We asked twelve entrepreneurs to share how they use technology to improve business productivity and here’s what they had to say:
1. Hold virtual meetings with Asana.
“We meet virtually as much as possible via the online task tracker Asana. This allows all of our team members to instantaneously update progress on any given task or project, and we can access this information from anywhere. This saves immense amounts of time by minimizing and streamlining internal meetings. This allows us to easily and efficiently stay up to date.”
2. Prioritize sales opportunities with cloud based CRM tools like Zoho.
“Finding the right technology solution is critical for small business owners. We use Zoho.com, a web based CRM (customer relation management) tool, to manage our client pipeline. This tool helps us focus on the important tasks that need to be done each day. The ability to set up ‘potentials’ keeps serious inquiries front and center. Using a CRM tool effectively will help prevent profitable business from falling through the cracks.”
3. Mange a global team with online project management tools like Wrike.
“My employees are located all around the world. Thanks to the Web 2.0 project management tool, we are able to pass any task effectively through multiple time zones and get a 3-day job done in 1 day. This is particularly effective and profitable when you have a very limited time to create something and every second counts. For instance, we can create big, high-quality gold market reports based on Thursday’s closing prices and have it delivered when or before the markets open on Friday. Without applying the Web 2.0 technology it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to create even half of them by that time. Yes, you have e-mail and other means of communication, but when the work is done simultaneously by several people it’s easy to lose track and efficiency.”
4. Move your business into the cloud.
“We are a small team of just 4, plus interns. Last year we took the business entirely into the cloud from Google Mail for business to Quickbooks Online, Vocus PR software, Dropbox, Evernote, FTP hosting, and more. In addition to the obvious file sharing capabilities, it’s made it easier for me as the business leader and entrepreneur to be just as effective while traveling as I am in the office. It’s saved me money in equipment costs [as well]. Notably during Hurricane Sandy when we were all working from home for a week we were still able to have the exact same email interface that we did at the office and [were able] to be just as effective.”
5. Invest in robust customer relations management (CRM) tools like Salesforce.
“Moving away from an Excel-based customer tracking system to Salesforce has boosted both productivity and efficiency. Our team has access to the most up to date client information and can collaborate in real time. The right CRM makes it possible to easily pick up where your team member has left off in the event of sickness or, worse yet, turnover. Keep apprised of your business efforts, maintain critical client information in-house, and keep your customers satisfied by investing in a CRM system today.”
6. Measure your non-work-related behavior using UP by Jawbone.
“Many entrepreneurs tend to be good at measuring work related items, but we sometimes forget the other essentials. I’ve recently started using UP by Jawbone to track my sleep, diet, and exercise, and it has made me much more productive and efficient, with not only my startup but also, in every aspect of my life. It put a spotlight on poor decisions (bad meals, little sleep, sitting at a desk too long) that were draining my energy and allowed me to take corrective actions. Now I wake up refreshed, eat meals that maintain my energy level, and I am reminded to step away every so often for a game of ping-pong or a walk. Our company will now offer one to every new hire so we can help promote a healthy lifestyle and have some friendly competition around the office.”