Thursday, March 8, 2012

Savvy Entrepreneur: My Top Four Business Apps



When small business owners start talking, the conversation almost always turns to the favorite apps that keep us organized or save time. So after a few of these in the last few weeks I thought I’d share the four tools I use daily.

I’m a Mac user, but I don’t have an iPhone so I use the online version of all of these. They all have the ability to be used on an iPhone or iPad, but I can’t speak to how similar or user friendly they are. However the online versions are all free.

Teux Deux

It’s just like it sounds, a to do list, but the simplest of ones, simple and pretty. Honestly it’s not much different then writing a list on paper, but this way your doesn’t get lost because it’s stored on a server and can be accessed via the web no matter where you are.

It’s the simplicity that makes me love it. I see my whole week at a glance and slot in tasks that I want to accomplish each day. There is no scheduling a certain time and there are no reminders. But if I don’t cross a task off it just keeps moving to the next day. There’s also a section for someday in case you want to use it for a bit of brainstorming.


Workflowy

Another extremely simple online app, that might as well be a piece of paper, but somehow manages to be so much more than that. Workflowy is a list-making app, but it works in a hierarchy or outline form. You make a top tier category like work, personal or current projects, then you can make sub-categories like this week, marketing, or groceries, to break it down even further or just list all the items, thoughts, or subjects that pertain.

I use it as a brain dump and to store all the ideas I someday hope to take action on. When my head is feeling full and loud I spend just a few minutes getting everything into Workflowy and then I can go back to what I’ve assigned myself for today. I actually populate my weekly Teuxdeux from Workflowy.


Google Calendar

There are a million calendars out there and probably many more sophisticated or prettier than Google, but I like it and honestly haven’t found anything to replace it. The fact that I can set reminders, share calendars and color code everything is really all I need as I use it mostly for meetings and events.

My husband and I share a calendar so I know when we’ve made plans together and even generally what his days look like. I have a personal work calendar that I keep track of most everything on, but I also share a work calendar and events calendar with Shelly to make sure we’re both on top of all the fun, cool things we should be at. 


Boomerang

Boomerang is a plug-in for your email, Gmail or Outlook (scroll to the bottom of the page for the Outlook plugin). It allows you to mark emails to be sent back to the top of your inbox when you’re ready to deal with them.

How often have you read an email and thought I need to take care of that, but not till next week? Most of us end up leaving it in our inbox until we get around to it. With Boomerang you can schedule it to return next Monday morning at 8 am or whenever you want, but until then it’s gone. No distractions and no cluttered, overloaded inboxes. You can also write emails and schedule them to be sent later as well as mark an email to return to your inbox if no one responds to it in a certain amount of time. Because of Boomerang I never have more than 10 emails in my inbox at any given time.


Hope these help to make you a little more organized and productive!


Genevieve not only writes The Savvy Entrepreneur she is the Co-Founder of Lightbox SF where she empowers creatives to take over the world. Check out the blog or how to work with her.


If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Katy or Steph about joining SFEtsy!

3 comments:

lorna said...

Also Stitch Labs for business management software, Mad Mimi for email marketing.

nerd JERK said...

These are great suggestions!

I love the fact that you use Workflowy as a braindump - I often feel like I need that. And any To-Do list usually stands a better chance of getting looked at by me when it's all pretty-like. :)

I can't wait to start using some of these to help streamline my productivity this year. :)

OOH - and I love Stitch Labs, Lorna! So easy to keep track of your Etsy Shop & expand your businesses reach with their automated Line Sheets! Stitch is helping me bust into my wholesale business as we speak. :D

lightboxsf said...

lorna - thanks for mentioning Stitch Labs and Mad Mini. There are so many great resources out there, I couldn't talk about them all. I wanted to share the ones I use everyday.

But I'd love to hear more tools that all of you use on a regular basis.

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