Small Business Tools: Day to Day Hacks

Lauren checking in with the Campfire team from Ojai, California

Lauren checking in with the Campfire team from Ojai, California

For any small business, one of the biggest eye openers early on is how much time you spend doing random little things everyday that aren't technically the service or product you sell. From managing e-mail and data storage to editing photos and staying organized, it can all add up pretty quickly. Finding those great day to day hacks that save you time and money is really imperative. Here are some of our favorite tools and apps that help us on a daily basis to manage it all: 

Dropbox – Our personal favorite way to store all of your data on the cloud. You can use the free option (up to 2 GB of storage) or $10 per month for a terabyte (1,000 GB) of data. You can easily share folders, mirror files to your hard drive, and access your data anywhere. There’s also a handy app for accessing files from your phone. Not to mention, your data is backed up and protected from hardware failures. 

Google Drive – Another great cloud storage system (and this one is completely free!). Everything is synced and linked in with your Gmail account so it makes it really easy to access files. We love using Google Drive’s Docs app for working on collaborative documents, spreadsheets, etc. It’s definitely the best tool for real time updates with dealing with multiple editors. You can also attach shared Google Docs to your Trello boards (see below!) 

Trello – Keeping on top of your to do lists and tasks seems impossible some days. We've found Trello to be a lifesaver when working on multiple projects with multiple team members. Whether its project tasks or just cataloguing ideas Trello is a lovely way to keep to-do lists (simple and complex) close by no matter where you are (web, mobile, etc). You can attach documents, assign tasks to individual members, archive items when they're done and you can customize backgrounds to make your lists extra awesome to look at. It's an incredibly versatile tool that the entire Campfire & Co team uses daily.

Mailbox App – Designed by the same folks as Dropbox, the Mailbox App for your phone lets you easily swipe away e-mails you can't deal with now. The app allows you to schedule the right time for those e-mails to pop back up, whether that's later today, this weekend, or next month. You can also set a specific date for e-mails to come back to you, for example, concert tickets or directions to a meeting. Super handy for on the go e-mail management. 

Canned Responses – Speaking of e-mail, one of the best day to day hacks we've recently started using is the ‘canned responses’ Gmail add on (find it in the Labs tab under gmail Settings). You can save common e-mail responses and easily access and add them in the body of a new e-mail. It’s a huge time saver and one of our favorite things to set up for clients as part of a marketing plan. 

Scanner Pro and Scannable Apps – Receipts! Tax documents! So many important papers to save! Both of these are great apps for direct to PDF scanning. It instantly edits your image to a flat, bright white document that's easy to read. You can rename it and file in your Dropbox folders all from inside the app!

VSCO Cam App – Sharing imagery is such a huge part of social media these days. The VSCO Cam App is our photo editor of choice for transforming those indoor meeting shots with terrible lighting into Instagram worthy pics. Pro Tip: Find one or two filters you love and always use them. This will help give all of your images an overall consistency and contribute to your brand recognition (especially on Instagram). 

Typeform – Move over SurveyMonkey... Typeform is a great new alternative to boring surveys for gathering client or customer data with a beautiful and minimal user interface. You can customize your font and colors, add images and more. For basic users, it’s completely free! 

FontPreview App – This is a personal favorite for us in the design world. Easily view your text of choice in dozens of fonts simultaneously. Search for font types and more.  

The Clipping Factory – Have a product based business? Good photography is daunting, time consuming, and absolutely essential. The Clipping Factory will edit your moderately terrible iPhone photos onto smooth, clean white backgrounds for roughly $2 an image in a mere 24 hour turn around! (We promise the service is not a reflection of their website, we know, it's terrible.)

 

What are you all using to help manage the little day to day tasks? Tell us in the comments!