How to choose productivity tools that get the job done

Every business has to manage information.

The Essentials
Contacts
Calendars / diaries
Email

The Usuals
Invoices
Tasks / To Do Lists

The Should Haves
Social Media
Time Tracking
Shared space for Team

The Advanced
Ticketing system
Gant Chart
Project Management system
Real time collaboration tools

Although every business needs to use some kind of tool like Outlook or Google Apps to manage The Essentials, choosing the best productivity tools depends on the way you run your business.

Ask yourself
What do you need?
List your business processes, quotes, sales order, time tracking, invoices, etc.  Can the tool live up to your needs?
Will the tool be adequate if your business grows? Can it handle the extra data?
What information did you have to waste time searching for in the last three months?
Will this tool make it easier for you to find information you usually waste time searching for?

Sense Check
If you have a system that works and gets the job done quickly, ask yourself whether it’s actually worth changing it. I’ve seen companies with very simple processes, but they have been implementing them for so long, they run efficiently.

I’ve worked with clients who feel more comfortable handwriting sales orders and diary appointments. I input the handwritten data into their productivity tool.  Don’t fight what you like!

Fight what you don’t like. I’ve seen companies with teams of people who are all supposed to record their time spent on client projects. Every month, time is wasted pulling together these timesheets. Invoices are sent late, because the staff procrastinate handing in their timesheets. They haven’t kept accurate records in a centralised system, and the whole process is painful for everyone involved.

Using a simple project management, time tracking and invoicing tool like Paymowould make life so much easier. There’s even a mobile app. No excuses for the team to not record the exact billable time they work on each project.

Get the right tool(s)
The hard part is deciding what you need. Try to find the right tools or combination of tools that will stop you from inputting the same data twice.

If you don’t have administrative procedures for you business, start small. Focus on the goal of centralising your data in one place. You should be able to look up a client and easily find important emails, documents and tasks related to the client.

Best all-rounder  – Podio

CRM for small businesses
For its simplicity, I love icomplete.   Plus, the team there are really nice and always helpful. (This is what I recommend for small businesses, but it’s really just a simply designed CRM with VOIP, email marketing and SMS marketing as add-ons.)

The Productivity Holy Grail
We’re lucky to have so many great looking and slick tools to choose from. The difficulty is deciding on and implementing administrative processes and sticking to them.

Running a business is not made easy by the volume of data that has to be managed. Using productivity tools help guide you toward improving your processes.

Once you get a taste of the time saved and goals achieved by using productivity tools, you’ll start your quest for the Productivity Holy Grail. . .the perfect Productivity Tools and Processes for your business.

Not sure where to start? Call 0207 183 5966
Tell us about your business. We’ll give you some complimentary advice on your administrative procedures and do our best to recommend a productivity tool.
(No catch. Just help.)