Our 10 Favorite Business Management Tools to Save Time and Money
Navigating the world of business management tools is confusing. Every platform is trying to sell a service that they swear will make your life easier, cut down on costs, or rid your business of all frustration. Depending on your management style and what efficiencies you hope to implement, some tools may do all of that and more. Others risk more of your time with complicated interfaces and additions to your to-do list.
To help guide you through the process of finding the tools that will work for you, we’re sharing our absolute favorites. Not only do we use these tools with our clients, but we also use them in our own business. We like them because they’re flexible to meet the needs of diverse work styles. They save us time and money. Most importantly, they make our days run smoothly.
If you’re looking for project management software that keeps you on track while encouraging you along the way, look no further. The best part about Asana is the flexibility of dashboard views that can suit everyone on your team. Do you prefer tasks to be on a calendar, in a list, or organized by topic? All are possible on this platform.
Asana helps you map out each step of a project assigning task due dates and owners. Within each project, task, and subtask, you can write comments, tag your team members, and share files. The platform sends daily emails with your assigned tasks and due dates. When you mark a task as complete, Asana celebrates with a flying unicorn (no kidding).
Our team is on Slack all day, every day. Since we’re a virtual team, Slack acts as our conference room, lunchroom, and water cooler all in one.
Slack is a business communication platform that is quicker and more organized than email. You can set up different channels (think chat rooms) dedicated to specific topics or projects. It takes the place of those long, unwieldy email chains that always end up more confusing than they’re worth. One-on-one conversations, voice calls, and video calls are all supported on the platform. With Slack, you can tag members of your team in comments, cheer on your team with emoji reactions, and have fun with gifs. You can also attach files to your messages to make sure everything stays in the same place.
More than just a communications platform, Slack provides an avenue to build community with your team. This is especially vital if (and when) your team is distributed or working virtually. The platform encourages a positive work environment and strengthens workplace relationships.
Everyone knows that time is money. With so many diverse tasks and processes within a small business, it can be difficult to track the ROI on your time. This handy app will help you understand how your business is functioning and where you can improve.
Timely is an automated time tracking software. The platform saves your team the administrative time of tracking their time manually. Through the app, users create project time blocks for each day, move blocks around calendars, and track how long projects or tasks take to complete. Each team member has a private work timeline, and they control what information goes public.
HoneyBook is a client management software for small businesses. It helps you keep track of your relationships with your clients. This software keeps your proposals and scheduling organized. It sends out invoices and helps you get paid. With branded templates, you can generate and keep all of your client communications in one place. The desktop interface and mobile app both make the process simple and easy. This end-to-end project tracking can help you get a better understanding of your workflow with clients and how you might be able to improve.
Hootsuite is the tried and true social media management tool. The platform stays up to date with changes in each of the social media platforms (which happens frequently) ensuring your posts look great when they’re pushed out to your pages.
Not only can you schedule social media content, but you can also manage engagement and incoming messages. The tool streamlines the process by gathering messages from all of your platforms in one place. This is very helpful if your business frequently receives messages from customers over social media. Hootsuite also provides helpful analytics and insights, again, all in one place.
Another area where Hootsuite excels is in managing social media projects. You can assign tasks to team members and collaborate directly on the platform. This helps your team stay on the same page, especially when multiple team members are working on social media daily.
Now that we’ve mentioned several platforms, here’s one that can make them all work together seamlessly. Zapier is an automation service that integrates your various apps and platforms. It alleviates the trouble of transferring information from platform to platform manually. For example, you can create a workflow that saves incoming Gmail attachments to Dropbox and then set a notification in Slack alerting you to new Dropbox files.
Zapier has a simple, user-friendly interface that makes setting up automated workflows easy. It’s compatible with over 3,000 apps, so you’ll be sure to find your favorites. If you’re looking for a way to make your different apps and platforms play nice with each other, this is the service for you.
The days of fancy (and expensive!) graphic design programs are over. Well, mostly. Canva is a graphic design platform that makes designing easy, even for beginners. The best part of the platform is the slew of templates and design elements that help you build your designs quickly and easily. It even allows you to post your designs directly to social media or send them out to be printed right from the platform. This platform is a huge time saver when it comes to creating social media content, branded marketing materials, custom presentation, and even videos.
Canva does have its limit, so you may still find a need for high-end design programs like Adobe Creative Suite for more complicated marketing materials or pieces of content. The trick is understanding when Canva will suffice and when you may need something more. The best part of Canva is that it dramatically cuts down on the amount of time you and your team spend on the endless generation of content that is needed to help your brand find its voice online.
When you’re running a small business, your reputation is important to your success. Keeping your communications clear and precise grounds your brand image in professionalism.
With Grammarly, you’ll never miss a typo in an email again. More than just spell check, this extension examines your language to ensures your grammar is on point every time. The tool can even summarize the tone of your writing so you can make sure your message is getting across the way you intend.
Grammarly is a plug-in that can be used with your browser extension, on your devices, and with Microsoft Word. Anywhere you need to write, Grammarly has your back.
Buffer is a social media management app that takes a different approach to engagement and building brands on social media. The benefits of Buffer over other social media management tools are unique features that help you follow social media best practices. For example, you can schedule Instagram posts along with automatic first comments. Rather than just seeing a post preview, the interface helps you understand your content in the context of your profile.
Some of the other great features are a hashtag organizer, Instagram stories planner, and better utilization of the “link in bio” on Instagram. This platform is probably best used for organizations that handle much of their business over social media. If you consider social media one of your best areas for lead generation, this app might help you boost your social media performance even further.
To put it plainly, this app does a lot. It may be perfect for your business or slightly more than you need. ClickUp is an organizational platform that combines project management, file organization, team communication, email, reminders, goal tracking, time tracking, and much more. Your whole business workflow could live on this app. The user interface is easy to use and highly customizable. Since you would be spending so much time on this app, you can make it your own!
The digital age has undoubtedly improved many aspects of running a business. As more services, platforms, and apps become available, though, finding the best way to leverage digital tools for your specific business needs can be risky. Will the platform provide real savings in time and money? Or will managing the management tool become a full-time job? Keep these questions in mind when you’re selecting business management solutions. Hopefully, you found a useful tool in this list that will make the day-to-day of your business easier!
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