminder notifications, and timesheet reports to help make payroll more manageable.

    A well-stocked virtual toolbox will help you save time, help you stay organized, and quite possibly save your sanity. What are your favorite tools to save time and simplify your workday?

    Image via Shutterstock

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