The internet is a brilliant thing. There are obvious reasons for this: it allows for global communication, there’s a mine of information about everything and of course, cat GIFs.
From a business point of view, it’s opened up brand new ways of working for both small and big businesses. No longer are you restricted to the traditional workplace and practices.
The internet has allowed for small businesses to sprout and grow.
But there is a downside to this.
The market is getting crowded.
The chances are, even if you offer a niche service like wigs for cats or unicorn hire - there’s someone else doing it.
So how can you stand out?
The key to a successful business lies in communication, collaboration and marketing.
And once again, the internet is a goldmine.
Running a small business can be time-consuming. Your time is precious. So why not turn to some of our recommended productivity apps to help nurture and manage your business?
Time management can be tricky in a small business. Productivity can fall if you’re relying on meetings and never-ending email chains to plan the delegation of work. Asana is a cloud-based web and mobile app that helps your team organise, track and manage the workload.
In a recent poll with Asana Premium customers they reported that teams were 1.45 times more efficient.
By allowing tasks to be delegated and managed it reduces the risk of tasks being duplicated and reduces the need for emails and meetings - all adding a nice boost to your efficiency.
There’s also no chance of losing track of your deadlines - Asana will send handy reminders about any looming targets.
And that’s not all, Asana can integrate with a number of other apps, including Google Drive, Slack and Dropbox - so it’s easier than ever to collaborate and communicate.
Do you remember what a big part of your life MSN or AIM messengers were as a teenager? It’s time to meet the business version.
Slack is another amazing tool for reducing email chains and meetings - the instant messenger will reduce time waiting for email replies or a meeting room to become free.
But it’s not just a messaging service, it’s a digital workspace. It allows you to create a number of public and private channels to help you keep your work organised. And there’s also the tiny matter of full integration with other apps such as Asana (above), Google Drive and Zendesk.
It’s also a nice way to connect with your colleagues - you can have channels to talk about your lunch, share GIFs or videos. It can be as formal or informal as you make it.
And a happy team is a productive team.
G Suite For Business
If you’re looking for an adaptable and easy to access office suite, then G Suite is the one.
Whatever your views are on Google, there’s no denying they’re changing the digital landscape and opening up new opportunities and tools for businesses.
G Suite is a range of tools utilising cloud storage to allow for real time collaborative viewing and editing. And the only requirement for access is the internet and a browser. So you can share documents between colleagues, clients and suppliers without ever having to worry about compatibility.
All of your work is instantly stored and backed-up, so you’ll never accidentally send an important file to the trash.
The scope for G Suite is huge and all of their tools can be used in ways that suit your business. Whether that’s using Drive to store and share invoices, style guides or images, or utilising sheets to keep track of work or expenses.
In a crowded market the best way for a small business to stand out is a savvy use of social media. There’s no avoiding the fact that with such ready access to the internet, the public like to engage with and explore brands via social media.
Not only is it a good way to market and gain visibility, it’s a free source of market research.
But, the downside to social media is that it’s prolific. So what can you do to avoid spending all of your time trawling Twitter, focusing on Facebook and inspecting Instagram?
In a word, Hootsuite.
Hootsuite offers easy to use social media management - offering you all of the popular platforms, with just one login and all in one place.
You can browse your interactions, schedule your social media posts and encourage engagement at a time that suits you, while still hitting peak posting times.
Not only that, Hootsuite can send you weekly reports via email to let you know how your business is performing.
It’s the perfect companion to marketing.
Sometimes meetings are inevitable. While there remains a stereotype of bored office types staring at soggy sandwiches while ignoring spreadsheets, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Team meetings are important. They not only allow a point to discuss work, feedback and plans of action, but they’re key in building successful and supportive working relationships.
So, how best to keep a meeting efficient and useful? Zoom.
Zoom is a cloud meeting app that allows you to connect with your colleagues via voice or video chat.
If you work with a remote team (and you should, here’s our reasons why: The Benefits Of Remote Working), then Zoom is invaluable.
Zoom is easy to use, accessible to all and free. And even better? The free version can increase productivity. There’s a 40 minute time limit on meetings, which means you need to be succinct.
Evernote is an amazing organisational tool - think of it like a digital filing cabinet, personal diary and project management system all in one.
Using cloud software to allow for easy storage and sharing, Evernote is a tool for creating, organising and storing various media files.
Pictures, documents, voice notes. It can take it all. It’s a one-stop for all of your storage.
Never again will you misplace paperwork, lose time emailing yourself or storing files on USB - just move it to Evernote and move on with your workday.
Whether you want to increase productivity, help your teams to gel or become a social media master - there’s an app for it.
Whether you choose just one or a combination, they’re sure to give a nice boost to your efficiency.