I’ve been using Google Apps for quite a while now and in my opinion it’s one of the best tools to use for working remotely. With GA, I can access my emails, calendar and documents from any PC, meaning that I can work anywhere in the world as long as I have a laptop and internet connection. This makes my service truly virtual!
The other great benefit of Google Apps is the Marketplace which has a range of applications that you can download to help you work more productively.
Here are 5 Google Apps productivity tools which I use that enable me to keep on top of my workload and run my business effectively.
Mavenlink – A collaboration tool for effective team work to help you manage projects, tasks, files, invoices and online payments. You can use the workspace to communicate with your team and share Google Docs and track tasks, as well as automatically sync milestone and project due dates with your Google calendar. You can also track your time, invoice clients and tie it all in with the work being done.
Insightly – A CRM and project management tool where you can add contacts, track leads and opportunities, and add projects, tasks, and reminders. You can organise contacts by tags so you can easily find people by organisation, profession, location etc.
AwayFind – Lets you set up mobile alerts for urgent emails that you receive related to specific people or topics. So you could set it up to alert you whenever a client sends an email. This means that you will always receive your important emails even when you don’t have access to your email system.
EchoSign – Allows you to sign contracts electronically online. Integrates with your Google Apps account so you can send Google Docs, spreadsheets, presentations, and other content for signature and have your customers sign it online in seconds. All communications sent through EchoSign are encrypted and you can send up to 5 documents a month for free.
GQueues – Task manager for Google Apps that integrates with your calendar. You can set up recurring tasks, delegate work via assignments, collaborate with co-workers, and set up email and SMS reminders for tasks with due dates. There’s even a mobile version so you can manage your tasks on the go.
So these are just some of the applications that you can add to your Google Apps account. I would love to hear what GA applications you use and can recommend – just drop a comment in the box below!
If you want to get more tips on how to manage your time and work effectively in your business, then download a copy of our guide “How to organise your workload so there’s more time for you“. This guide is packed full of time management tips as well as 10 online tools to help you work more productively. Click on the link to download the guide >> How to organise your workload
There are many great benefits to using cloud-based applications. OK, you have to pay a monthly fee rather than a one-off licence for software, but there are two distinct advantages. First of all, many cloud applications can integrate with each other which make it a massive time-saving tool versus having to use separate software to do the same tasks. Also, by having the information stored online, you don’t have to worry about losing it as you can access it from any PC.
So let’s take a look at some examples of how cloud applications work with each other.
The world is your office. Cloud computing allows you to work from anywhere in the world. So if you would like to have everything in one place which you can access from any PC then something like Google Apps could be just what you’re looking for. Not only can you access your emails, calendar and documents online, but you can use the many add-on applications to help you manage your time more effectively, whether it’s invoicing, database management or project collaboration.
Managing your contacts. Using a CRM (customer relationship management) system helps you to organise your customer information and manage your sales pipeline quickly and easily. Then once you’ve got that information online, you can use it in a variety of ways. For example, CapsuleCRM integrates with many cloud based applications such as MailChimp, Kashflow, and Xero.
Setting up an email marketing campaign. If you want to start sending out newsletters to your contacts, or perhaps have a sign up form on your website, then you’ll need to sign up to an email marketing program. For example, MailChimp does all this and integrates with Capsule, which means that you can quickly upload your contact information straight on to MailChimp without having to set up a list from scratch.
Sending out invites to events. Once you’ve got your email marketing campaign underway, you might want to invite your contacts to a workshop you’re holding. Eventbrite is one of the best known online event booking services and it integrates with Mailchimp. So you can either invite your whole MailChimp list or a segment who you think might be interested. Once the workshop has finished then you can upload the attendee list from Eventbrite.
Manage your accounts. Online accounting applications such as Kashflow and Xero both integrate with Capsule. This helps you to keep an eye on your cashflow as you can see what money is coming into your business and who your late payers are. So you can easily view your invoicing history against your sales projects – all from within Capsule.
The above examples should give you an idea of how working with cloud applications that integrate with each other can be a real time saving device. So if you’re not using cloud computing already, take time to have a closer look at the wide range of applications out there. Alternatively, take advice from a virtual assistant, many of whom already use cloud applications in their own business so understand how they can help you work more effectively in your business.
If you are struggling to set up or manage any of the above, then let us take the burden off your shoulders. Our virtual assistant services include managing your diary and emails, promoting events via Eventbrite and MailChimp, setting up and managing your CRM database, and doing basic bookkeeping and invoicing. Call us on 0845 0181016 for a free consultation or enquire online to see how we can help you save time and money in your business.
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