If you’ve been in the world of e-commerce, you probably have a set of productivity tools you use on a regular basis, helping you save time and energy. For those of you who are new to the e-commerce world, I want to introduce you to a few low/no-cost solutions that I use on a daily basis that make my day go much smoother.
1. Basecamp – Free/Subscription (Subscription starting at $24/mo)
The product of 37signals, BaseCamp is a wonderful project management tool that’s fully web-based, so you never have to install any programs onto your computer. In basic terms, what Basecamp will do for you is to keep track of what you need to do, when you need to do it and assign tasks to anyone who is involved in the project. Because everything is hosted on servers, you can access Basecamp from where ever you have an Internet connection. Once you figure out how Basecamp works, it becomes an indispensable tool in your everyday work-flow. With Basecamp, collaborating with others is made easy and keeping track of important events is automated with their notification system which emails or texts you of upcoming events.
2. Highrise – Free/Subscription (Subscription starting at $24/mo)
Highrise is also a product of 37signals and is a easy to use contact management web tool. OK, so what’s contact management? Simply put, it’s a Rolodex that you can access on the Internet. What makes this better than a Rolodex is that anyone who has the right credentials can access the information through the Internet and catch up on the latest information about contacts. For example, if you contacted one of your key customers, you can enter their information along with a summary of your conversation and set reminders or next actions based on the last conversation. When it’s time for the next follow-up, anyone in charge of the customer can read the last summary to get a good idea of what was discussed prior to contacting them.
3. Clutterpad – Monthly Subscription (1-month free trial/Subscriptions start at $19/mo)
Although I don’t use Clutterpad at the moment, it’s a worthy mention as I tried their 1-month free trial. Clutterpad, a great alternative to the 37signals product line, is a great project management web-based tool that combines everything in one low priced package. It includes a to-do list, contact management, chat rooms, calendars, file storage, time tracking and much more for a great all-in-one solution for all your project management needs. Try out their 1-month trial and see how it works out for you.
4. 1Password – 30-day Free Trial (Buy at $39.95)
1Password is a secure password storage program that stores all your login information. With 1Password, all you need to remember is one master password to unlock the program and you’ll be able to securely login to all websites that require a login. 1Password also includes a strong password generator, which helps you create extremely strong passwords, which you’ll never have to remember because 1Password does all the work for you. Not only remembering and creating passwords, this program is also able to store other sensitive information such as, bank account numbers, program serial numbers, passport information, etc. Highly recommended for anyone that uses the Internet
5. Evernote® – Free/Subscription (Subscription starting at $5/mo)
Every business owner (anyone in fact) needs a good way to keep track of their ideas. Carrying around a notebook had been my choice up until recently, but after getting a smart phone and downloading the Evernote app, I’ve found that this is the best way to keep track of idea, notes, and photos whenever I get a stream of inspiration. Install Evernote on both your computer and your smart phone and automatically have them sync to keep all your information together.
6. Dropbox – Free/Subscription (Subscription starting at $9.99/mo)
I’ve been using Dropbox for a long time now and have been more than satisfied with how well it works. It’s a small application that runs on your computer and syncs a designated ‘Dropbox’ folder with Dropbox’s servers. This allows you to share computer files with anyone who has Dropbox installed on their computers. Files are synced in the background while you work and makes file sharing easier than ever before.
7. Grasshopper – Monthly Subscription (Starts at $9.99/mo)
If you have an e-commerce website, having a toll free number on your website increases credibility and trust in the eyes of the customer. For most e-commerce websites, it’s a must. Luckily, Grasshopper makes this easy by offering you a toll free number starting at only $9.99. Once you get your toll free number, you can have the phone calls forwarded to your cell phone, office phone or home phone. Another neat feature is the ability for Grasshopper to take voice mails and have them emailed to you, so you can listen to the voice mails through your email.
By using these tools, you’ll find that your productivity will increase significantly giving you the extra time needed to get your most important things done. Most all of these tools have free versions which make it easier for you to try out before you buy. For anyone aspiring to succeed as an entrepreneur will have to use their time wisely, which also means implementing tools that make things easier and efficient for maximum productivity. Let’s go make our own luck!
Have you used any of these tools above? Do you have any other programs/apps/subscription services that you use on a daily basis that make your business life easier? Let me know!
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