Choose the Right Tools & Tech
I love to experiment with different software and technologies to grow my business and make day-to-day tasks more efficient. Hopefully my experiences will save you time and help you too!
Are you wondering how to keep all your goals, projects and tasks moving foward effectively? This article is going to help by sharing some digital tools out there for graphics, productivity, collaboration, communication, marketing, and online education. I should know from years of learning, using, and sharing what I've learned with business professionals about social media and digital tools from early 2006. It all started in social media with www.MySpace.com for me, before I grew from Project Manager to business owner of The Concierge Office Suites. For many years we hosted a monthly event Jelly! Chattanooga to coach people on how to set up and use social media for the top three platforms: Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and many more. I've also been known to present publically just how great the impact of social media is for our personal, professional and business development. We continue to use digital tools to market our brand.
We are excited as we begin to move toward truly incorporating video to market our brand so you can experience more than a box with a door. You'll get to meet members of our team, become familiar with our business location and all the amenities and support services we offer. We want to empower the evolved entrepreneur that is thriving beyond startup in business. You'll become familiar with why working, playing and living in downtown Chattanooga, TN is such an awesome place. Welcome to the Gig City for more than just the high speed Internet, get your side-hustle on in a professional support environment. Executives will feel right at home here with help from our business concierge support team. Check out our YouTube Channel. We're building our playlists in YouTube so you can checkout the Chattanooga, TN experience from more than just us. We're creating head space in YouTube, a work space for the evolved entrepreneur. We can't wait to see where our future advice and tools take you!
create professional designs without being a professional
Creating your own images for your website can be a great way to show your personality and style. If you are thinking there is no way you could do something good enough, then one of these products may be for you.
- Adobe Photoshop
- This is a photo, image, and graphic design editing software. It allows users to design websites, posters, and mobile apps. Using this software you can create illustrations and 3D artwork, with the easy to use tools and built in templates.
- GIMP is a free and open source image editing platform. With the professional quality and features that can give Adobe Photoshop a run.
- Another free and open solution. This one is designed to be used by anyone from beginner to professional. The painting tool is capable of mirroring, smoothing, pressuring, layering and color blending. You can also make your own brushes.
My Go-To Favorite for Simplicity and Professionalism
I enjoy using Canva for many of my design projects. It is easy to use and you can use the simple drag and drop editor for free forever. You can use your designs on your website or print materials for your business. If you want to give your blog a personal edge then Canva is a great tool for this.
Check out their Design School to really learn how to create professional images. They have thought of all the digital basics for proper image sizes, the influence of color, and lots more.
use technology to help you get more done
There are so many apps and programs that can help you learn how to raise productivity and get everyone motivated and involved. With there being so many options to choose from I thought I would give you a short list. Checkout what I find useful. You may want to give a couple a try.
Wonderful Day - This app is here to keep us motivated. What makes this app great is that you can see your progress everyday. Getting your tasks completed gives you a green dot on your board and missing a task gives you a red one. Give this one a try and see how long you can make your chain.
Wunderlist - This one is great for not only work but home as well. You can organize and share your to-do list, work, grocery, and house hold lists. So any task and time is a great place to use this one. Seamless from personal to business.
Connecteam - Free branded employee app for collaboration to execute and improve your work productivity. You can create an app in 15 minutes for your employees to help them with time-sheets, employee communication, training and even checklists.
15Five - Boost employee performance, every week with this app. It can help you with OKR's, weekly checkins, 1 on 1s and more, Take a few minutes to check it out and see if it would work for you and your business.
Buffer - Buffer helps you manage your social media accounts. You can schedule posts, analyze performance and collaborate with your team all in one space, and on up to three social media accounts for free.
https://mailchimp.com/If you're "old school" and grew up with FranklinCovey planners, WeekPlan might be a great alternative to move you into the digital space. This software will coach you to improve your time management, focus on what's important and reduce urgency. Be able to block time for what matters. Plan your week so the important stuff doesn't fall through the cracks of busy. This is just one of the many possibilities for keeping your hectic life on track.
work with others efficiently and easily
Having a company that has mobile or remote workers can make getting everyone on the same page difficult or seem impossible. So having a great project management system is extremely important. Here are some of the ones that might work for you and your business and help keep you on top of things.
- Workzone - $24-$44/user/month
- This is a project management software that is great for company that are looking to scale quickly. If can give you a foundation to get your processes in order and be ready when all of those customers come knocking.
