18th May2017

Clever integrations & productivity tools for the small business owner

by James Smith

If you class yourself as a nerd, and you run your own company, then chances are you already have your productivity enhanced with a number of useful business tools. These might include some absolute business essentials like a Slack channel for your employees, or a virtual business landline number that follows you wherever you travel. However in today’s world, technology is moving at an alarming pace. It can be hard to keep up with the weird and wonderful tools that are available. Here are some of the best gems that any geek should have in his or her business arsenal.

Zapier: IFTTT for businesses

zapier

Chances are you’ve already made use of IFTTT and its various services. Whether it’s linking your smartphone to your doorbell, or making sure your thermostat is always connected, then IFTTT shines. However for business use, you’ll struggle to find some recipes that float your boat.

With Zapier, you can make use of ‘zaps’ that link all of your favourite business tools, to really boost your productivity. Whether this means linking your calendars to Slack, or automating the data flow between your CRM and your accounting software, Zapier will have a process for you. With open ‘hooks’ in all applications, you can create your own processes too. If you want an order in Stripe to create a customer in Hubspot, you can design your own ‘zap’ to do exactly this with no coding knowledge required. Perfect for keeping on top of complex workflows.

Timecamp: Time Tracking software

timecamp-screen

If you’re a freelance worker, or if you’re working on a number of different projects at once, then it can be tough to prioritise your workload. Whether you worry about missing a deadline, or spending too much time on a smaller project, Timecamp can help. The time tracking tool lets you keep tabs on how much time you’re spending on different tasks, and will let others in your team set the priority of your workload. It comes with a web-based dashboard where you can monitor your productivity, as well as keeping track of absences and wasted employee worktime.

With integrations available across the board, including Slack, Hipchat, Trello, Wunderlist, Exchange, Salesforce and Zendesk, you can ensure that you never again spend time on work for client that isn’t billed on. You can also connect Timecamp with Amazon Echo, to manage your time with your voice!

FreeBusy: Organise meetings and conferences

freebusy

If you really qualify as a nerd, then it’s likely that you’ve already dipped your toe into the world of home automation. While it can be handy to start a Spotify playlist or ask for the weather forecast, do these devices have any business uses? The Amazon Echo is looking at moving into this space, with a number of key integrations now on offer. One of the results, the FreeBusy Scheduling Assistant, makes organising meetings and conferences as easy as you could wish.

Launch Freebusy, and the clever tool will check whether a contact is available at a certain time in order for you to book a meeting or conference call. It will of course check your own calendar too before you send out the invites, to avoid double-booking yourself and ending up in a meeting-room meltdown. Schedule meetings with just your voice! The Echo skill integrates with all of the major calendar providers, including Google, iCloud, Outlook, Exchange, Office 365 and much more.

Mention for Slack

mention-slack

Any small business owner should be concerned with their brand image. Whether you want to keep track of what people are saying about your own company, including reviews and customer support, or you just want to keep tabs on your competitors, it’s important that you keep on top of what’s being said.

The challenge for a small business owner is time. How do you have the spare hours to scour the web looking for references to your brand or competitors? Mention for Slack takes the hard work out of searching, and once configured, will ping you an alert in your Slack channel to let you take the temperature of your customers. The tool will let you know how many mentions you’ve had, what percentage of them were in a positive light and what your biggest source of mentions was.

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One Response to “Clever integrations & productivity tools for the small business owner”

  • Hi James,
    Thank you so much for sharing the toolkit, it’s impressive!
    Happy to see our TimeCamp in this post and glad you’ve found it useful!
    Feel free to contact us in case of any questions.
    Ola Rybacka, Social Media Manager at TimeCamp

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