The majority of small businesses close their doors within five years of starting up.
The primary reason for failure? Lack of experience and business management, of which productivity and time management is key.
It’s hard to be good at everything.
Not only do entrepreneurs need to be pro at their core product or offering, they also need to don many hats, like marketing, finance and accounting, HR, customer service, management and innovation.
And then, not only does the entrepreneur need to sustain the business, he also needs to grow it.
Now, 55 per cent of small businesses say that one of their greatest challenges is getting everything done. When you consider that most small businesses are owner-operated, if your ducks are not all lined up in a row, you’re going to hit problems or be amongst the majority of small business failure statistics.
So using productivity tools to maximise your time is a must, because you have to focus on your priorities and streamline and automate your business processes as far as possible.
There is no shortage of online productivity tools, but all four of the tools in this post were developed specifically for small businesses, and as such, if not free, are at least affordable and payable monthly.
1. ClickMeeting – audio and video conference
ClickMeeting is first-rate online meeting and webinar software. Use it to conduct webinars, teleconferencing, online meetings and presentations.
Using this productivity tool decreases cost, eliminates effort and maximizes your time because you and your participants are not required to travel for meetings or pay for fuel or beverages, like you would for an offline meeting.
- File and screen sharing
- Whiteboard presentations
- Meeting recording and viewing
- Web based and Android app
- Integrates with Google Apps and Twitter
Test it for free for 30 days without using a credit card.
Starts from $30pm (up to 25 participants).
2. WorkflowMax – time tracking and invoices
An end-to-end time tracking and invoicing solution, WorkflowMax handles everything starting from leads and quotes, to timesheets, job tracking, project management, documents, purchase orders, invoicing, reporting, and seamless integration with Xero Accounting software.
This productivity tool is most frequently used by businesses in the creative, marketing, architecture, business, engineering, consulting, IT, building, and construction industries.
- Quote templates
- Generate quotes
- Timesheets and job management
- Employee scheduling
- Project management and collaboration
- Job costing
- Manage outgoings with purchase orders
- Send invoices
- Custom business insights reports
- Track leads, proposals and sales
- Responsive on all devices
- Client portal
- Integrates with other apps like Salesforce, Zendesk, Freshbooks, etc.
- When integrated with Xero, sync accounting and job management
Test it for free for 14 days without using a credit card.
Starts from $15pm.
3. Cyfe: All-in-one dashboard
Cyfe is an all-in-one dashboard app for analysing and tracking data from other online applications and software, like Google Analytics and Adsense, Salesforce, GetResponse, Facebook, WordPress, etc.
Cyfe saves a lot of time because with this productivity tool, you don’t need to log in and switch between systems for monitoring.
Use pre-built widgets to monitor social media campaigns, processes, and even IT assets. Widgets pull data from CRM software, FreshBooks, WordPress, Webinar software, payment systems like PayPal and Stripe, plus Google services like AdWords, AdSense, Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Gmail, Trends, and Calendar.
- Competitor research
- One dashboard for all online accounts that can be tracked and monitored
- Dashboard sharing
- Can be viewed in TV mode to motivate teams
- Historical data for any date ranges
- Dashboard customisation
It has a free account option which does not expire. Stick with the free plan or upgrade at any time.
Forever free option, but you can upgrade to premium for $19pm.
4. Asana – collaboration and workplace management
A robust task and project management productivity tool for team collaboration and communication that eliminates the use of email. With Asana, you can set up projects, and tasks within projects. Add staff or clients to tasks and projects to keep everyone up to date.
- Real-time changes
- Multiple workspaces
- Activity feed
- Email reminder notifications
- Priorities, goals and due dates
- Create projects and tasks
- Project permissions
- Custom views and calendars
- Different views
- Task commenting
- Add assignees to tasks
- Add attachments to tasks
Asana has a forever free option which you can use for testing purposes.
Asana is free for up to four members, and then costs from $21pm.
I’ve listed some of the best online productivity tools available, but I am positive that if you scrutinise all your business processes, you will be able to further toss out unnecessary and manual time consuming work by finding tools that do other things to boost your efficiency even further.