5 Tools to Organize and Streamline Your Business
As business owners, you have a lot to do each day. You might have a small team, but they might not all be in the same location. It might be just yourself and some consultants you need to communicate with. Finding a CRM, project management system and communication system that all works together, on a budget, may seem impossible. At H & E Marketing Solutions we are a virtual team of several contractors that are utilized in order to complete projects. We thought we’d share the tools we use to keep projects moving and communication strong. It’s important to note that we are not paid by any of these companies, just love them and wanted to share.
Google has an amazing solution for business owners that covers email, task management, scheduling and document collaboration and sharing. A G Suite account gives you all the basic tools you need for your business. We utilize many of its features to manage projects.
Google Drive holds all our important documents from contracts to brand assets to notes about training sessions we have taken. By holding it there, changes that are made can be tracked and everyone is working off of the same document.
By using multiple inboxes in Gmail, we keep things organized by project or deadlines. This photo was taken from the HubSpot blog that can give you step by step instructions on setting it up for yourself.
There are several other benefits of using Gmail that extend through the other tools we use. It also offers a lot of flexibility in how you use it (ex Microsoft Outlook, iMail).
The Google Calendar gives you a lot of options for keeping your team together. You can see the availability of other team members so you know you won’t double book, someone.
At the time of this post, a Google business account was only $5/month per email address. This is a great rate for peace of mind knowing your email and documents are safely stored and secure.
When trying to grow your business, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is really important. It can help you track leads and communicate with other team members about actions that have been taken with a potential or existing client. The tool we love is Hubspot. Not only is it free – but the tools they give you are really robust.
We integrate Hubspot into our WordPress website to track where people landed on our website and what pages they visited. It also tracks our emails in Gmail so we can go back through the history and see the communication. If you’re generating proposals, you can also track what pending deals and calculate your close rate.
Finally, the tool we love is the scheduler. By syncing your Google Calendar you can have a link to share with people needing to schedule meetings.
Keeping track of projects can be difficult. Trello is an amazing tool where you can create boards and lists to manage your to-dos and priorities. Drag and drop functionality allows you to move cards down to the next column to stay organized.
At H & E Marketing Solutions we have several boards we utilize. Our master website build card holds all the intake, plugins, and tasks that we go through when doing a build. We simply have to duplicate the master board and we’re ready to go with each new client. We also have a “To-Do” board that is updated daily. Each week we communicate our big 5 priorities and then it’s broken down into daily and weekly tasks. We can assign each task to a person, communicate within the card, and add attachments. It connects to Google Drive, Dropbox, and many other apps to easily include the documents, photos and more that you need. Check out the Trello Inspiration blog to see how it might benefit your business.
If you’re struggling with getting your different systems to talk to each other then check out Zapier. They have integrations for pretty much EVERY software out there. For example, we have a Zapier integration that allows me to tag an email in Gmail and it will automatically add it to a Trello card. You can also have it automatically create a new contact in your email when someone is added to your CRM. The opportunities are endless! It can be a bit tricky to figure out at times, depending on the programs you use, but they have amazing support and a great blog with explanations.
Knowing where you are spending your time can be really helpful. Whether it’s spending time on tasks that don’t drive business or seeing how much time you actually spend on client work to track your ROI, it’s important to know where the time goes. We track our time using Toggl. With a Chrome plugin, cell phone app, and web dashboard, it takes the work out of time tracking. You also get weekly reports and can search by project, team member and more.
Whatever the nature of your business is, having systems in place that can help you manage your time better and get your work done more efficiently is important. These are some of our favorite tools, but we’d love to know yours! What do you use to keep your business humming along?