Nothing makes me happier than finding a cool new tool that make my business (and life) run more smoothly. Yes, I’m geeky that way. 😉
Wonder what we use here in the OBM offices? Here is a list of my favorites – the ones that I truly could not live without – and why I love them so.
* In the spirit of full disclosure there are affiliate links within this article, as indicated by a lovely little * beside the link.
1) TimeTrade (formerly TimeDriver) – Calendar & Scheduling Management
The day I started using TimeTrade to help schedule appointments was one of the best days of my business life. Instead of having to do that annoying “back and forth dance via email” to find a time to schedule meetings, I connect TimeTrade to my calendar and send folks a link with open times. They simply pick a time that works for them and voila! You are set… it’s dreamy, you must sign up for this, I insist. And at $29.95/year you can’t say no.
2) EchoSign* – Electronic Signature Service
Yes folks, there is a way for people to sign documents without having to fax or scan them in – woo hoo! We discovered this one just a few months back and were jumping up and down in glee. Instead of asking people to “fax back their agreements” for our courses and programs we send them a copy online and they do a virtual signature – it’s all legit and is SOOO much easier all around.
3) Dropbox* – File Sharing and Backup
I don’t know about you but I struggled to find a good backup service for years – I would either forget to use the service (if it wasn’t automatic) or it would hang up my system each time it was doing a backup. Enter Dropbox, which does a seamless “sync” of your files to their online servers – not only is it a backup, it also becomes a way to access your files from anywhere you like. You can also share folders with other people on your team (vs. always trying to send stuff via email). Love love love this tool, I would sing it from the mountain tops.
4) Instant Teleseminar* – Bridgeline Service
I will admit, I was a free bridgeline user for years. I had of course heard of Instant Teleseminar but was too cheap to fork out the $97/month… until I started using it and became hooked. I love how you can see who is online during the calls, you can mute/unmute individual folks easily and record calls with a click of the button. There is a webcast option that people love and even a way to share powerpoint presentations during a call. Plus it’s a paid service, so if you have trouble with your bridgeline you can call someone and say “help!” – which you can’t do with the freebie lines. Believe me, it is well worth the investment.
5) Central Desktop* – Project Management & Virtual Office
Ah the world of project management systems – there is a plethora of choices out there and I feel like I’ve tried them all. I started using Central Desktop a couple of years ago and it remains one of my favs. We use it for project management (keeping track of who is doing what) and also for all of our company files & information (how to do stuff aka SOP guide). It’s a pretty comprehensive system all around and functions very much as a virtual office space – plus they are great at tweaking/improving the system based on user feedback. I give this one a thumbs up.
You know what? I could keep on going as there are lots of other tools that I use and love so I’m going to do a Part 2… stay tuned for that.
What are your favorite tools? Do tell.