6 Awesome Productivity Tools for Small Business Owners

<p><p>Time is money, which is why online productivity tools are a must for small business owners.</p> <p>When I think about where I spend a lot of time that’s not billable, it comes down to four areas:</p> <ol><li>Reading and writing emails</li> <li>Social media marketing</li> <li>Finding a day and time for a meeting</li> <li>Collaborating on projects with partners and vendors (which leads to more email – and lots of searching for previous emails!)</li> </ol><p>The following productivity tools are ones I swear by or am considering based on the glowing recommendations from others.</p> <p><strong>Email productivity: Google Mail, RocketBolt and Unroll.me</strong></p> <p>There are a zillion ways to slice and dice email to save you time. I use <a href="http://mail.google.com/">Google Mail</a> as my email platform, which automatically categorizes emails and moves them into different folders: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. I find this feature incredibly helpful.</p> <p>But I want to be able to do more, so I’ve been looking at two additional tools:</p> <p><a href="http://rocketbolt.com/">RocketBolt</a> just built an email tracking plugin for Gmail/Chrome. It tracks (and can even alert you) when emails are opened and links are clicked. This knowledge is valuable when you’re talking about sales and customer service – you can send more-informed follow-up emails and move people faster through the sales funnel.</p> <p>Best feature: Compatible with other productivity apps, like Boomerang, Rapportive, Dropbox, and Streak.</p> <p><a href="https://unroll.me/">Unroll.me</a> compiles the newsletters you select into one email that you can open and scan when you feel like it. How awesome is that?</p> <p>Best feature: You can unsubscribe from newsletters in one click – rather than one at a time.</p> <p><strong>Social media dashboard: Hootsuite</strong></p> <p>Even if your small business only has two social media accounts, a dashboard like <a href="https://hootsuite.com/">Hootsuite</a> lets you post updates, respond to comments and mentions, track conversations and more from one spot.</p> <p>Best feature: Social media monitoring, hands down. You’ll know what people are saying about your brand so you can quickly respond.</p> <p><strong>Online calendar: Calendly</strong></p> <p>One of my clients swears by <a href="https://calendly.com/">Calendly</a>. She includes a link to her calendar in her email signature, so people can quickly set up a time to meet with her (clever idea!). I’ve used it to set up a couple of meetings with her; the interface is clean and it only takes about one minute to schedule a meeting.</p> <p>Best feature: It checks your Google or Office 365 calendar for conflicts, so you’re never double-booked.</p> <p><strong>Project collaboration: Slack</strong></p> <p>I started using <a href="https://slack.com/">Slack</a> this spring for two big projects I am working on, and I have to say, it’s awesome. I also love Basecamp – but Slack is free. You can create channels for each conversation, drag-and-drop files into it, and direct message people – and all of that is organized in one place so you can easily find it.</p> <p>Best feature: Private channels can easily be created for more sensitive conversations.</p> <p>What is your favorite productivity tool?</p> <p><em>Want more assistance growing your business online? Join the </em><a href="https://forum.web.com/"><em>Web.com Small Business Forum</em></a><em> for free access to our library of ebooks, the latest industry news and support from other business owners, entrepreneurs and working professionals. Join a Group to ask questions, share your opinions and grow your network! Visit </em><a href="http://www.web.com/"><em>Web.com </em></a><em>to learn about our full range of affordable website design and online marketing services.</em></p> <h3>Author information</h3><div><div><div id="avatar" style="background-image: url('https://forum.web.com/wp-content/uploads/avatars/464/monica-bpfull.jpg');"></div></div><!-- /.ts-fab-photo --><div><div><h4>Monika Jansen</h4></div><!-- /.ts-fab-header --><div><p>Monika Jansen is a freelance copywriter and editor who helps with companies of all shapes on sizes kick their content up to the next level. You can find her online at <a href="http://www.jansencomm.com/">www.jansencomm.com</a>.</p> </div><div> | <a href="http://twitter.com/monikacjansen">Twitter</a> | <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/monikacjansen">LinkedIn</a> | </div><!-- /.ts-fab-footer --></div><!-- /.ts-fab-text --></div><!-- /.ts-fab-wrapper --></p>