For entrepreneurs, good time management is invaluable. It’s also one of the greatest challenges for many business leaders.
Time management means making smart choices about where to spend every minute of every hour. It’s an ongoing challenge, especially as companies are just starting out.
Opening your own business is an exciting time. Apps that help accelerate your launch, growth and results can have an outsized impact on your bottom line and lead to early business success.
Knowing where to spend your time means judging multiple business needs. Entrepreneurs need to juggle the need to attract customers, build marketing materials, and seek and satisfy investors.
That’s why entrepreneurs need to lean on tools that can help them organize work, manage time, automate simple tasks and coordinate teams and projects. Fortunately, today there are many dynamic tools available to help with nearly every aspect of time management.
Understanding the available tools and how they can help with time management empowers business owners to make smart decisions about their work.
Here’s a closer look at some of the best tools available to help entrepreneurs with productivity.
1. Google Workspace
Formerly known as G Suite and Google Apps, Google Workspace is a one-stop shop for many tools that can enhance and empower your business operations.
While many of these tools are used commonly as separate apps, when combined, the Google Workspace contains an extensive array of interconnected apps to supercharge your productivity.
The various components include:
- Gmail. The popular email program allows you to use your business domain name for your email address. There’s 300 GB of free storage space and 24/7 support via phone or email, too
- Google Drive. This powerful shared storage space allows you to organize your business files and manage access to documents among those within the organization and externally. Google Drive features automated saving and synchronization and access files in the cloud-based storage space on any device
- Google Docs. This word processing function allows users to create, view and edit documents with functionality that is similar to Microsoft Word and other leading products, all from a web browser. Users can view, edit and comment on documents in real time, making Docs an ideal option for teams
- Google Sheets. This spreadsheet product has the same sharing and viewing capabilities as Docs
- Google Slides. For presentations and design purposes, Google Slides lets you create and share dynamic materials and embed photos, videos, graphics and other content
- Google Forms. Build, launch and analyze surveys that can collaborate with content in other Google Workspace apps
- Google Sites. Create and edit websites with little to no coding skills, all with the powerful sharing options available in other Workspace apps
- Google Calendar. Coordinate schedules, meetings, and meeting rooms all from one app
- Google Tasks. Manage your tasks using an iOS or Android app, integrating easily with Google Calendar
- Google Chat. Send direct or group messages or create team chat rooms
- Google Meet. A popular tool for virtual meetings, with functionality that rivals both Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
- Google Currents, for group ideation and creative brainstorming
- Google Keep, for note-taking
- Google Vault, for archiving
- Jamboard, an interactive whiteboard
- Marketplace, an online store app
Collectively, the apps make for a compelling, and free, integrated app suite.
Managing projects, especially across teams, is a complex endeavor. Asana makes it easier for teams to manage projects with a comprehensive set of tools designed to accelerate progress and meet deadlines.
Asana is a software-as-a-service platform that focuses on tasks and projects, connecting users to work that needs to be completed, timelines and progress reporting.
Work can be organized as lists or kanban boards, connecting initiatives, tasks, meetings and programs. Tasks help coordinate the who is doing what and the deadlines associated with every component of your projects. Tasks can be broken into subtasks, showing the multiple steps necessary to complete a task.
Tasks can be grouped together into sections that can be viewed as lists or columns, with various workflow stages outlined. Forms can be used to collect work requests and track submissions.
Users can add start dates, due dates and times and custom fields that capture information specific to each project.
Users can review a timeline in Gantt format to help with planning and scheduling resources. Files can be added as attachments to each project and dependencies and rules can be added to account for each factor that is crucial for project success.
Tasks can be copied from one project to another and privacy features can create separate groups for internal and external views.
There’s also a Hacks tab where you can see experimental features. That’s the place where you can get a boost when needed, such as views of cute dogs (tab+V) or cats (tab+B).
Do you need to schedule lots of meetings but don’t want to take the time and hassle of coordinating all those appointments? For new business owners, who may not have the resources to hire an assistant, Calendly is a great way to simplify and automate meeting management.
At its core, Calendly is a self-service meeting scheduler. Users set their availability and the type and length of meetings they want made available.
Once those preferences are set, a user can publish their Calendly settings via email, websites or signature tags. Those who want to meet with you can then sign up directly.
You can manage access to your calendar and set automated alerts and notifications to remind others of their upcoming meetings with you. You can use Calendly for one-on-one or group meetings, sync with common calendar apps and schedule resources as well as people.
Calendly provides helpful dashboards and reports that help manage your meetings, track activity and schedule in real time. You can also use customized templates to create your own version of the app that aligns with your company’s branding and look.
It’s likely that your business relies on email marketing for many aspects of your operations. You need to use group emails to connect to existing and potential customers, communicate to employees and partners, and add functionality that gets the most out of your emails.
Mailchimp is an intuitive, easy-to-use tool to manage your e-communications. You can create email marketing campaigns easily, using existing templates or creating your own. Layouts are available for popular email announcements, such as product launches or sales.
No coding skills are necessary to easily use Mailchimp. It can also be used as a de facto CRM, helping to track details about customers and contacts.
There are dashboards that provide high-level overviews of your audiences and campaigns. In addition, there are great tools that let you segment audiences via any number of factors – demographic identifiers, open rates or other considerations. Mailchimp uses machine learning to create audience segments automatically that you can use.
Segments, whether use-generated or via Mailchimp, are dynamic, meaning you do not need to move contacts from one list to another manually.
There are also automated tools that help you deepen connections. Among the available automations are those triggered by user behavior, such as abandoning a cart, signing up for a mailing list or making a purchase.
The built-in integrations, automations and other tools make Mailchimp a compelling option for email marketing and more.
Zapier is a one-stop destination for automating key functions that make it easier for you to get business done. With Zapier, you can connect two or more apps, including the most popular ones in use today, such as Gmail, Slack and Mailchimp. Zapier is compatible with more than 5,000 apps today.
It all works using Zaps, which are actions that are based on triggers, such as opening an email or responding to a social media post. The Zaps are automated acts that move forward a relationship.
For example, you may send out a large email campaign to new potential customers. You can create a Zap that will automatically add any email address that opens the email to a database, along with a tag that indicates why they were added and when.
As another example, if you post something on one social media, say Instagram, you can create a Zap that then sends out a tweet right after.
In both cases, you save massive abouts of time and labor by taking action on tasks quickly all via automation tools.
These powerful tools can have an immediate and sustained impact on your business and help you save time and money. They are essential apps for saving time and letting you make the most of each hour.