So lots of people are now working at home (WFH) 100% of the time. Hopefully if this is the case for you, you can maintain productivity and stay positive through the COVID-19 pandemic.
While a lot of us are used to living the entrepreneur life from a home office, it’s still a big adjustment to possess to self-isolate and prevent all face-to-face interactions with coworkers and clients.
I encourage you to utilize this time to have a closer look at your overall business goals, focus on your wellbeing (both physical and mental) and self-care, and enjoy some family time in the home.
I think many small enterprises are experiencing to pivot their marketing strategy, and what they do once the coronavirus passes could look quite different from what they did before.
I wanted to share some useful tech tools that can make your day-to-day WFH life much easier.
Team Communication Tools
This is most likely the biggest WFH product decision you’ll have to make. Your team needs a reliable and easy-to-use tool that lets them instantly message coworkers. The correct one for you depends on your business needs and challenges, team size and budget.
1. You may have heard about Slack. This tool gives you the opportunity to create channels around multiple topics and invite users. From marketing content suggestions to social media marketing tactics to office dog photos, your team can make relevant channels for easy chat and collaboration.
In addition, it integrates with many useful tools, including Outlook Calendar, Twitter, HubSpot and Salesforce, in order to see what’s going on at all times right in the Slack app (you don’t need to click in and out of your daily calendar or Twitter feed, for example). There are SO MANY fun and creative emojis you can utilize too, making remote messaging in a challenging time such as this a little more lighthearted.
2. Another popular platform is Discord. Favored by gamers, this voice, video and text tool is not only for talking to coworkers, but for finding like-minded communities and new friends. It is possible to create “servers” and “channels” for specific topics, similarly as if you do for Slack channels. While Slack has more business integrations, Discord has voice channels, in order to easily chat with team members. Discord also enables you to set user roles and permissions.
3. Flock is a cloud-based team communication tool with video and audio calling, screen sharing, text chat, integration with other business applications and much more. It is possible to tag colleagues in comments and to-do lists, upload documents, images and videos and set reminders and due dates. Polls, code snippet sharing and group discussions can be found, and it integrates with other apps such as Trello, Github, Google Drive and Asana.
Team Collaboration Tools
Your employees need to be able to share their work, whether they’re creating on a online marketing strategy or editing a press release. Here are a few that may fit your small business needs.
1. G Suite is really a Google product that’s comprised of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products. In one suite of tools, it includes email, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation decks, shared calendars, cloud storage, and much more.
It is possible to comment and make suggestions about specific documents through Google Sheets and Docs, edit documents online simultaneously and collaborate on projects and documents. You can give users permission to specific files.
2. Evernote: This is more than a note-taking app. Evernote can help you capture, prioritize and share ideas, track projects and to-do lists. I think it is super ideal for note-taking, obviously, but additionally as sort of “digital filing cabinet” that simplifies organization. There’s a free, basic and business package available.
CRM means “customer relationship management,” and CRM tools help you with things such as inbound lead management, sales tracking, social tracking and eNewsletter delivery. Listed below are three to consider:
1. MailChimp is an all-in-one marketing platform with tools to generate everything from emails to postcards. They will have a great selection of templates to choose from that can then be further modified to suit your brand. Their intuitive interface and thorough reporting are great, but things will get expensive as your subscriber list or number of emails increase. You can compare their different plans on their website.
2. Welcome Bot is definitely a big rival with MailChimp to be the brand name in e-mail marketing. It is a huge company and an excellent option if Facebook is really a big part of your online marketing strategy. Constant Contact has an email option that is designed so users can easily share your newsletter on Facebook.
This option can be viewed as the most social media-friendly and has all the major features of the others noted. If your web marketing involves Hootsuite (you can integrate this into Hootsuite) and you also focus your time and efforts on gaining traction on social media then this is a wonderful newsletter tool for you.
3. AWeber is an extremely popular option and recommended by many professional marketing companies. It offers you five plans from which to choose and more information on features such as unlimited email marketing campaigns, follow-ups, lists and Auto Responders.
Many people believe their Auto Responder platform is more advanced than other companies, allowing businesses to automate the procedure of delivering personalized emails to customers on a schedule.
Project Management Tools
A collaborative task management tool lets everyone track and manage all their projects. Think of it as an online scheduler, taskmaster, and collaboration tool to manage your team’s workflows.
1. Asana is among the leading tools and gets plenty of positive feedback. It allows everyone on your own team to follow the whole workflow of a project within an easy visual tool. You’ll always know where your team is at and who’s responsible for what and when.
From daily reminders on a task that’s due, to the capability to easily add collaborators or assign teammates a sub-task of a project, Asana helps it be simple to see what everyone’s day, week and month appears like (but you can simply move things around if plans change).
2. Monday.com is a pretty simple, intuitive visual team management tool (it’s really a project management platform). It runs processes, workflows, and projects in one digital workspace. Visually, it looks exactly like a collection of very customized spreadsheets, where every team member can log their tasks and update them with status reports along with other relevant information.
That means that each person can see all active tasks and keep depend on their progress. Team members could work on multiple projects without getting lost through the use of Monday’s weekly overview. The workflow can be customized just about any way you need it to communicate priority, what’s done, not done and so forth. The colourful designs and big buttons don’t hurt either!
Social Media Management Tools
Many small businesses will already have a social media management tool set up. A social media management tool enables you to manage all your accounts in one dashboard, which saves both of you time and frustration. These tools share your content at the perfect times throughout the day, which means that your followers and fans see your updates more often. It’s a smarter and much more efficient way to schedule and share your social media posts.
The best part about these tools is the built-in analytics system, that will give you a glimpse into what’s performing well, so when your social media posts are making probably the most impact.
Here are two social media management tools I take advantage of:
1. Buffer shows your scheduled posts and analytics (how in-depth those analytics get depends upon the plan you choose). Many small enterprises choose Buffer due to the sleek, clean interface that’s possible for beginners to get the hang of.
2. I find that while Buffer is ideal for less demanding social media needs, Hootsuite is where it’s at to be able to see your timelines, replies, and more across all your internet sites.
Both Buffer and Hootsuite offer free and paid plans, to help you always try them out and see which feels like an improved fit for your small business.
And while it’s not an instrument your entire workforce might use, I’m liking MoneyMinderOnline of these uncertain times. It not merely gives you a location to track your spending, nevertheless, you also get insights into your spending habits, and you can look ahead to enhance your cash flow, clear your financial troubles, and start saving for the big goals.
I hope I’ve given you an overview of some tools that will assist boost your team’s productivity and morale as long as you’re all working from home. You may also reap the benefits of our article on boosting business efficiency on our website.
Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is really a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Advisor. She works together with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the insufficient knowledge, skill and support had a need to create their web business presence.
As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands to allow them to focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to steer them every step of the way.