Staying Organized: Here Are a Few of Your Favorite Apps
Here are six little words that have become an all-important phrase for entrepreneurs everywhere: Yes, there’s an app for that. Seems no matter how random, obscure or insignificant a task, someone has built an app to help us do it faster, easier and more efficiently. To wit: A completely random survey of Apple’s App Store found an online tool for extreme cutting and pasting (we think), one for stimulating memories of past events and another for coloring-in line drawings of flowers.
Coloring may be a great way to unwind after a hectic day, but we know your go-to apps are all about keeping the engine (ahem, that’s you) of your business purring. It’s no surprise the digital platforms you really dig help you quickly and automatically schedule meetings, track invoices and payments, remember deadlines and communicate with customers – and that’s just for starters. In other words, these awesome apps make your entrepreneurial adventure a whole lot smoother by helping you stay organized and on top of all things, at all times.
To that end, here’s a quick roundup of some of the apps you adore for helping you achieve organizational nirvana.
Need a shared calendar your clients, business partners or even family members can access? Rachel Ritlop, a business coach in Delray Beach, FL, uses Calendly to avoid back-and-forth emails about scheduling. (Click here to read more organizational tips from Rachel.) Dianne Legault is a busy merchandiser based in Ontario, and she and her husband use Hub on a daily basis. “We share a joint calendar, plus a project list, to-do list and even a grocery list. When my husband is out shopping, l can tell which aisle he's in. I get a notification each time he erases an item from our list!”
Project management and email
Online marketing and web design expert Skip Blankley kick-starts each day with a few moments of scrutiny. “Every morning I look at what’s in my sales pipeline right now. I use Pipedrive, which costs $12 a month but is hands-down the best tool I’ve worked with. It tells me whether I have to whip up a proposal, perform some research for a client or follow a lead. I use the project management softwareAsanato tackle my to-do list, review anything done by my developers and check they’re not waiting on anything from me.”
Joshua Rozario, a business consultant in San Jose, CA, relies on ToDoist to help him manage both daily tasks and ongoing projects. Joshua explains why he uses Newton to tame a potentially out-of-control inbox: “Most of my emails are usually tasks or part of a bigger project. Newton allows me to convert those task emails into tasks on ToDoist.” (Joshua, we like the way you think!)
Communications and social media
Rachel Ritlop recommends MailChimp for sending branded email-marketing newsletters far and wide. “MailChimp lets you quickly design attractive email newsletters and schedule them, plus it keeps your email lists organized and updated in one place.” She posts on a variety of social media channels using Hootsuite, since the platform allows her to plan out and schedule posts days or weeks in advance. Rachel’s tip? Don’t forget to keep an eye out for replies and mentions generated from your previously scheduled posts.
Notes and files
Joshua Brooker, a certified health insurance advocate in Lancaster, PA, swears by Evernote. In fact, he describes the note-making (and note-taking) app as “my own personal Google. Every client has a notebook with notes, emails, PDF attachments. I’ve filtered every article I’ve liked online into Evernote, too. And it’s all searchable.”
Organization on the go
Alicia Pollock, a small business consultant in Portland, OR, points out that organization isn’t just about keeping up with files and folders. Since her job requires spending a lot of time traveling, Alicia’s go-to apps include MileIQ for tracking business-related mileage, Waze for getting to and from client meetings without hitting a traffic jam and Yelp for finding a great place to grab a bite on the road.
Beyond apps (yes, really)
Finally, Gwénaël Mouthuy, a project manager in France, reminds us that sometimes apps work best when we use them in conjunction with other critical tools of the trade. Gwénaël never leaves home without good old-fashioned pen and paper – and a whole lot of coffee.
Now it’s your turn!
QB Community members, what apps do you rely on for keeping your business (and yourself!) organized? Please post your suggestions below.