The 5 Business Tools I Can’t Do Without

Business Tools

Running a distributed team can be difficult, however I have found some fantastic tools that allow me to utilize the power of the Internet for collaboration.

The key to running a successful business is effective communication, this is the focus of my suite of online tools.

I’ve selected our top 5 tools that allow us to be productive everyday.

What these tools have in common are their ease of use, and their ability to play well with each other.

One item that I seek in every cloud based tool is scalability.

If I grow my team, how hard is it going to be to add another member or grow my database on the service.

Here’s a quick overview:

  • Buffer is my social sharing tool.
  • Trello is my content organization tool.
  • HipChat is my virtual office chat tool.
  • iDoneThis is my workday progress snapshot.
  • WordPress is my website content management system.

Buffer — strategic social sharing

Buffer1 I use Buffer to share quotes, blog posts, content updates, etc. that I feel my friends and followers would like on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Buffer2 Buffer allows me to strategically share information. I can schedule my social media posts by filling up my buffer with different photos, quotes, blogs etc. and space them out to post at optimal times on each social channel.

This allows me to not overload my feed at certain times of the day. Because I can take care of a weeks worth of posting in an hour, I am able to not spend as much time on social media throughout my day.

I can also easily add something to my buffer waiting area through my phone, browser or on their website.

Right now I am using the personal account for Buffer, however they offer a business plan that allows you to connect up to 25 different social media accounts at once.

Trello — handy content organizer

I love Trello and it’s simplistic approach to keeping my projects organized. Trello uses a storyboard setup that is extremely useful when managing projects in a small team environment. Trello1 I use Trello to store ideas, pr pitches, notes for my team and other process driven tasks. You can separate your different projects into “boards” and keep track of each task as a card.

The  cards are able to move from stage to stage through your process in a very visual streamlined way. Trello has allowed me to very easily keep track of complicated projects with many moving parts.

 

HipChat — virtual office space

I work with a distributed team, as well as consult with a lot of international clientele.

It’s not always easy or cheap to get together face to face, HipChat allows us to keep connected remotely.

This group chat / instant message tool is how we can easily communicate whether we are out to lunch, at the gym or lounging by the pool.

The ease of use is great as many clients I consult with are often not as eager to adopt a new technology, this can be used either on a smartphone or computer.

Hipchat

I use HipChat for everything from answering quick questions to getting updates on a project’s status.

Because the program offers real-time communication that is not disruptive to my day like a text message would be, it allows me to step away and disconnect.

 

iDoneThis — simple syncing

IDoneThis provides a quick view of the previous day’s work so I can start on the right foot in the morning.

This is a great simple tool that allows me to keep a one track workflow without having to go over work I’ve already accomplished.

At the end of the day I answer “What did you get done today?” and the next day my team gets a response of the day’s digest which is also recorded in the calendar.

IDoneThis

IDoneThis allows me to avoid redundancy.

This is extremely helpful when I am working on complicated projects like app development.

Because my work isn’t packaged neatly in one area, this tool keeps my team on task and of one mind when tackling project management.

 

WordPress — open source content management system

WordPress is the best content management system in terms of flexibility.

This is a free software that you can install on your website hosting server to build websites, CRM systems, social media platforms, etc.

Because this platform is open source, it lends itself to being constantly updated as the Internet changes. You never have to worry about your website “not working” online.

The backend of the website is as easy to work as Microsoft word. I am able to train my team how to use the site within a few hours and they are able to build complex web pages delivering amazing content.

Wordpress

The best feature as I see it is not the ability to change the use of the system, but the ability to add users to the backend with permissions.

This allows you to add contributors, editors and administrators to your website without compromising security.

You can download the latest version of WordPress here.

 

What are some of your favorite online tools that I may have missed?

  • Ann Porter

    Joel I loved this post! These are some amazing tools and most of them are free. My favorite so far is Trello, but I have yet to dive into the others.