As a small business working with other small businesses, we know all too well the day-to-day scenario of a business owner. Often you have to play the role of sales manager, copywriter, accountant, and some days, even cleaner. Small business owners often get stretched out with the multitude of daily tasks that other equally important aspects of their lives take the backseat.
Who doesn’t love a good life hack? You see so many of these hacks on Facebook or Instagram that are so simple yet ingenious (i.e. how to keep your straw from rising from your soda can). So we came up with a few life hacks using some of the most user-friendly digital tools available that will make running your small business easier and smarter.
- Never forget your password again.
We’re putting this up front because this is life changing not just for your small business but for your entire digital life – password managers. Like most people, you may have several email accounts, social accounts, banking accounts etc. Creating and remembering one strong password is hard enough, having one for all the sites you use is impossible! A password manager generates and saves secure passwords, so you only have to remember one to open your “vault” (make it a STRONG one). Read more about password managers here or just google “password manager”. You’ll thank us for it.
- Master your calendar.
There are heaps of calendar management tools available out there, but we love those that enable us to instantly sync across all devices. If you do your business mostly on Google apps (Gmail), then Google’s Calendar is an obvious choice. If your make personal and business schedules are across different applications, a tool like Calendly might be useful for integration so you don’t get double-booked.
- Don’t get drowned in social media tasks.
Social media presence is critical whether you are a B2B or B2C business, a multinational or a startup. But you don’t need to get swamped by social media posting if you do it yourself. Tools like HootSuite or Buffer allows you to manage multiple social accounts in one platform, as well as schedule posts in bulk and in advance. Facebook’s own scheduling feature enables you to schedule posts in advance directly from the platform.
- Email canned responses.
Consider the questions you get frequently asked by your customers. Losing patience and precious time copying, pasting and re-typing the same email response? Take the hassle out of sending emails by creating a master file of these questions. Then, create “canned responses” in your Gmail or Microsoft Outlook account, so that you simply choose a saved email template the next time you encounter a familiar question.
- Make collaborating easy peasy.
If you share tasks with a small team, tools like GSuite can make life easier. You can create a project tracker in Sheets or a client presentation in Slides. You can share with your team so everyone sees the latest version real-time. This saves you and your staff from the vicious cycle of attaching, downloading, revising, re-attaching files to emails.
- Write like a pro.
So maybe copywriting is not your industry, but all small business owners need to write mistake-free, grammatically correct, professional-sounding correspondence. Grammarly is a free tool that will spot spelling, punctuation or grammar errors so you can write confidently – in your email, Facebook, Linkedin – and everywhere else on the web.
- Don’t do it all by yourself.
As a small business permanent staff might be too expensive to maintain, but this doesn’t mean you have to do it all. Data entry, transcription, website management and maintenance (wink, wink), some sales, marketing (wink, wink) and customer service are a few things you can consider outsourcing. You can outsource tasks to fill gaps during busy seasons as well, for example, when you have events and need temporary staff to help out. Sure, you can try to do these yourself, but unless you have the a) technical expertise, and b) the time and patience to see through each task, you’ll probably do a mediocre job spreading yourself too thin.
Give these (digital) life hacks a try so you can focus on taking care of your customers and staying ahead of your competitors!