Entrepreneurs can use all the help they can get. Since these innovative business owners are often trying to do more than really fits in a day, it can be useful to have some productivity tools to help them be more efficient. Online tools, in particular, are handy.
In today’s world, it’s become almost necessary to keep much of your life accessible online. You need to be able to access your files and business information from anywhere, especially if you are an entrepreneur who is mobile. Fortunately, there are a number of web-based productivity tools that can boost efficiency and ensure that you are never tied down to one computer.
If you only use Google for searching and basic Gmail, you might be surprised at everything you can do with it. There are several good applications on Google that will help any entrepreneur stay productive.
Google Calendar: This lets you not only create multiple calendars that are color coded, but you can even share them with employees, VAs and family members, as appropriate. Set deadlines for events and activities here and you can arrange to be notified a day ahead of time.
Google Documents: Work on documents, spreadsheets and the like in Google Docs and you can share them with as many people as you want. They’re accessible at any time, from any computer with internet service. The best part is multiple people can make changes without emailing new versions of a document back and forth.
Gmail: This free email client is one of the most flexible out there. You can set up multiple inboxes, arrange filters to get rid of or file mail to your liking, and set up folders for specific projects or clients. This makes it very easy to manage all your incoming and outgoing mail. You can set up email for your domain (yourbiz.com) and check it through Google Mail, which makes it accessible through your phone and any computer.
Google Reader: Stay on top of all your favorite blogs by adding their feeds to this handy tool. You can browse all the latest posts, making it simple to scan dozens of blogs in just a few minutes. Ideal for those who need to keep up with the latest news in their niche.
When it comes to accounting, you can’t be too organized. For years, the golden standard was Quickbooks, but if you have the software on your computer and happen to be elsewhere when you need to check some numbers, it can get difficult . . . unless you’re using the online version of Quickbooks.
The online edition allows you to do everything you can do with the software, but you’ll be able to access your records from anywhere and even share with your accountant when necessary. Keep track of expenses, income and pay your bills with this site and you won’t ever need a home PC version again. The ability to balance your books from anywhere in the world, even at an internet cafe or on a borrowed computer means you can be a world traveler and a successful entrepreneur at the same time.
This site doesn’t actually replace anything that you would have offline, but it does make it very simple to manage all your social media sites from one central location. It is a useful replacement for Twitter clients that you might install on your computer, as well, and is entirely based online.
With HootSuite, you can monitor and post to multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts and pages, LinkedIn and add your RSS feed from blogs. While the free version only allows up to five networks, you can easily add more for just under six dollars a month. For most people, however, the free version is more than enough.
When you need to keep track of contacts and contact subcontractors or employees, 37Signals is a good option. This site lets you connect with four different services, Basecamp, Campfire, Highrise and Backpack. When you need to contact people and keep on top of assignments, then these services are ideal for the task and 37Signals lets you deal with them all in one spot.
Keeping track of your hours is very important when running a business. Whether working for a client, or simply tracking how long it takes you to do a specific task, it helps to have a time tracking device. Unfortunately, most time trackers are software based, which means you can’t use them unless you have the program installed on your computer. With 14Dayz, you not only get online tracking, the site saves your information at the end of each day. This means you can track your work hours from anywhere in the world, no problem.
Part of being more productive is simply streamlining your everyday tasks. If you find that you are spending time with social media marketing and are jumping back and forth from Twitter to Facebook, then an online method of keeping everything in one place is a very good idea. With the tools given here, you will be able to do everything from write articles and ebooks to give people assignments, no matter where you are.