5 Tools That Can Improve Your Home Business’s Productivity
Staying motivated when working from home can be a challenge. But technology can make it easier to stay organized, and therefore more focused and productive. Here are five ways that tech can improve your home business’s efficiency at little to no cost.
Cloud Document Management
There is a huge range of cloud document management apps available, with Google Drive and Dropbox being popular choices for small home-based businesses thanks to their generous free storage options.
If you are working on projects where collaboration with clients or remote team members is important, cloud document management can be a great solution. It allows multiple users to edit or provide feedback without having to update and save and resend lots of amended versions, which can get difficult to keep track of!
Project and Task Management
Project and task management software can help businesses to banish spreadsheets, post-its and checklists as methods for staying on top of client work once and for all.
Asana, Basecamp, and Trello are popular choices, as they have simple-to-use interfaces that allow work to be broken down into clients, projects, and tasks in a way that is easy to understand. As typically all communication with clients and team members can be conducted through the interface, it keeps everything in one place, cutting down on time spent searching through and organizing emails.
If you bill clients by the hour, it can be difficult to keep tabs on exactly how much time you’ve spent on tasks. If a client accuses you of not fulfilling the agreed-upon hours, and you’re not monitoring it, you don’t have a leg to stand on. Equally, if you’re over-delivering every month without realizing it, effectively, your business is losing money!
Time management software such as Freckle and Toggle eliminates this issue by keeping track of exactly how long tasks take to complete. Reporting in these tools can show you which tasks are taking the longest to complete, which can then help to plan ahead in the future to ensure that your clients are getting the time that they pay for. It can also help to uncover inefficiencies in the way you work, which would have otherwise gone unchecked!
In any business, communication with customers is key. Email is going to be the preferred method for the vast majority, but this doesn’t mean you should limit the way in which your customers can get in touch with you.
Having a business contact number, which can be set up easily to reroute calls from your mobile by using a virtual phone number provider such as eVoice, makes your business appear more professional. Plus, who really wants to give clients their personal cell phone number?
Finally, if your business is using social media, use a tool that allows you to monitor and manage communications across multiple channels from a single platform. Hootsuite and Buffer both offer great social media management platforms for home business owners on a budget.
Update Legacy Technology
One of the quickest ways to improve efficiency is to update outdated technology. Although replacing ageing hardware comes at a cost initially, in the long run, it will save your business money. Fax machines can be replaced with online faxing. Using a printer and scanner? Try a multifunction device that can do both!