Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It has applications in lots of spheres, but the one that’s important to us today is that 80% of the stress of running (or launching) your business comes from 20% of your work. Maybe printing labels and shipping out orders makes you want to punch a hole in the wall. Maybe it’s figuring out your taxes. Maybe it’s answering customer service emails. Maybe it’s having to send invoices to clients. Maybe it’s scheduling calls and meetings with team members or contacts. Maybe it’s running social media accounts that feel like a total time suck.
Today I’m sharing 10 easy tech tools that’ll make you feel like you have a team of personal assistants, so you can stop pulling your hair out and get back to loving our business.
Managing Social Media:
Sites and apps like Hootsuite, Sprout Social & Buffer allow you to pre-schedule social media posts to all of your platforms and schedule them to go live at strategic times. No more sitting on your phone, posting in real time. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Sending & Managing Invoices:
Wave App is a great tool that not only lets you to create custom, branded invoices to send to clients, but also allows recurring invoices to be automatically sent, tracks payments, income generation and more.
Shipping Items Sold Online:
Shipstation is a lifesaver for anyone who runs an online store. Shipstation can be easily linked to your online store so that new orders go right into your shipping label-printing spreadsheet. You can create product presetsusing their weight and shipping method, pay for postage on the site (so you can just drop them off at the post office), print PDF shipping labels with tracking numbers and even have your customers notified by email when their order goes out.
Responding to Customer Emails:
Answering the same question from customers over and over? (No one reads the FAQs these days!) Besides considering working those answers into your website copy, make a few
canned responses in your email service. Gmail has a simple option that you enable in your settings. When you go to write a message, you can pull up that response and save yourself time.
Are you a coach, trainer, stylist or run a business that requires you taking appointments? Use Acuity Scheduling to direct people straight from booking a session on your payment page to scheduling their session with you. This platform is great because they allow you to preset your available working hours and then customers can schedule their appointment with you without your involvement. Plus, you can control how much time they should automatically leave between appointments and even the branding of your scheduling page.
Getting Everyone On the Same Page:
Trello, Google Keep and Asana are all multi-user platforms that allow everyone you’re working and collaborating with to stay on the same page. Make “boards” for projects with checklists that can be viewed as they’re updated in real time, by any member of the team. You can cut down on meetings and emails by using a team app to write down tasks and priorities in your team’s account.
Managing Your Email List:
MailChimp, InfusionSoft and Constant Contact are all email management programs that allow you to build an email list, send out nice-looking emails and even have multiple lists within your one account. You also have special features like using the same branded template for every email, pre-scheduling emails, autoresponders for customers who’ve purchased your products, embeddable popup email catchers for your website or even sending emails only to people on the list who live in a certain location.
Organizing Your Finances:
Shoeboxed is a great app that allows you to take a picture of every receipt related to your business. Not only does the app organize the receipts based on the date of the purchase, but it also reads the receipt and categorizes it by the type of expense it is (travel, office supply, marketing etc.) No more saving annoying little scraps of paper! InDinero’s another great solution to organize your business’ finances like a boss.
Getting to Know Your Customers:
Use SurveyMonkey for free to get to know your customers, to market more effectively and to develop more targeted products. Plus you can create surveys to collect customer reviews after purchases!
Generating New Leads (Customers):
Leadpages the perfect site to use if you want to give away a free guide to beef up your email list, get signups for your upcoming webinar or even build a one-page sales page for a new product. With tons of customizable templates, Leadpages can be a standalone branded page you link to or an embeddable element in your own website.
Don’t waste any more time beating your head against the wall! Make a list of what’s stressing you out and commit to trying out one of these tech tools that’ll make your life a whole lot easier.
What tool are you most excited to try? And do you have a favorite not on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments!