Time-saving tools for small businesses

The Internet: the world’s greatest timesaver? Or time waster?

If you’re like most business users, it’s probably a bit of both.

time-saving toolsFortunately you can tip the scales in favor of saving time with online tools for your business and personal use. Some are free, while others charge a monthly fee; many have a free basic version with upgraded features for a modest charge.

Project management/file sharing

  • Basecamp, a project management and collaboration program that lets you share files, messages and calendars.
  • Google Docs allows you to create, share and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
  • Box.com is a cloud-based file-sharing solution that lets you access, manage and share content from any location on any device.
  • DropBox, another cloud-based solution, stores documents, photos and videos and allows individuals or teams to access or share them.

Accounting/HR

  • Bill.com automates business bill payment and invoices, keeps track of cash flow and is compatible with many popular business accounting software suites.
  • Catch the Best helps you find the best candidates for open positions by creating a database of job applicants and tracking which job boards and ads are most effective.

Communications/scheduling

  • Skype, widely used for video calls, can also be used for video conferencing, instant messaging and file sharing.
  • PhoneTag converts voicemail messages to text and sends them to you by email or text message. The voice file remains available if you need it.
  • Groupon Scheduler (formerly OpenCal) cuts down on phone calls by allowing customers to make appointments and letting you manage your schedule online.

Information organization

  • Evernote captures any audio, video or text and lets you search from your computer or mobile device when you want to retrieve information.

Security

  • MozyPro provides online backup for small business computers and servers with 24/7 phone support.
  • LastPass keeps all your passwords in one secure location and generates secure passwords automatically. You can access it on any computer or your smartphone.
  • RoboForm also keeps all your login information secure in one location and allows you to fill in forms automatically.

Personal productivity

  • RescueTime is an analytics tool that allows businesses and individuals to examine how time is spent and to become more productive.
  • Freedom is a program of a different stripe altogether. It locks you out of the Internet for a designated period. The idea is to remove temptation and let you work without interruption.
  • ShortKeys lets you save blocks of text that you use repeatedly and places them in any Windows document quickly and without errors.
  • The Pomodoro Technique is a simple time-management system that helps you break large projects into small, manageable chunks to stay on task.

For personalized help managing your business, contact your local SBTDC office.

- Contributed by Kelly Burkart through a partnership with US Bank.