7 Super Useful Resources for Busy Business Owners

7 Super Useful Resources for Busy Business Owners

We’re all busy right? In the fast-paced life we lead, it’s great when a tool comes along that helps us run our business more efficiently – the trouble is there are a lot of them out there which have little or no benefit to users and in fact end up wasting us a lot of time.

Every now and again I come across websites that are really helpful and increase my efficiency dramatically. I want to share a few of these with you today. It would be great if you could share any gems you’ve found in the comments so this post becomes a really useful resource for others.

So here are some tools that you can start using immediately.

Nudge Mail – I love this tool and as I get to know more about it I use it more often. This clever system allows you to email it (without any kind of signup procedure) with a date or time that you want the email sent back (i.e. a nudge). The possibilities are endless. I think I might write a more detailed post about it in the future. If you practice GTD this is a great tool for you.

Evernote – There’s not much you can’t do with Evernote. Setup folders for documents, scans, emails, clips from webpages, images and pretty much everything else you might want to organise. If you need a central place for putting things in ‘the cloud’ this is as good as any.

Remember The Milk – Online to-do lists. I’ve set mine up in GTD style. You can email directly to this online system which means when it gets there you can categorise it. I use a tagging system that helps me pick tasks I want to do according to my mood (i.e. If I am in the mood for lots of sales calls – I have a tag for calls)

Adwords Keyword Tool - If you blog then you need to consider what people might be searching for in the likes of Google. This useful tool is great for finding out what people are ‘actually’ searching for, not just what you think they might be doing. Simply take your findings and make sure you craft your titles and articles around them.

Dropbox – Emailing large files can be a real pain. Email servers normally have a limit of about 10mb on them and quite often you might need to get larger files to other places. I recommend dropbox which is free for upto 2gb of storage.

Survey Monkey - Are you looking to run an online survey? Perhaps you want to get feedback from clients. Survey monkey is a great website which makes building a survey very simple and gives you fantastic feedback data and graphs the other side.

Eventbrite – Running a seminar or event and want to invite people? Want to charge but don’t have your own credit card facility? This website allows you to create an event and set a price (can also be free) and invite people to book online. It takes all the hard work out of it for you.

Have you found this post useful? This is the sort of thing I’ll be sharing more regularly with my friends who signup to my email list. It would be great to see you there – just pop your name and email addy in to the box on the homepage on the right hand side.

Now Your Thoughts

  • What tools do you use to increase efficiency? Let’s share and make this a useful resource in itself

Turnover for show, profit for dough

Turnover for show, profit for dough

It’s interesting when you think that the majority of people, having been asked the question, “how well is your company doing” or “how big is your company” would probably quote a turnover figure or number of employees. “Hey, I’m Billy big banana’s because I’m turning over 5m a year”, or “Yes, I am the man/woman, I have 100 employees”! I wouldn’t be surprised if the percentage of people in that scenario giving one of those two answers is in the 90%+ region. So how many give you their profit figures or margins? Not that many, maybe because they feel they don’t want to give away sensitive data and there is certainly a case for that but I just find the metrics we all seem to monitor our companies by publically to be a bit farcical.

Lets take a quick example – A 5m turnover company producing a profit of 100k and a 500k turnover company producing 80k – which would you rather have? I know which one I would! Think of the work required, the staffing, the redtape in the 5m turnover business all for just another 20k profit – starting to make sense? Yes I realise that small margin businesses could churn out a scenario like the one above comfortably but I’m trying to give a more general overview for the purpose of this post.

I also think, and this is the main reason for writing this post, that this whole topic has the potential to be a danger to young start-up’s who get caught up in their own hype – thinking they are doing well because of the inflated figures and then coming a cropper because they’ve not concentrated on what’s really important.

So, be careful of not getting caught in the trap of thinking success is in Turnover or how many staff you have. I’ve made that mistake myself on a number of occasions. To be fair, it’s quite easy in our industry to flatter your turnover figures because more often than not digital agencies will pay for online advertising on behalf of clients (services like Google Adwords) then simply bill this straight back to the client. This has the effect of inflating your turnover but doing absolutely nothing for your bottom line. If you’re in digital and want my advice, then I’ve tended to stay away from this altogether as it can cause cash flow issues and as we know “Cashflow is King

It’s vital in any business to keep an eye on management figures regularly. If you’re anything like me, in the early days you’ll probably know everything off by heart because you’re staring at it everyday. As you grow I recommend having monthly management meetings where you keep an eye on cash flow forecasts, monthly P & L’s and breakeven charts. Together, these figures give you a good snapshot of where you are as a business.

Stay on top of the numbers – don’t stick your head in the sand and hope they are not there…

Have a great week