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July 11, 2017

10 Critical Apps to Grow Your Business

By Special Guest
Felena Hanson, Founder of Hera Hub

Entrepreneurship is a grand adventure: daunting, thrilling, and a lot of hard work. As you grow your business, it’s easy to take on too much and to let key tasks slip through the cracks. The No. 1 way to stay on top of your game and scale effectively is to get organized!

Thankfully the Internet is brimming with apps to increase efficiency and organization. After years of fine-tuning my business and managing my growing team, I have go-to software tools that I use every day. I base everything on G-Suite - the integrations between mail/calendar/contacts and countless apps are critical to daily activity. Coordinating with a team, it is crucial to clearly map out our schedules and allow others to seamlessly collaborate. Add in these other tools and you’ll be coordinated, organized and ready to grow.

  1. Google Keep - Of course my first tool would be part of the Google (News - Alert) family.  Think of it as a digital notepad. Google Keep is the tool I use to store things I access multiple times a day.  It also acts as a bit of a journal for me. It syncs between all my devices so I always have my notes in my pocket!  This is free.
  2. Acuity Scheduling - Let clients see your availability and book calls or meetings at a time that works for both of you. Acuity Scheduling completely eliminates the back and forth “are you available at 2 p.m.?” frustration and automatically schedules meetings in your Google Calendar when you’re available. $10 per month.
  3. ToDoIst - I’ve tried so many “list” apps that I feel like I could write an entire article on this topic.  I recently starting using, and love, ToDoist because of its clean interface, ease of use and simple integration to schedule tasks within Google Calendar. $29 per year.
  4. PipeDrive - While we use Zoho for Hera Hub, I like Pipedrive to track our expansion leads. If you don’t have a ton of leads to manage and are a visual person, like me, it’s a powerful tool for monitoring your pipeline and setting follow up tasks with your team. $10 per month.
  5. Trello - This tool can be used for so many things but we’ve found great success using it for basic project management, especially for remote team members.  Again, I’m drawn to the sticky-note-like visual nature.  Assign tasks to team members and connect due dates to your Google calendar... it all integrates seamlessly.  Free, with paid plans for additional features.
  6. Buffer - Social media needs managing. Buffer is the tool my team uses to manage and schedule posts for all our social media accounts. Buffer connects to our calendars so the team is able to see what is happening across all our social accounts. $10 per month.
  7. UberConference - For conference calls and virtual meetings, UberConference is easy to use for all parties and allows calls to be recorded.  I used to fumble with Skype (News - Alert) or WhatsApp for my international calls (which I have weekly).  Now I have everyone connect with me on this platform so we don’t have to mess with… “What is your handle?  I can’t find you”... minutes before the call.  We use this platform to record our podcast, Flight Club.  Free, with paid plans for additional features.
  8. Zoom - While regular conference calls can be convenient, everyone talking over each other can be very frustrating.  While other platforms offer video (like Skype), the ease of adding a number of people to your call (and recording it) is much easier with Zoom.  We do monthly video calls with our licensees and location directors all around the world.  It’s so important to see each other’s faces when sharing ideas and input.  AND… no one ever accidentally talks over each other!  Free, with paid plans for additional features.
  9. Boomerang (Chrome Extension) - Ever wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep?  Are you like me and think… I’ll just work for a little bit.  Find yourself sending out emails at 2 a.m. just to have everyone know you are an insomniac!?!  Add Boomerang for Gmail to both delay sending those middle-of-the-night emails and also get a nudge when someone doesn’t respond to your email within a designated period of time. This is a game changer for all those sent emails that would otherwise go forgotten. Free.
  10. Rapportive (Chrome Extension) - In the last four-five years, I’ve grown my LinkedIn (News - Alert) connections to over 11,000 simply by using this tool.  Rapportive pulls the LinkedIn profiles of anyone who emails you (even if they are CC’d) and allows you to send an invite without leaving Gmail. 

BONUS...

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Zapier for integration.  It allows us to get our various software platforms talking to each other and exchanging information.  As a tip, pay someone to set your “zaps” up correctly and monitor them monthly.  Sometimes the connection link will break when the various software platforms come out with updates.

Productivity apps and tools are so prevalent, it’s possible to become less productive while you sift through them all. Test out my tried and true tools, and get to work on growing your business!

About the Author

Felena Hanson is the founder of Hera Hub, a spa-inspired shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs, and author of Flight Club - Rebel, Reinvent, and Thrive: How to Launch Your Dream Business, which provides tools and resources to women in every stage of launching their business. For more information, please visit, www.herahub.com and connect with Felena on Twitter (News - Alert), @felenahanson.




Edited by Alicia Young
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