The fact of the matter is, productivity grows your business’s worth, there’s no getting around it. The problems are introduced by the number of ways in which we can communicate, and become distracted, in today’s digital age.
Take, for example, the amount of time that the average employee spends keeping track of, responding to, and organizing their email. This task, for the average employee, takes up 28% of their work week, according to a McKinsey study published in 2012. Combine that with the percentage of time the employee will normally spend trying to find internal resources, 20%, and you have nearly half a worker’s workweek being spent on processes and rituals that technology has all but built itself to speed up!
Increasing your productivity has been made extremely easy due to the exponential growth of technology, particularly the rise of the web application, web app for short. These are programs that were built to run 100% inside of a user’s internet browser, never taking up space on your hard drive. Today we will look at a few of the best ones to boost your business’s efficiency!
- Trello: The Dream Team Application for Professional Collaboration
Trello is a dream come true if your business is run and supported by teamwork (and really, what business isn’t built on the hopes and dreams of its team of employees?).
This collaborative tool will make sure that everyone stays on the same page, as well as offering the ease and convenience of having your entire project in a centralized location, broken up into manageable tasks that can be assigned and updated, and even given a due date!
This will save everyone time, and therefore increase your productivity, by making sure that all of the information that your team needs to complete their projects is listed in one, tidy little place. When they’ve completed their task, they can simply drag the bulletin from the “In Progress” column, to the “Completed” column. You can even have it set up to notify you when an event like this occurs!
Even if you’re not working on a team, this handy little tool makes it simple to collaborate with yourself! Remind yourself of things you have to do, create to-do lists and keep track of what’s been completed and what you have yet to start! They also have an app for both iPhone and Android, so no matter what type of mobile device you use you can always stay in the loop!
- MailChimp: Keep Everyone Updated Seamlessly, Always
Often when you’re working on your projects, particularly if you’re in marketing, you will want to be sending out emails to your customers. These are often campaigns used for information transfer, either from you to your customers, or to invite your customers to take a survey for feedback or for market research.
Streamlining, often even automating the process is what this application is best at. It will often save hours of work that otherwise would have been a long manual process, even if your contact list has less than 50 people on it.
With options for advanced list segmentation you can make sure that only the right people are going to be receiving each type of your business’s automated notifications. You can make sure that your contact’s details are always kept up to date with their current information using MailChimp’s easy to design and launch Sign-Up Forms.
One other key area of this application’s value is the ease of integration with Google Analytics. This integration makes it simple to keep your statistics from Google up to date on things like the return on investment (ROI) and revenue created from your email campaigns.
- AdWords: One App to Find All The Best Keywords
If you’re creating email campaigns, you also may be thinking about putting up some content on your website that you would like everyone, not just current customers, to see. If this is the case, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure that page of your website gets as much publicity as you can.
This will involve a little bit of Search Engine Optimization, or in other words working the system just a little bit to gain every advantage you can over your competitors when it comes to how search engines like Google will find, and subsequently rank your content.
AdWords is an excellent way to find out the numbers on what search terms people may be using, and with this knowledge you can help ensure your content matches the search terms with the highest volume of users searching them.
The interface of this application is very intuitive, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for their Help section lives up to Google’s motto that “fast is better than slow.” Of course, we would expect and hope that Google’s internal help search would be as organized and efficient as their at-large world wide web search!
- Hootsuite: One App to Organize Them All… the Social Media, that is
The best way to organize is to centralize. With this application you can have all of your social media accounts in one place, from Facebook and Twitter, to Foursquare and WordPress and full App Directory to organize your YouTube and Tumblr pages, too!
You’ve got the tools right at your fingertips to collaborate fully with all of your teams, if you’ve been following that theme through out this article. Keep your teams organized by limiting access of social networks to just the one, or ones, each team has been assigned to. You can also assign specific messages to team members, and keep track of feedback in several different ways!
And to top it all off, Hootsuite’s got a full suite of custom reports, with the ability to integrate direct into your Google Analytics account, as well, which is the perfect way to keep track of the value of all of your endeavors. You can also view several different types of reports for each of the built-in social networks like Facebook and Twitter, which is extremely helpful for a quick, close to real-time analysis of how each account is doing.
- Tagboard: The Right Words Can Make or Break Your Content
When taking advantage of the easy access to information people have today, it’s best advised to squeeze every bit of juice out of the sweet, ripe oranges of the modern day listservs, hashtags.
Hashtags are words preceded by the number sign character, #. There has been a recent extreme upswing in the amount of services that are utilizing hashtags, Facebook being one of the more recent companies to jump on the bandwagon.
What using a hashtag does is adds your post to a list of other people who have been adding the same hashtag to their posts. When implemented correctly you can search the hashtags on their native websites, e.g. in Twitter you can search for any hashtag by typing it in to the search bar.
This can be kind of cumbersome if you use a lot, or all of the services that utilize hashtags as one of their features. This is where Tagboard comes in. Tagboard is a service that allows you to search for any hashtag, on any social network, or all of them at once! This will save you several hours of time, and it makes sure that you’re increasing your productivity by increasing your audience in the simplest fashion!
The bottom line is that increasing your productivity means increasing your profits. Keeping things organized across all of your teams and all of your projects can be managed in a minimalistic fashion that will keep your teams working efficiently. Streamlining your business reduces costs, and enhances your return on investment by maximizing the fact that if you can harness the ability to do as much work as possible, by doing as little work as possible, you can do anything!
What are some other apps that you use in your day-to-day operations that help you organize, collaborate and boost your productivity? Let us know, in the comments below!