5 Essential Tools For Your Small Business

Organization, communication and productivity are all important aspects of running a business. Starting a business is tough and it can be very overwhelming, but hopefully this article can help you out a bit. We’re going to share 5 tools that can help your business be more organized and efficient.

Communication: In any business, communication is key. Whether your team is big or small, being able to communicate quickly with different departments or employees is extremely important. We use Slack, which is probably the most popular one, but there are others such as Chanty and Flock. Sure you can use email or text, but having your whole team in one app makes a big difference. You can create channels for certain projects or departments and add only the people that need to be in the loop. For example, create a channel called ‘marketing’ where the whole marketing team can communicate. It has integrations with hundreds of other popular tools like Dropbox, Asana, Google Calendar, and more so you don’t have to leave Slack to use those apps. Slack has a free plan which does a lot, while the paid plans start at about $6/month per user. 


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Project Management / CRM: Keeping track of your projects, whether they’re internal or for your clients, is an essential part of your business. Staying on track with deadlines, assigning and completing tasks, managing contracts and invoices, they’re all very important pieces to running a successful business. Being able to do all of this in one place would be helpful wouldn’t it? There are a ton of CRM / project management systems out there; Monday.com, Asana, Pipedrive, Jira, Tave, 17Hats, Dubsado, Honeybook, the list goes on. We use Dubsado and we love it! In Dubsado we’re able to input projects, set the progress of projects, create tasks relating to a project, assign those tasks to certain teammates, create and send invoices, contracts, proposals and more. Essentially we can track an entire project from start to finish, seeing what’s done and what needs to be done throughout that project. Costing $350 annually for four seats, it’s a very worth-while investment. If you have different brands that you run, you can add a brand for an extra $10/month.

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Tasks: If you want an app that’s a little more task-oriented, there’s plenty to choose from. Quire, Any.Do, Todoist, Things, and Ticktick are some of the most popular. Now you may not need a task app; many CRM’s and Project Management tools have the ability to create tasks, assign them, etc. But if you want more of a To Do List feel, these apps might be up your alley. You can easily input tasks, add a deadline, and when you’re done just check it off. Quire is free, but some of the others may cost you.

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Time Tracking: If you’re in a service-based business, tracking time is especially helpful so you know how long it takes you to complete projects. As a media production company, it constantly helps us in knowing how long certain videos take us from start to finish. That way we always have a good idea of how we should be pricing our work. We use an app called Timely and we’ve been using it since the start of the company. One of our favorite features of Timely is being able to put in a budget for a project and an hourly rate, so as we’re progressing in the project, we can see how much of the budget we’ve used vs. how much is left. There are other time-tracking apps, and some CRM’s / PM tools have time-tracking built in. For example, Dubsado has time-tracking built in but we’ve been using Timely for years so we’ve stuck with it.

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File Sharing: Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, WeTransfer, you’ve probably heard of these. If sharing files within your organization is important, it’s good to use one of these. For us, being able to share files easily is crucial. We’re a fan of Dropbox and it’s what we currently use but explore your options and see what will work best for you. We’re constantly sharing graphics, video, and photos for our projects and Dropbox has been a great help in doing that. Here’s an example; we’re working on a video project for a client and we need a title graphic. Our designer can upload the graphic to the corresponding folder in Dropbox and our editor can pull it off Dropbox and put it right into the video all within minutes.

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Thanks for reading! We hope you found this article helpful! Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. What tools do you use? What seems most helpful to your business and why?

If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to reach out. Shoot us an email at hi@focusforwardmedia.com or fill out a form on our contact page.

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