9 Tools To Help Every Small Business Owner Save Time

October 15

For every modern problem, there tends to be a software-based solution – adding these nine to your daily routine will make your life quicker and easier

9 Tools To Help Every Small Business Owner Save Time

Ask any SME owner how work is, and you're almost guaranteed to get the same answer every time: busy.

Working at capacity seems to be part of the universal experience for people who run their own business – and so, every minute that can be clawed back by working slightly smarter is well worth the effort.

Thankfully, for every modern problem, there tends to be a software-based solution. The following nine applications bring value to your SME - they will allow you to get started in minutes and access the tools anywhere and at any time. Using one, or all, of these applications will help cultivate a truly 21st Centrury approach to business.

1. CharlieHR (HR)

As most business owners know, keeping tabs on annual leave can be a nightmare all on its own – add in onboarding, employee details, contracts and so on, and you've got a paperwork disaster waiting to happen.

Step forward CharlieHR – a cost-effective HR platform which causes all of these issues to disintegrate in the blink of an eye. Not only does CharlieHR track holidays and sick leave; it also warns about overlapping time off and produces weekly summaries of important dates in a given week.

What it costs: An essential time-saver and company organisational tool, CharlieHR costs around €5 per team member, per month. Also provided in this package is immediate support as well as free training.

2. Asana (Internal communications)

Ever find yourself absolutely frazzled with the task of working out what needs to get done, who should be doing it and when it's due?

Step forward Asana.

With the ethos of teamwork at its core, Asana strives to ensure that employees can create, work together and close projects quickly and communicatively - no matter where in the world participants are based.

Asana offers a single place for getting organised, staying on track and hitting deadlines. Project participants can check progress, save time and collaborate together. What's more, Asana offers over 100 integrations which means that emails, files, tickets, and more can be imported so that you can see everything in one place.

What it costs: €7.99 per user/per month.

3. DocuSign (Legal/paperwork)

How many pieces of paper do HR departments go through in a day or a week? Consider how many documents employees have to sign off on on a daily basis - whether through hiring, firing, new contracts, renewals, or any number of day-to-day operations.

Keen to combat the overuse of paper, DocuSign is determined to reduce printouts and instead provide an easy-to-use method of signing documents on the dotted line, online.

By allowing users to record their unique signature and replicate this signature repeatedly on any document whatsoever, DocuSign offer an immediate solution to the signing of documents that otherwise may have had to have been posted from one office or department to another.

What it costs: Ranging from €9-€37 per year, DocuSign offer a variety of packages to meet the needs of a variety of businesses.

4. TenderScout (Tender Management)

Specifically targeting the increasingly popular tendering market, Irish start-up TenderScout takes the pain out of long and difficult bid applications by offering a platform to speed up the process through artificial intelligence, content management and advisory services.

Saving businesses time, money and manpower, TenderScout's 50-70% win rate speaks for itself.

What it costs: TenderScout offer three distinct plans depending on what stage your tendering applications are at. Reach out to them for more information here.

5. Grammarly (Communications)

The language we use in our day to day business life says a lot about our company as a brand – and getting the basics right is an absolute must.

Grammarly is a cloud-based English-language writing assistant which integrates with your web browser to offer informative and user friendly spelling and grammar corrections.

And what's more, the more you write, the more Grammarly gets to know you and your style, meaning that the advice offered is in-fitting with your previous tone and content.

For newsletters, social media posts, emails, LinkedIn updates and many more; the margin of error – not to mention the time spent proofreading – is dramatically reduced thanks to Grammarly.

What it costs: Grammarly offers a free plan, a premium plan from €10 per month which covers a range of writing, management and integration features and a business plan for teams between 3-300 for in and around €8 per month.

6. Trello (Project Management)

For companies whose bread and butter is the completion of small tasks that feed into larger projects, Trello offers a simple, effective and user-friendly solution to keeping organised and achieving large-scale goals.

Allowing users the opportunity to define their working objectives based on how far along they are as regards completion, Trello is at its best when used by a team. Members can check in and see how much work they have done and how much needs to be completed.

For SME's short on time, Trello is a reliable platform that positions time as the defining factor of work.

What it costs: Trello is free to use and you can download it for use on Mac & Windows.

7. Google Keep (Operations)

The modern business world expects us to retain myriad information in our minds. Not content with having to remember emails, CCs, BCCs, reply-alls and new spin-off threads – employers and employees also need to remember meeting times, dates, phone messages internet searches and even the odd inspirational quote.

Google Keep is a platform that allows users to add notes, lists, photos, and audio to Keep. Keep can be installed on your laptop and mobile phone, meaning that you can carry a complete briefcase of clippings, tickets, messages, appointments, memorable web-pages and more in one handy folder.

By allowing users to 'keep every thought', Google Keep acts as a living diary, ensuring that you won't forget any important business-related details.

What it costs: Nothing. Totally free.

8. Prezi (Communications)

Delivering that all-star pitch is absolutely necessary to gaining success in business. With more and more innovation transforming our communication landscape, some elements of public speaking and presentations will no longer wash with discerning critics.

One such area is the presentation software used in pitches. The day of basic, clunky and difficult-to-use PowerPoint is long done. Nowadays, SMEs need to grab the attention of clients through words and vision.

Prezi is one such platform that is revolutionising the world of public speaking and presentations. Including chic and adaptable templates as well as targeted analytics that track the most successful points of a presentation, Prezi professionalises presentations.

With Prezi, SME owners will no longer spend hours using fiddly and unfriendly software, as has been traditionally done with PowerPoint. Instead, users can present complicated information quickly and professionally, save on the Prezi cloud and garner influential feedback. Upgrading to Prezi is a no-brainer.

What it costs: Starts at £7 per month.

9. Franz (Sales)

A common problem faced by businesses is linking up various departments and colleagues together in communication. For example, a sales team out on the road seeking to meet specific target objectives may find it difficult to communicate their wins and losses to all members of the team.

Without utilising the power and intelligence of smart platforms like this one, many sales teams rely on the telephone or mass emails to communicate with their co-workers. This is understandably, a confusing and time-consuming approach to communication.

Enter Franz, a messaging app that combines a variety of platforms into one sleek application. Currently supporting WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Skype and Slack, Franz allows users to create conversations - and importantly, groups - regardless of what chat platform they use.

This means that groups of people can communicate with one another in real time, without confusion. For sales personnel, Franz provides the perfect opportunity to get organised, stay in touch and most importantly, hit targets.

What it costs: Franz is free to use and you can download it for use on Mac & Windows.


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