It is hard to know what is a distraction and what is a truly useful tool.
We are bombarded with new apps and devices every day and it can often take all our will power to resist OSS (aka Oooh Shiny Syndrome) and be fooled into thinking that the latest productivity tool or labour saving device will be just what we need to reach organisational nirvana.
It can take quite a while to find a set of tools that work together in the way that you want them sometimes you need to take the time to discover what one tool can’t do before you can really appreciate what another tool can.
So in a bid to save you some time and effort searching here is my shortlist of favourite digital tools for business.
This is effectively the backbone of my business and something I have been using daily over the last year. I had been looking around for an alternative to the full blown bells and whistles of Infusionsoft and having found one system that I could work with but that involved compromises I was recommended to try Active Campaign and was immediately hooked. It is in my mind the perfect combination of email marketing, marketing automation and Sales CRM.
If you are looking to level up your marketing efforts and Mailchimp isn’t quite cutting it the I highly recommend you give AC a go.
If your office is filled with piles of paper and every vertical surface is covered with post it notes and whiteboards covered in scribbles you will probably raise a knowing smile when I tell you that I have decamped to boardroom to write this rather than tackle the paper storm that is my office. I know that I will never be truly paper free but there is a chance that one day soon there will be much less of it.
Trello is a simple online system that uses boards, lists and cards to organise pretty much anything and everything. Without the steep learning curve and complexity of some other systems Trello allows you to be up and running in seconds. As is often the case I used they system for a couple of years before I really appreciated what it could do.
If you have a bit of time to spare here is an interesting article about the Kanban Board principle behind tools like Trello which was developed by Toyota and is used to organise everything from car parts to groceries, but in the meantime why to try it out for yourself.
The problem with all in one tools is that there is never one that does everything the way you want it to, so you often end up making uncomfortable compromises in expectations or you have to manually move information between different systems. But what if everything worked seamlessly? How good would that be?
Zapier (rhymes with happier and not rapier as I am reliably informed) does just that by getting different systems to talk to each other. There is an ever growing list of supported applications that can be set up to work together using simple recipes (or zaps) that you manage from a central account. This tool has allowed me to move one step closer to full automation and I am constantly finding new ways of using it to connect my main systems.
Why not try these tools out yourself and feel free to comment below if you would like to share any that you think need to be on the list.
P.S If you need some help getting your systems and processes sorted out I can highly recommend having a chat with Sarah Gathercole from the Office Fixer. She is a process specialist – tell her I sent you!