10 Business Tools to Increase Productivity

Today, running a business often means wearing lots of hats. You might be covering project management one minute and marketing the next, especially in a small startup environment.
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Today, running a business often means wearing lots of hats. You might be covering project management one minute and marketing the next, especially in a small startup environment.

If you feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, you’re not alone.

Many small business owners and managers have the same problem. When you need more time and can’t outsource any more work, here are some time-saving tools that will change the way you work and increase your productivity.

Trello

If you find your team leaving sticky notes all over the monitors and desks, you might want to give Trello a try. Trello is the perfect solution for to-do lists, requests, and projects. It makes collaborating with teams easier than ever.

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Trello consists of Teams, Boards, Lists, and Cards.

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You can create teams (or a business team, which has additional security) based on department or another organization method of your choice. When you create a board, you can assign a team to it.

On boards, you can create lists, which consists of cards. So, if you wanted to create a “Current Projects” list, you could add each project as a separate card, color-coded by the department.

Many companies have a list that indicates department color codes, which they use throughout the cards.

Trello also allows you to attach files to cards so that everyone on the board can access them. That works great for smaller files with a 10 MB limit. Paid versions of Trello offer larger file size limits.

Another popular alternative to Trello is ClickUp.

ClickUp is an all-in-one suite to manage everything. 100,000+ teams improved productivity by switching to ClickUp™. Collaboration & Reporting. Task Management. Complete Customization. Does What Others Can’t. Time Management. Project Management.

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote is leaps and bounds better than it has been in past years. What was once a slow, clunky note-taking app is now a clean, collaboration-friendly, document organization software.

If you’re already using Microsoft Office, OneNote is an excellent addition to your tools. Although you can use it on its own, it integrates well with Microsoft’s other programs.

The release of Microsoft Office Lens also makes OneNote an even better solution. You can take quality pictures of your physical documents and turn them into searchable text.

Now, you can do everything just by taking pictures with your phone–no more scanning in piles of papers with a desktop scanner.

Slack

While communication is Slack’s focus, it also ties in lots of handy organizational features, like integration with Trello.

Slack is a powerful messaging app that requires virtually no setup. It’s 100% web-based and ready to go from the moment you create an account. All you have to do is invite your team members to join.

You can set up both private and public channels, but it also allows direct messages between users like most messaging apps. It also enables calling and screen sharing.

Slack allows you to customize notifications in many ways. You can integrate Google Calendar to notify your team of events or even set Slack to tell you when a particular keyword appears.

These are just a few of the ways you can customize this full-featured communication app.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a powerful add-on that checks spelling, grammar, style, and originality. If you write daily, Grammarly is great for reviewing your documents, blog posts, emails, social media posts, and more.

Although it’s most well-known feature is the browser add-on, it also has extensions that work in Microsoft Word and Outlook, as well as a desktop application that saves your documents online.

Grammarly stays active on most sites–everything from Facebook to your web-based email applications. If you don’t want it active on a particular site, you can turn it off, and it will remember your settings for the next time you visit.

If you find Microsoft’s grammar and spell check lacking, give this a try. It’s better both regarding performance and overall accuracy.

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Dragon Anywhere

When you can’t get to your computer and need to get a document or email together, Dragon Anywhere gives you access to powerful speech recognition software.

Nuance already has powerful dictation software. Dragon Anywhere brings some of the most commonly used features, including speaking without limits, text formatting, and easy import and export options, straight to your mobile device.

Nuance is known for its incredibly accurate dictation software–Dragon Anywhere lives up to that expectation with an accuracy of 99%.

Social Bee

Social Bee indeed has a “set it and forget it” style of social posting. You can upload and schedule posts like you normally would, but it comes with a full set of content curation tools.

Its Pocket integration and ability to automatically import RSS feeds make it easy to schedule posts from all of your favorite sources.

Whether you manage multiple blogs or websites or have other companies you want to slate content from, Social Bee gives you a place to organize your curated and original content.

You can also create an Evergreen content category, which will go out to your social media accounts on a loop–perfect for articles that stay relevant year-round. If you don’t want to keep sharing them, you can also set an expiration date, so they’ll stop going out to your feed.

Social Bee also has a powerful new feature in the works: post variants.

If your post needs hashtags on one platform, but not another, you can tweak your post to match the best practices of each platform. Overall, this is an easy-to-use social media scheduler that will save hours a week on managing your social content.

CoSchedule

CoSchedule packs in every feature you could ever want from a marketing calendar app, including social media scheduling.

If you need a tool that manages your social media posts, campaigns, blog posts, and other marketing activities all in the same place, CoSchedule is the perfect solution.

It features a clean, easy-to-read calendar, but you can also set task lists on your dashboard, separate from the calendar.

CoSchedule is great for small businesses and larger companies alike, with plans that scale to your business size and marketing needs.

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Clearbit Connect

Are you tired of wasting hours trying to find company contact information on their web pages or in past emails? Clearbit Connect is an extension for Chrome and Outlook that you can use to find email addresses.

You can search by company name and position, allowing you to see a variety of contacts at various companies.

It mostly depends on the size of the company. You may only find the founder email for small businesses and startups, but for larger companies, you can easily find emails for managers, editors, public relations, and press. For most companies, this will save you the hassle of having to search through lots of contact pages.

Calendly

Calendly saves you the pain of accidentally booking appointments outside of your availability or double-booking clients. 

This appointment booking app allows you to block out your schedule and works around your available timeframes. All you have to do is share a link and clients will have the option to book one of your possible timetables.

Additional features include buffers between appointments, time zone awareness, and integrations with prominent calendars like Google, Office, and iCloud.

Dropbox

If you need to share lots of larger files and store files somewhere other than a local network (especially for remote teams), Dropbox has an excellent solution for businesses.

The base plan starts with 2TB of space for your files and offers lots of security features, such as two-factor authentication, remote device wipe, device approval, and advanced sharing permissions.

Dropbox offers integration with Microsoft Office, which allows you to work on documents in real-time with other team members.

These apps are just a few of many productivity tools on the market, but they bring some of the most influential features to the table. The hours these tools save you will quickly add up, giving you even more time to grow your business and focus on the tasks that matter most.

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Hi! I’m Lori Ballen. I help content creators grow and monetize their channels. Are You Ready to Grow?

About Lori Ballen

She is the founder of The Ballen Method. Lori is a content marketer, speaker, and trainer.  Her students appreciate her authenticity, as well as her ability to take complex elements and make them understandable. As a 6-figure Affiliate Marketer, Lori understands the power of monetizing content marketing channels like Youtube, Blogs, and Social Media Networks.

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