Many entrepreneurs devote their time to advertising and marketing in hopes of fast growth. The real secret to lasting success is to focus on productivity in all your operations. Finding ways to improve productivity will build a better return on investment to fuel growth.
Here are seven invaluable tools for increasing productivity.
Google’s G Suite is a set of productivity tools allowing you to create and share documents online. The free version is a perfect starter platform for new companies. It includes Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and works seamlessly with Gmail and Google Drive, both offering free accounts
G Suite helps you accomplish office tasks and promotes team collaboration as your business expands. At a low per-user monthly cost you can utilize a wider range of tools by upgrading to Basic, Business, or Enterprise versions.
2. Office 365
Microsoft’s Office 365 has all the familiar apps like Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Word, plus much more. You can create quality presentations, documents, and more to share and edit online. It’s easy to learn and use for anyone experienced with prior releases.
Office 365 is designed from the ground up to be a cloud-based solution. It’s a complete digital ecosystem for numerous tasks that works just as well offline.
There’s also a mobile version for tablets and smartphones. Microsoft gives you access to Office 365 on a subscription-based service which now provides three different business version. Though similar in use to G-Suite, Office 365 offers even more tols and options.
The cloud storage service Dropbox is one of the leaders in the industry. It’s become known for both ease of use and reliability. If you need not an array of applications, but a fast and simple online solution for sharing and managing files, Dropbox is ideal.
You can get a free Dropbox account with a 2 GB limit, but a paid subscription to the Professional version includes a healthy 1 TB of storage for needs like easy file backup.
Slack is a communications app that makes collaboration on team projects easier. This is an efficient messaging app that eliminates the need for the constant email traffic between your team members.
It offers audio and video as well as text communications, guest logins, and two-factor identification for greater security. Slack works with a number of third-party applications.
The Standard and Plus versions require a paid monthly subscription, There’s a free Slack edition as well.
5. Google Analytics
This is the premier choice for web analytics, in part because it’s free to use, with a life-time membership for small businesses.
Google Analytics has gotten faster and more flexible in its range of business intelligence features for both desktop and mobile users. This includes funnel visualizations, dashboards, and a range of options for running impressive reports.
What makes Analytics so robust is that it uses Google’s special tracking codes to automatically log activity on user browsers. It works with many scripting languages such as PHP, ASP.Net, Perl, and more for effective results in a range of web formats.
Developing your digital presence and maximizing ROI is important, so you should be using Google Analytics.
This is a collaboration tool that is visual in nature, similar to a kanban-type work board. Users can add notes, lists, cards, and more in any scheme to create an easy-to-follow diagram of workflows, staffing, and virtually any business process.
It’s very intuitive to use with its drag-and-drop capability, Trello boards can be shared online among multiple users. It works just as well for individuals tackling projects of their own.
There are both paid and free accounts available, and while Trello is simple in concept, there are plug-ins and PowerUps for integration with other apps like Zendesk or Salesforce. It will also work with cloud storage services such as Dropbox.
If a visually oriented work board for tackling projects suits your management style, you can’t go wrong with Trello.
This is a useful tool for tracking and managing your social media accounts, which are indispensable for modern companies to reach out to consumers. Hootsuite makes it much easier by enabling you to manage different social networks from one central dashboard.
Hootsuite offers a free version that allows you to manage up to three separate social media accounts, for example posting to your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts from one place. The paid version is capable of handling up to 35 different social accounts, but even there Hootsuite offers a 30-day free trial.
Small businesses today often compete directly with corporate giants. Apps such as those listed above will expand your company’s competitive resources to speed growth through improved digital marketing, productivity, and collaboration. Best of all, even for cash-strapped startups, many of these tools are available for free.