7 Digital Tools For Small Businesses
When starting out in business, you can easily lose hours by working hard but not necessarily smart. We have always worked with a network of talented people and clients which requires us to work remotely on projects at times. There are a couple of digital tools that we have discovered over the past two years that have streamlined our processes, saved us time and made day-to-day work life much smoother! Hope you find something of use - after all, sharing is caring!
In the beginning, we did A LOT of our tasks manually - Designing and building documents (Proposals, Contracts, Invoices). It was extremely time-consuming, so when we came across 17hats.com (thanks Shane Prunty Films), it was a revelation! This all-in-one system allows you to manage your small business in one place - from projects, contracts and invoicing to time tracking, workflows and bookkeeping. Everything in one place, available online so you can access from anywhere. Amazing.
2. Google Drive
One of the best things about owning your own business is the ability to manage your own schedule and work from anywhere. Google Drive has really helped us with this by remotely housing files and allowing for simple file sharing. Google Drive comes as part of G-Suite (a set of intelligent apps including Gmail, Docs, Drive and Calendar to connect the people in your company, no matter where in the world they are) or is available by monthly subscription. Create folders, upload content, add Users to collaborate and share things safely and securely.
3. Google Docs & Sheets
Okay, we might be coming across a little fan-girly for Google, but a day doesn't go by without us using Google Docs or Google Sheets (Google Slides is good too, we just don't use it as much). The best feature is that the files are edited in real-time, meaning updates are immediate. No need to email across the most recent 'edited file', which can often cause a lot of confusion and can get messy. Create task lists with clients and mark things off, leave comments as they happen. Again you can add permissions for 'read only', 'edit' or 'comment'. You can access the most recent files from anywhere on any device, the future is here! Google Docs and Google Sheets are FREE too. We love free stuff.
This may seem like a random one but owning your own business also means you can play your own music, out loud. This can get complicated the more staff you add to the office. In the beginning, however, it's a great way to build morale and create atmosphere. Danielle and I used to collaborate on Spotify playlists like 'Motivation' or 'Working On The Weekend' to get us through particularly tough days. Now after two years, listening back to these songs brings back a lot of nostalgia and reminds us how far we've come. Music is the greatest communication in the world and Spotify makes it accessible for everyone.
Slack is the foundation for teamwork - it simplifies team communication, giving everyone a shared workspace where conversations are organised and accessible. You can create a team, then organise specific channels within to make sure only the people who are needed on a certain topic have access. This cuts out a lot of white noise and time wastage. It saves a lot of time that could be spent searching through email conversations and allows for direct communication.
Slack can also be used as a platform to communicate with a broader network. Joining relevant Slack Communities can open valuable liners of communication.
There is absolutely no excuse for bad grammar anymore! Grammarly is a FREE grammar checker, that plugs into your browser to make sure you never make a spelling or grammatical error again! It's correcting me even as I write this. With brands producing more content than ever before, this tool really helps maintain high standards across all platforms.
7. JPEG Mini
It's always a catch 22 trying to keep image file sizes low while maintaining image quality at the same time. Search engines will penalise heavy or slow websites but low-resolution imagery can be pixelated and potentially harmful to brand reputation. JPEG Mini puts your images on a diet, allowing you to keep image quality while compressing the file size - great for blog posts and website content.