Are you a part of a small business? Then kudos to you, my friend, because small business employees wear a variety of different hats.
We’re a small business ourselves and we understand the tension of keeping all the details organized, all the bills paid, and all the communication channels flowing smoothly. It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s never boring!
In the spirit of being open, here are four tools we use to wrangle details and maintain our sanity. The best tool is the one you’ll actually use, so take these as inspiration and find what works best for your team.
Keep it All Organized with Google Workspace
Engenius *hearts* Google Workspace.
- Gmail helps us communicate with clients via branded email addresses.
- Calendar helps us manage personal and shared calendars (No more asking, “Is the conference room booked?”)
- Google Drive gives us the ability to manage a virtual filing cabinet and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc. One of my favorite features of Drive is the ability to manage permissions — no filing cabinet keys required.
A few of the Google apps we love.
Google Apps are accessible anywhere — computer, phone, tablet, you name it — which is great when we need to upload a picture of a lunch receipt to our finance folders before it gets lost in the abyss of my car’s center console.
Talk it Out with Slack
The number of internal emails flying back and forth has decreased significantly (praise!) since we started using Slack. Instead, we keep the communication lines open and focused — even sharing that adorable puppy photo without triggering the dreaded reply-all email thread. Woof.
Our #engenius-pettos channel gets all the adorable puppy updates so that our work channels don’t.
Slack works by using “channels” to guide topics. Each user can customize their notifications as well, so you can make sure the notification from your boss comes through while the chatter in the #random channel stays quiet.
Slack has changed the game for team brainstorming. Instead of having a long meeting where our team members may feel on the spot, we created a channel where everyone can chime in on topics as they have thoughts.
It’s been a huge win, allowing everyone to contribute in a collaborative way without having to clear their schedules for a team-wide meeting.
Get Stuff Done with Teamwork
Teamwork is how we build out project expectations by assigning tasks and managing deadlines to keep things moving forward.
As a service-based company, it’s key that our staff can track their time against each task and client, so we know if we’re hitting our goals and staying profitable.
Teamwork keeps project templates on hand, which ensures that every step in the system is followed. Ultimately, this makes it easier for us to deliver great work that brings success to our clients.
We can also manage staff workloads to avoid bottlenecks at various stages of the project. For example, if our content writers are slammed, but the designers are twiddling their thumbs, that’s no bueno. Teamwork helps our project managers arrange meetings and deadlines appropriately to keep everyone chugging along with clear expectations. Ahhh, the sweet sound of progress.
Get Paid with Bill
Bill is incredibly useful for both our Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable procedures. Small businesses work hard to serve clients well and provide awesome jobs for employees. To do that, you’ve got to make a profit and stay financially sound.
While working with over 180 clients is a huge honor, it takes a high level of organization to ensure each account is invoiced when appropriate, our vendors are paid on time, and our books are kept up to date.
Don’t struggle so much to get paid!
Some of our favorite features include the ability to set up recurring invoices and auto-pay for clients, which helps lighten their load as they manage their own small businesses.
If someone ever needs to track when we paid that one specific vendor, or how much a client owes, Bill makes it easy to search for that information or build reports to track progress. Our accountants love how it syncs with Quickbooks Online, and we love being able to assure our clients that we’re using a safe and reliable platform to complete each transaction.Those are just a few of the ways that we keep things moving at Engenius — hopefully this will inspire you to find the best tools for your team and keep an eye on new tools that are constantly being developed.
Cheers to you, small businesses, and we wish you greater efficiency!