As consultants and small business owners, it’s really easy to get behind on a lot of the administrative pieces of our businesses; finances, marketing, operations, etc. Once we reach that nirvana of regular projects and heaps of billable hours, the time we need to manage our own business seems to shrink into nothingness.
What’s a busy entrepreneur to do?
Here are some tools that will not only get your day-to-day operations back on track, but will give you invaluable data for planning and goal setting for years to come.
If you’re like me, you’re not exactly brimming with glee to balance your checkbook, track expenses, and manage a regular budget for both your home and business. With Mint.com, I’ve actually come to enjoy these tasks. Mint’s ability to track all your loans, bank accounts, credit cards, debts, and assets in one location takes a lot of the time and effort out of managing finances. That, and its interactive graphs and tools provide you with a clear view of the current state, as well as the past and future trends of your finances.
Tracking project hours can be a real pain, but Paymo makes it easy. Up to three people can use a single account for free to track all their tasks and hours spent on all of their projects. All you need to do is setup your project tasks and hit the stop and start button as you work. Tracking my time in this way has been immensely helpful for estimating and budgeting project time.
Find out how many people visit your site, where they come from, how long they stay, what they’re interested in on your site, what they’re not, how they found you, and a myriad of other things. Google Analytics is a fast, easy, visual, and free way to gain insights about your customers and your marketing initiatives.
HootSuite is a one-stop-shop for social media management and tracking. Who has time to login to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and their blog separately to send updates and posts? HootSuite not only allows you to manage all these applications in one location, but also allows you to schedule future posts to be released at a later date – an extremely handy feature for social media management.
Regular use of these tools, and others, has enabled me to not only keep up with my day-to-day business operations, but has given me critical data for how to best invest my business’s time and money.
There’s much more that could be said and shared about these tools, but that’s all the space we should use for a humble blog post. Perhaps I'll delve a bit deeper into each tool in some of my upcoming meanderings.