Tools To Make Your Work Easier, More Efficient
CHAMPS ENTREPRENEURS SHARE THEIR TIPS AND TRICKS AT OCTOBER 2019 MEETING
Our October entrepreneur meeting focused on tips and tricks that members have learned this year that have made their work easier, more efficient, or helped solve a problem. Some of these tools were apps or programs, and some of them were systems or processes that members put in place. The tools are listed below with a brief description. Do you use any of these, or do you have any to suggest and add to the list?
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss – https://fourhourworkweek.com/ He has a blog and podcasts that are accessible through the link. The book is a guide on improving your productivity, and many of the topics cover work and life.
DC’s Department of Small and Local Business Development – DSLBD has several small business programs, from a toolkit to help you start a business to sessions and workshops on government contracting. They can also walk you through how to become a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE), which gives the business preference when competing for DC government contracts. www.dslbd.dc.gov
General Business Tools – websites and apps and more
Calendly – scheduling program that allows you to schedule meetings without back-and-forth emails. Free and upgrade versions available.
Canva.com – a graphic-design tool website that uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to photographs, vector images, graphics, and fonts. The tools can be used for both web and print media design and graphics. It’s a great way to create Facebook and Instagram graphics, flyers, posters, brochures and more. Free and upgrade versions.
Design Pickle – Affordable design service for things that are more complex than what you can create on Canva.com, like catalogs or brochures. Quick turnaround and easy to submit corrections and refinements.
Flodesk.com – email marketing app/site, like MailChimp but with different design features.
Kajabi.com – Online business platform. One service it offers is creating an online course that is highly interactive and includes video hosting, homework assignments, quizzes and more.
MailChimp.com – Email marketing site. Easy to use and includes a free version that allows for several audiences and a good number of subscribers.
Microsoft Templates – When you save a Word or Excel document that you use frequently as a template, you can open it directly from the File-Open option. Great time saver when creating documents like proposals, standard budgets, meeting note files, etc. Just remember to save it as a new document before inserting new text!
Pixabay.com– a site for free images for design, brochures, websites, etc.
Praxey.com – Praxey is a web/mobile app that allows you to call an expert via audio or video call for advice on a topic and pay for their time. If you are an expert on a topic, you can enroll and provide your services at a per-minute fee to users.
Prezi.com – Online tool for developing presentations. Structure is not linear in the way Power Point slides are. Makes for a powerful presentation but developing a deck this way can be time consuming. Free trial and levels of paid service.
Shipstation – Membership mailing service – $9.99/mo. Includes a deal with FedEx that reduces those costs by 30%, and generally makes your shipping prices comparable with that of a fulfillment center.
Toggl.com – an online time tracker that allows you to track time by project, client, task, or any other category. It also can integrate with Chrome and other sites/apps for automatic tracking. Free version and upgrade versions available.
Zoom.us – Online video/web/meeting program. Free and upgrade versions available. Great for client meetings.
Process Improvement Tools
Develop a Referral Network Among Colleagues – A client might not be a fit for you but might be a fit for a colleague who has a different approach. Developing that referral network allows colleagues who are on the lookout for you and can send you high-potential clients.
Hiring A Business Coach – Hiring a business coach, particularly one specific to your business or for a narrow project or need, can yield a high return on investment.
Improving the Customer Match – Several professional service providers talked about the process of matching customers to the service that a business provides. That often involves a lengthy conversation or meeting to determine customer needs and expectations. These discussions help the professional and the customer understand what level of service is needed or desired. How can that process be improved to identify stronger potential clients more quickly and with less time investment? Members suggested developing a questionnaire that allows you to establish baseline expectations and zone in on highly compatible potential clients and improve the return on investment of your time.
Know Your Why – We discussed the value of client feedback, and through that discussion arrived at the importance of knowing your why and being authentic. Find it, own it and grow it. Knowing your why makes you stand out from competition and can create a stronger draw for clients that are a match to you.
Paul Rivas’ To Do List – www.smithrivas.com/motivation. Paul’s to-do list not only helps you track what you need to do, but helps you evaluate how long it took and why so you can improve your performance on tasks that repetitive.