Office efficiency and effectiveness can make or break productivity. Leverage your time and focus by implementing systems that streamline operations and help produce results.
Delegate. Zirtual is a company that provides U.S. based, college educated virtual assistants. These assistants can help research, do scheduling, travel booking etc. They help with the time-consuming tasks and allow busy CEO's and entrepreneurs to focus on priority tasks in their day. Jenn Headley, www.sspr.com
Reduce Emails. Most of team works remotely in different parts of the country. For that reason, we heavily rely on software tools to help us maintain a sense of cohesiveness, teamwork and progress. Asana allows us to manage projects, tasks and workflows within teams across all departments from a single place. For a remote team, this is a godsend as each team member has full transparency into the work that’s being completed at any given point in time. It gives each team member a frame of reference for where their departments stand in relation to the progress and goals of the company. The greatest benefit to using Asana is how effective it is at reducing emails within the organization. Emails are no longer used to delegate, assign or follow up on tasks; as such, our inboxes are never cluttered. Nicholas Shum, www.topwick.com
Organize and Archive Conversations. Our employees use Hipchat to regularly communicate with each other. It’s essentially our company intranet, and each team has its own separate chat room used to update one another with news, assignments, feedback and more. As an added benefit, new employees are on boarded even quicker because they’re able to view the history of each team’s workflow and chatter. With Hipchat, we have everything we need for collaboration, from chat, to video conferencing, VOIP calling and even screen sharing. Most importantly, regular communication in our “Team Lobby,” where we share jokes, pop-culture news or anything else that strikes our fancy, really helps the team feel as though we all reside in the same workspace. Nicholas Shum, www.topwick.com
Embrace Technology. Many of the productivity tools we use at Startup Documents are available for free (thank you, AppStore!) or for a nominal fee. Gone are the days that effective productivity tools were only available for high subscription fees to large corporations. For example, we use Reminders from Apple to create checklists for projects and sync it up to several devices so that the updates are current. We used to use FreeConferenceCall.com for scheduling internal and external phone conferences (at no charge!) until we moved to the paid model with video conferencing. Now we use WebEx for conferencing needs and are paying a nominal fee. We use Adobe EchoSign when we send contracts to our partners and vendors to streamline the signature process and have been doing so for the past 3 years. E-signing makes the signature process so much faster and we have been closing our deals much quicker because of it. Each of these tools is so attractive to us because of the significant time-savings, ease of use (a HUGELY important factor when deciding against competing products), and general higher quality output. Business toolsets are so powerful and affordable that it’s a mistake for businesses not to take advantage of them. Leila Banijamali, www.startupdocuments.com
Centralize Passwords. We're a web design company that specializes in creating modern and attractive websites for small to medium-sized businesses. One of our biggest headaches is password and note management related to all the various website and hosting log-ins we keep track of for our clients and personal needs. We've started using Roboform about 4 years ago to keep track of everything, and what a dream it's been! We use it dozens of times every day. We can store an unlimited number of passwords, which is obviously the biggest benefit it offers. In addition, we're able to store secure notes, which comes is immensely handy. We only need to remember one master password to gain access to our hundreds of other passwords. We don't use the built in file tree structure as fully as we could, because the search feature works so well. A couple of the other neat features is that it syncs between our office computers, so we can all access the same passwords. It also syncs to all our devices. Kama Wilson, www.discoverpeppermint.com
Restore Your Computers. Each year business owners spend hundreds (and thousands) of dollars replacing or repairing slow-running computers, but in reality they can save that money and improve their system's performance by following quick troubleshooting techniques. They can invest, for example, in computer memory upgrades (only about $50 a pop) that improve computer speed and lengthen the computer life for a few years. As you can imagine, this could have an incredible effect on businesses looking to improve office efficiency without breaking the bank The Crucial site has a handy System Scanner that makes finding the right memory upgrade for your system an absolute breeze. It is a huge money and time saver for small busineses, in particular. Kelly Sasso, www.crucial.com
Micro Business Therapist™, A.Michelle Blakeley, is a small business professional with over two decades of experience in sustainable, holistic and progressive business practices who has successfully guided new and seasoned small business owners through the daily challenges of operating a small business with timely and transformative small business advice. She is featured in Forbes.com and the Financial Post as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, contributor for the San Francisco Examiner and Women On Business; curator of the online magazine, Micro Business Therapy™ and was the host of Simple Truths for Women Entrepreneurs on BlogTalkRadio.com.