The defining point in my journey as a small business owner was realising that the most valuable resource I have is my time. When we first get started in business we often try to do everything ourselves. We spend hours learning new skills and doing bits and pieces that could have easily been outsourced, instead of focusing on our core operations and strengths. I don’t think I became a fully fledged entrepreneur until I understood that I had to delegate as much as possible, to the point of being ruthless with my time. Even when it comes to expensive services, it is often cheaper to let the professionals do their jobs, rather than trying to perform the roles we do not have expertise in - they will do it quicker, better and the time we spend on acquiring these skills and undoing our mistakes, can be better put to good use, delivering the service we are great at and generating profits.
However, there is also a lot to be said about learning various aspects of the business and trying various hats on before you delegate the duties to your subordinates or outsource them to other professionals. One thing to remember is that in the meantime, you should try to do them as efficiently as you can, so that the least amount of your time gets wasted. After all, this is the only resource you can not stretch or buy more of and it needs to be used up wisely. So I have complied below a list of tools I have been using on my journey, that have helped me increase my efficiency.
This is the best task manager that I have found. Whether you work on your own, or with the team, it has options for you to organise and manage various to do lists and projects. You can use it on various platforms, including mobile.
When you do a lot of networking, a good CRM is a must. There is no point going out and meeting lots of people, if you are not following up with them. Nimble allows you to manage all your contacts, keep track of deals and organise the data in the most convenient way through tags and lead info, so that you always stay on top of your sales funnels.
This app connects to Nimble (via zapier) and allows you to scan the cards directly to your system. It allows me to save hours of data entry after networking events.
QuickBooks is a real life saver when it comes to the financial side of things. It connects to all my bank accounts and paypal and automatically tracks the transactions. You can scan the receipts into the system and, best of all, it runs in the background of your phone and records your mileage - without you having to remember it at all.
I don’t think I could have worked with my virtual team and various collaborators if it was not for the google apps for work. With various options, such as survive, hangouts, emails, etc, google emulates a real office environment in the cloud. So even when I am away and working from a beach on the other side of the world, I can screen share and video conference with my team and it feels as if we were sitting side by side.
Hootsuite is a must when it comes to social media. It allows you to schedule all your posts in advance, without having to worry or remember to do it during the week.
Hashtags are important, but it is sometimes tough to know what is trending. This tool allows you to look it up in a matter of seconds.
When curating content, you want to make sure you provide only the best information that your target audience will be happy to receive. This tool allows you to search for the best articles on any topic.
Similarly to alltop, this allows you to find content that matters.
Even the best content goes unnoticed without good images. Pixabay has thousands of free images that you can use to help you advertise your business.
This is a dead simple designing tool that helps you add text to your photos and create beautiful invitations or posters for your social media. It has plenty of free templates too.
It’s a great tool that helps you declutter your inbox, by rolling all the newsletters into one daily email.
I know I know, this is not a work tool, but it is my newest find, that has revolutionised my cooking. No more searching for recipes, hunting for ingredients for hours, wasting of food. Your boxes get delivered weekly, with just the right amount of stuff and new exciting recipes. It saves me about 5 hours per week, while still allowing me to cook from scratch with fresh ingredients! Oh, if you use my link or the code: KAT314380 you will get two half price boxes and I will get £15 towards my next order.