As most of you know I love systems and I wanted to share the systems I use in my business everyday. Below I outline the tools I use to manage myself, my time, my team and my business.
I use an iPhone. All of my email, calendaring & contacts filter through google apps which allows me to access all of this information through the online interface on my iPhone, iPad or Mac, no syncing required, it’s real time!
I’m also an information lover. I am constantly reading books, listening to mp3’s and coming across useful information on the internet. To keep track of it all, I use an online system called Evernote. It has many uses but I mainly use it as an electronic filing cabinet. There is a feature called “clip to Evernote” for your browser that allows you to “print” an interesting website page or part of a page to Evernote and then tag it appropriately. Later, if you’re looking for information that you found about Facebook for example, you search for the tag ”facebook” and peruse the notes that appear under that tag to find the article. I also use it to keep a list of books to buy that I come across.
Managing my business
For managing the bookwork of my business I use an online accounting system called Saasu. Not only is it simple to use but you can also give your accountant/bookkeeper access to either do the work for you or to check what you have been doing. It has payroll, foreign currency and you pay a flat subscription fee monthly or yearly that includes all updates. The best thing is you can try it for free to see if you like it!
I also use Highrise, an online customer relationship management tool to manage my marketing funnel database of leads, prospects, clients and where they are in that process. I use this as a follow up mechanism for each stage of marketing to be done.
We manage our files internally with Dropbox. It’s a great system that utilises cloud technology to allow access to your files no matter where you are. When you work with a team in different geographical locations this system makes working virtually so much easier. When we’re exchanging files with external parties to our business we prefer to use Box.net another online file sharing system. We use two different systems as Box.net allows access to sub folders in directories.
My marketing calendar and tasks however are in Backpack. This is a great online tool that allows you to create pages for your strategy and plot the particular tasks associated with that strategy into the calendar so you know exactly what you should be doing to achieve your marketing goals. The calendar then synchronises with your chosen calendar (i.e. Outlook, Google etc) so you can see these tasks at a glance beside your normal calendar when planning your weeks.
I also use a year-at-a-glance wall planner for my marketing, so I can see the entire year at a glance, not just month by month.
Managing teams and projects
As our team do not always see each other in person, we needed a way to communicate with each other on issues that may have arisen and tasks to be completed. We found our solution with TeamworkPM Not only does it allow you to communicate with your team by project, you can also invite others to contribute or have access to the project. It is brilliant for tracking messages and their status. It saves a lot of time because you no longer have to search your inbox for related emails on a single subject. You can also assign and cross items off a common to-do list, and post information in notebooks. You can upload multiple versions of files. Everything is in one central place. It’s a great collaboration tool that can be used amongst your team.
Not all of us are comfortable using technology-based systems and yet there are some of us that use them extensively. I tend to use the best bits of many systems to create an “overall system” that works for me.
Do my systems evolve? Of course! I gravitate towards systems more or less depending on what projects I am working on at the time. Will I be using all of these systems in the same way next year? Maybe not, but one thing’s for sure, I will always use systems to enhance productivity for my business.