Do you find that you frequently feel insanely disorganized in your day to day business and work?
I know I sure do. Just about every day I have a dozen support tickets, hundreds of emails, blog posts, quality assurance testing, web and interaction design, and endless planning. There are times that I feel I will never catch up with all of it.
For my job, I use several software systems that make it a heck of a lot easier to keep up with everything. If I didn’t, I imagine my roommate would find someone who looked like this every night.
So what kinds of software systems could you use to help grow your service based business? If you’re the owner of a learning center, for instance, how can online organizer tools help to make you feel more in control of your daily work? What about beauticians who require appointments for their business? Therapists? Doctors?
All these small business professionals have to field dozens of communications in order to keep clients happy while balancing it with time spent growing their business.
Below are 4 free tools used by service professionals to help maximize their time and automate some work tasks.
Free Task Management with Asana
Asana is literally one of the best online organizer software systems I have ever used. I used to use it to
It allows you to assign tasks to people with multiple sub tasks and attachments. The comment threads send out emails automatically and if people respond to the emails, their responses are captured as comments. track daily tasks for a software team I worked on. Then I used it to track multiple overlapping projects between different women I was leading in a women’s entrepreneurship class.
You can attach files and due dates to all tasks and sub tasks. The grouping logic that this task management system uses is absolutely the most intuitive thing you’ve ever experienced within a software.
This is great for any business that has to assign tasks to either other co-workers. Plus, it’s free for up to 15 users which makes it more than reasonable for small teams looking to save on their monthly expenses.
For learning or tutoring centers who have to manage assignments or projects to larger groups of students, Asana is really affordable at a larger scale, and for the headache it saves I’d say it’s more than worth it. It can manage everything from task lists as you’re managing your family referral network to following up with students in their homework or ongoing assignments.
Manage Your Contacts with Highrise
You may have heard of Highrise, a software system that’s part of the brilliant 37signals braintrust (also created Basecamp).
Their free crm is a no-frills solution to keeping all of your contacts under 1 roof. They also have pretty affordable solutions for plans with multiple user accounts, too.
Using Highrise will make it easy to keep up with what emails and discussion topics you hit on with your most recent interactions with contacts. It allows you to plan next steps and schedule reminders to send follow up notes x days after your interactions.
The support team over at Highrise is top-notch, too, and understand all too well how overwhelming it can be to keep up with what was said to which contact and where that contact was in your leads funnel.
If you’re looking for a solid starter CRM that you can easily grow with on a paid plan when the time is right, try out Highrise.
Automate Your Social Media with Hootsuite
I’m not sure how social media managers would keep up with their workload without the help of social media management tools like Hootsuite. For the small business owner or independent service provider, I’m not sure you can make a difference on social media at all without the help of some kind of automation tool.
My favorite is Hootsuite because of the power of their free plan. If you happen to need more social profiles, the Pro account is extremely affordable at just under $10 per month.
With a social management tool, you can set aside one morning or evening a week to plan your social posts for the coming week. This keeps you from feeling like you need to check in on each platform throughout the day if you’re starting a social media initiative.
Get Your Appointments on Lock with TimeTap’s Web Scheduler
As we’ve discussed before, a web scheduler can have a huge effect on your productivity, but it can also be used to really grow your business.
The best free net scheduler solutions that are out there will allow you to embed the web scheduler on your website and capture clients who are interested in scheduling free consultations with you.
This works better than calling for many people if they are considering booking an appointment late at night after your office is closed or if they’re not in a place where it’s appropriate to make a phone call. They can easily do it from their mobile phones and it serves to lower the threshold folks have to cross in order to become your new leads or (hopefully) your new client.
These are just tools to help manage your tasks, contacts, social media, and appointments on a small budget. Each will help you to feel more in control of your daily tasks, but can be built upon when the time’s right to increase your subscription.
If you’re a learning center tutor or owner, make sure to grab our free guide on growing referrals for your learning center. It’ll walk you through setting expectations for all the families that enlist their kids at your tutoring center.
What about you? Are there any software tools you’ve used to help grow or manage tasks in your service-based business? If so, please tell us about them or share links to them in the comments below.