We are increasingly time-constrained, and the idea of work-life balance just does not apply anymore. Inbox Zero is a great goal but rarely achieved. How can we keep it together and still move our business forward? While there is no shortage of tools available to entrepreneurs and business owners, here is just a sampling of what is available that you will, hopefully, find helpful.
They've taken the world by storm in just a few short years. They have millions of users and a multi-billion dollar valuation, but that is not what is important. What is important is that they have built an email killer.
Slack's strength is that it reduces email, especially amongst your team, to nearly zero. It works on Android, iPhone, Windows, and Mac so most of your technical hurdles are removed. You can create channels by client, team, topic, and more to manage all of your communications and they remain organized for anyone joining which makes for a fast onboarding process.
If you, or your team members, prefer texting to phone calls or email then Slack is perfect for you. Messaging is the default form of communication, and it can be one-to-one or one-to-many. If you want to connect by phone or VOIP-like calling, then you can use the calling feature embedded within Slack. If you are accustomed to Skype, then you will find the calling capability to be essentially the same.
Slack has done a fantastic job of integrating other services and software like Dropbox to augment its value. It has also become a popular platform for communities and user groups who passed on using LinkedIn or Facebook to host them. There just might be a group or community of interest to you too.
Have you ever sent a prospective client a proposal and you had no idea what happened after that? Did they even get it? Attach.io can help. It is a freemium service where you can upload attachments and then send the link to those attachments via email. It will then notify you when the recipient has visited them, read them, and what sections they spent the most time on.
Now you can follow up with your prospect when the time is right and focus your discussion on specific areas based on the insights Attach.io has provided.
Where Attach.io tells you when a prospect has looked at the file, Hubspot Sales can tell you if they've opened your email and will continue to tell you every time they open it. It is helpful for your deal flow and your follow up. Not all email clients are supported so check their website.
Setting up a meeting can be annoying with all the back and forth between the host and recipient. Things just got better. Now you can leverage the support of Andrew or Amy, your virtual assistants. Just cc them on your email to your recipient and they will take over the rest, giving a few options and handling any alternate suggestions. All you do is set the process in motion and let them deal with the rest so you can apply your time and energy elsewhere.
Increasingly, your clients and prospects are leaving digital bread crumbs that provide valuable insights about them. Why not organize those insights and the actions you take in one place? That is where Nimble comes into play.
Nimble is a social sales and marketing CRM solution, merging all of the social profile data from your network, your clients, and your prospects. It gives you are a comprehensive picture of a contact, helps you manage all of your social channels, and all of your communication flow through social channels and email. With its Chrome extension, it can provide insights about someone while you are browsing their social profiles too. To quote them "Nimble works everywhere you work".
Very few people like to deal with the administrative side of their business. Freshbooks is a software-as-a-service solution that helps businesses managing their invoicing, cash flow, and suppliers.
You can set up auto-billing and recurring payments to minimize chasing people for money. You can give your accountant, suppliers, and contractors access to make communication flow seamlessly and to help you manage invoices coming in and going out. They pride themselves on customer service and always answer the phone in just a few rings.
There are many other tools and services out there, designed to help small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed. If you have some favourites or interesting ones you've heard about, then please share below in the comment section.