- Asana - Free-$9.99
- Great for small teams and one that is really affordable. It does not have a lot of features to overwhelm you when you are starting out.
- Tick Tick - Free-$27.99/user/year
- While similar to Wunderlist it has some features it's competitors don't. If your company needs things like, location reminders, integration with 3rd party calendars, and voice input with voice integration then Tick Tick is for you.
Trello for Project Management & Collaboration
We love Trello to keep things moving forward. We have a small team but lots of projects going on for managing all the services we provide and keeping track of where we are on client projects. It's like we have a project board with lots of post-it notes, but it's digital and everyone on our team can track where we are.
talk with others next door or across the country
Even if you don't have employees who work remotely you still need a good communication tool. Talking, texting, and emailing, we use them with co-workers and clients everyday so having the right communication tool is very important. Take a look at these and see if you think one would work for you.
- Skype - Free-$5.50/user/month
- At this point almost everyone has heard of Skype. People us it call talk to parents, kids, grand kids,and friends. So yes you can use it for business to. It may not be the newest but it is proven to work.
- Appear.In - Free-$9.99/month
- By far the easiest to use, you get your own "Room". There are no dial in options, but you can use it with audio only. We all have times when we just can use the video option.
- Fleep- Free-Custom
- Fleep is a messaging service that can almost make email pointless for communication. It works with Google Hangouts and email, you can contact people using the app even if they don't have it. It also allows you to pin important messages to the side of your conversation.
The important thing is communicating in a way that is effective for everyone involved.
Google Hangouts for Chatting via Text, Voice, and Video
Google Hangouts is awesome for texting images without having to give away your cellphone number! Just use the app to text, send an image to more clearly explain something, or just connect over video for a face-to-face conversation from desktop to cellphone.
software that helps you get ahead
Need help managing and monitoring your social media? There are a ton of good options out there. Taking the time to manage your social media accounts can be very time consuming, and eat up a huge chunk of your day. But by using one of the many tools available to you, you can set us your profiles to post automatically. By using one of these tools you can monitor, track followers, content statistics and have access to basic analytics is some cases. I know it can seem like a daunting process, but you will be so glad you made the choice to a management software.
Manage Your Social Channels from One Location
Hootsuite lets you manage all of your social media in one place. And is pretty simple to learn. You can schedule up to 30 posts at a time. That way you don't have to think or worry about your content getting out and to the right people. And another great thing about it, it's free for individuals. When you use it with one user you can have 3 social profiles all for free. And when you are starting your business free is good. If you take the time to look at this one I know you will enjoy using it.
Send Emails to Your Whole List or a Segment Easily
MailChimp, the world's leading platform for small business. They create innovative products that help their customers to grow. People all over the world use MailChimp to deliver their content to their customers. They offer so many features beyond marketing automation. Such as email templates, landing pages, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and many more. I know that I have enjoyed using MailChimp, and I think that you should give it a try and see how it can help you.
apps and tech that help you learn
These are just a few of the sites you can go to to learn new skills. When you are in charge of training and maintaining employees working knowledge, these could be a great resource for you and your growing company. Some do offer free trials and events that you can go to in person for free.
- General Assembly
- Consider a course in things like Digital Marketing and Product Management this site has so much to offer.
- Lynda.com has over 1,200 courses on business, and over 700 courses in design. You can explore a wide range of topics and help improve your skills and understanding. Lynda.com also gives you a free month to try it out and see if it works for you.
- TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas in a short format, talks 18 minutes or less. Today the conferences cover tons of topics and are in over 100 languages. If you go to their site you can watch videos on almost any topic you can think of. They also have a podcast of many of the TEDTalks. Learn about all kinds of things and experiences from many of the world's thought leaders.
- Udemy is a global marketplace for learning and teaching online where students are mastering new skills and achieving their goals by learning from an extensive library of over 80,000 courses taught by expert instructors. Lots of courses are around $10 each. Consider becoming certified in a topic through this great learning platform.
Listen to Podcasts & Learn
I know that sometimes it can seem like we have no time for anything but work. That is one reason I love podcasts. You can listen to them any time, and in almost any place. Next time you are folding laundry or going on a trip find one on a topic that you find interesting and learn something new while you are doing something old. There are podcasts on almost any topic, too!