MARKETING TIPS #5: Make your life easier with free apps and cloud collaboration tools

As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats, juggling marketing and finances with sales and operations. Make your life easier with the right apps, either free or low cost.

William Buist from xTen suggests checking out Evernote for business cards and HootSuite for social media management.

Entrepreneur Taimur Khan recommends productivity app – which can keep all your emails and documents in one place and make billing for your time quicker and easier.

Starting and running a small business has never been cheap or easy, and these apps make the process a bit simpler and more affordable. Accounting (Xero, Freshbooks, Sage) CRM (Capsule, Nimble) Marketing automation (Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, etc), Documents, Presentations etc. (Office365, Google Apps) Mobile video chats (Hangouts, Facetime, Skype) mean that no matter where clients, consultants or suppliers are located you can collaborate and talk in real time, all from your smart phone.

Planning what you use and why, who else needs access and when, are key strategic questions. 2015 is the year these tools really deliver directly to your bottom line.

Back to Marketing Tips #4

More information on our PR and Media Skills Course at your business

Stop important tasks falling through the cracks

Whether you are a sole trader or manage a team of dozens, you need to ensure that the work that needs doing gets done – correctly and on time.

So how do you prevent the important (and even the not-so-important) tasks falling through the cracks?

Mike Smith from Ripley Training recommends:

1) Delegate to your team

Share the load with your team and stretch your team members with new challenges – motivate your team members to new heights. It can actually be that simple if you are willing to let go and show trust in your team.

2) Recognise the tasks you `like’ doing that do not maximise your skills

Recognise the `like’ jobs you have not delegated so they passed across to your team members.

3) Consider who is the best person to take on the role – skilled in this area or someone your wish to challenge/develop

Before you start recruit, ensure you outline the essential and desirable attributes of the ideal person.

4) Ensure you plan to delegate the work by a specific date

These are a few simple steps to ensure you’re in touch with your team:

1. Define with the outcome in mind
2. Set clear deadline(s) for everything you delegate
3. Ensure the team member has understood the task by asking them to summarise back to you
4. Agree regular touch points with the person to ensure the work is progressing
5. Utilising technology, use either an online project management tool or a spreadsheet that can be updated by the person and viewed by yourself to get updates on progress

5) Records everything you have agreed

Many managers hold too information in their heads. It is very important to have a system to note what you have agreed with your team members including dates for completion. This information should be used in the touch points and/or one to one meetings to review progress.

By applying these tips you will ensure team members have clear expectations when it comes to addressing important/urgent work in the business. Although that doesn’t guarantee there won’t be any problems, it does mean that you’ll spot them sooner and have more time to deal with them.

Need help in getting it right then join us on our Effective Leadership and Management Skills or our Effective Time Management Skills Courses.

Effective Time Management – How to manage your time more effectively

We all have the same 10,080 minutes in a week. But why is it that some people are just so much more productive with their time? Does it sometimes feel like time is slipping away and you haven’t finished all of your tasks? We’re taking a look at time management and how you can manage your time more effectively.

“There are no secrets to success. Don’t waste time looking for them. Success is the result of hard work, persistence and learning from failure.”

- Colin Powell Continue reading

What is effective time management?

Being effective with your time means applying a set of simple but yet effective tools to allow you to:
• Be more prepared and organised for meetings
• Recognise where you can negotiate deadlines and in some instances, refuse excessive amounts of workloads whilst eliminating time wastages
• Effectively manage and monitor project progress as well as recognising the resource (time) required to ensure the quality and quantity is achieved on time
• Judge the urgency and importance of your tasks
• Plan ahead ensuring long term projects are not ignored and progressed in good time
• Plan and organise your workload each day/week effectively
• Apply a consistent level of self-discipline

5 Steps to better Time Management

Invest just ten minutes of your time to ask yourself FIVE simple but effective questions:

1. STOP – What can I stop doing at work or home that will not have a negative impact on you or others?

2. CUT BACK – Is there anything you can cut back on without having a negative impact on you or others?

3. RETAIN – What do I really need to continue doing to help me, my business and others?

4. INCREASE – What activity do I need to increase in the coming days, weeks and months?

5. COMMENCE – What haven’t I started yet and need to take forward? What will have a positive impact on me, my business and others?

By taking these simple steps and commiting yourself to making these changes SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) you will make a difference to how you use your time more effectively, have a positive effect on your performance and those around you at work and at home.

Best of Luck!

More information on our Time Management Course

If you need help in reviewing how you or the members of your team become better at how they manage time then contact us on 01423 861122 or email us at