Sometimes, all it takes is one AMAZING tool to revolutionise your working day. But unless someone tells you about this tool, how are you going to know it exists?
Working with entrepreneurs, marketing experts, other VAs and techy types means that I’m often trying out suggested apps and extensions, some more successful than others.

Here is my latest list of 5 tools to keep my office as productive as can be :

Zoom – free video conferencing. If you love Skype but hate connection problems, maybe give Zoom a go. With personal meeting room URLs for users, and direct links for meeting rooms that are easy to share, it’s worth checking out as an alternative to Skype. The free version has more than enough features including video conferencing and mp4 recording, unlimited meetings, screen share, chat, instant and scheduled meetings and Chrome and Outlook extensions. Although 1 to 1 meetings have no time limit, group meetings do have a 40-minute limit. I particularly love the ‘raise hand’ option, which is great for team meetings. Paid versions are available.
Loom – Free screen and video recording software. Do you hate typing out feedback or trying to explain something which could be demonstrated visually so much better?  Loom is great for doing just that. An extension allows recording of your desktop and/or via webcam, much quicker than typing out  ‘How To’ instructions. A great way to share training or feedback with clients or colleagues.
Toggl – free time tracking software. Clients (and some new VAs) are intrigued how time can be accurately tracked. Toggl is available on the web, and as both a desktop and mobile app. Anyone who gets paid by the hour would benefit from using this, as clients, projects and tasks can be recorded and timed to the exact second and reporting can be carried out daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. In addition, it may be useful for some to simply track how long you are spending on particular projects.
Wave – Free financial software for small businesses. This does everything I need – I can invoice, scan in receipts using the mobile app, and link it to my banking. For one of my clients, I use it to process estimates, which can then be converted quickly and easily into an invoice – saving a lot of time from the previous manual Excel method. There are so many things you can set up on repeat (including automatically chasing outstanding invoices, repeat billing, repeat services) that I can’t see any reason why any small business would prefer to do this manually.
Buffer – free Social media management. The free individual plan has limitations – 3 accounts and 10 scheduled posts. This was the plan I used for a long time, topping my posts up each week. However, I decided  that $10 per month was money well spent to increase this to 10 accounts and 100 scheduled posts giving me the potential to schedule ahead a whole month of posts (and more) across numerous platforms and businesses/accounts  (Higher cost plans are also available). Add in analytics, the ability to set a calendar schedule, post now, next or add to queue and even order posts in popularity order to repost, Buffer is an excellent tool to keep on top of social media posting – although I dread the ‘Your Buffer is empty….” email.

Do any of these sound like they could be useful in your business?

Do you have any of your own recommendations for fellow business owners?

If you would like to chat more about any of these programmes or about other ways to save time and money in your business, drop me a line at info@deborahhoult.com.