As a participant in an active freelancers peer group and also as a professional coach, I’m privy to a lot of conversations centered on peoples’ desire to work more efficiently, to streamline administrative tasks, and to spend their time on what they’re most passionate about. The good news is that for just about any small business task, there’s an app for that.
The purpose of this post is to help identify a variety of apps, websites and software packages that may help you to simplify some of the behind-the-scenes work of running your business so that you can focus your energy elsewhere. These are not reviews, and the list is nowhere near comprehensive, but it’s a start. If you know of tools that you love, please share them in the comments section.
And speaking of tools, these are just that – tools designed to help you carry out your work. They can help you to work smarter, not harder. The real work – the blood, sweat and tears of small business; the imagination and ingenuity; the discipline and focus; and making decisions that help you to deliver an exceptional product or service – is up to you…and you’ve got this!
All-in-one business systems
Some of what’s below are stand-alone functions that may meet your particular needs. There’s also the option of using a service that meets multiple administrative needs in one fell swoop. Three that I’ve heard of:
–17hats (Scroll down on the homepage to get an idea of how it works)
–Harvest (Their tag: “Spend less time tracking and more time doing”)
There’s always QuickBooks, the industry standard for years and years. But there are a lot of alternatives these days. Here’s an article on the Top Ten QuickBooks Alternatives. I won’t rehash all of these, but can say that I’ve heard others talk about:
–FreshBooks (also includes invoicing and time tracking)
And there’s also the real deal: hiring an accountant or bookkeeper to help you with one of the most important aspects of your business. Maybe the most important. Look at any list of why small businesses succeed or fail and you’ll quickly ascertain the importance of financial management.
Time tracking and scheduling
–Toggl (they win the award for most interesting homepage)
Project / task management
–Basecamp (Their tag: “Chaos, organized”)
–TaskTime (Mac software – includes billing and time tracking)
–Trello (Scroll down on a board to see what a task “board” might look like)
And, of course, there’s the good old composition notebook, or any other form of pen and paper (here’s an interesting post on organizing said notebook)
Don’t be. Think about which tasks are most essential to build, stabilize, or grow your business. Which tasks would you love to either outsource to others or at minimum have a system or template to help you organize and free up some of your time? Start there. And for any of these, some simple Google searching will help you find reviews that compare and contrast the various tools. So go ahead and get started one step at a time!