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4 Online Business Tools That Will Make You More Productive

With all of the technology available today, it is easier than ever to start a business.   You can be the CEO, CFO, CMO and COO all at the same time with the help of several online applications.  But it can also be overwhelming with too many choices and too much information and not a clear understanding about what is right for your needs.

With all of the technology available today, it is easier than ever to start a business.   You can be the CEO, CFO, CMO and COO all at the same time with the help of several online applications.  But it can also be overwhelming with too many choices and too much information and not a clear understanding about what is right for your needs.

There are several programs or software packages that I find are key to running my business that help with productivity, project management, and accounting.  Whether you are a solopreneur or working with a team, each of these tools offers automation and organization that will help you feel in better control of your business.

Also, if you are just starting out, many of these applications offer free versions so that you can test drive them before upgrading or buying enterprise versions.   Let’s take a look at my favorites:

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Evernote – I consider Evernote my online notebook and file cabinet. It keeps “notes” that can be tagged and organized in different notebooks.  You can share notebooks with other people and you can email information into and out of Evernote.  It’s great for keeping track of client files, idea files and notes, household information and keeping track of odd bits of information that you don’t know what else to do with.

  •  Cost: Free or get the Premium version for $5/month or $5/year which offers more storage, advanced search and upgraded sharing capabilities.
  • The Evernote app is key for adding or updating notes on the go as well as retrieving information no matter where you are.

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Google Drive / Docs – Whether you need to share files with others or you just want to be able to access your own files and information from anywhere, Google Drive offers a free online file storage system.  You can install Google Drive onto your computer, so that saving files within Google Drive is as easy saving them into any other file folder on your computer.  Once saved or created within Google Drive, files can be shared with others via email or sharing a link to the file and you have control over whether people can see or edit your shared files too.

  • Cost: Free up to 15GB
  • The Google Drive app is helpful for accessing information on your smartphone or tablet, when you can’t get to a computer.
  • Alternative:  If you are not a fan of all things, Google, DropBox is another option for storing files in the cloud and is particularly good for sharing images or large media files and you don’t have to log into DropBox to access anything that has been shared with you.

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Basecamp – I recently started using Basecamp as a project management tool that is fantastic for working with virtual teams on managing numerous projects and to-do lists.  (Thanks to Kate Schell of KTS Business Support for getting me started on this program!) Basecamp cleverly integrates unlimited projects and related to-do lists into a calendar and also automatically emails you updates and deadlines and discussions.

  • Cost: Starts at $20/month for 10 projects and 3 GB space
  • The Basecamp app allows you to add and check off items while on the go.

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Quickbooks
:  I feel really official now that I am using an accounting software program and it beats the heck out of trying to run my business with a mess of Excel spreadsheets.  The biggest bonus is the ability to accurately track your income and expenses and have real-time financial picture.  When your business grows, Quickbooks can handle payroll taxes and reporting too.

  • Cost:  Software package runs approx. $175 and the online version starts at $6.95/month.
  • The app is available only if you are using online version.
  • Alternative:  If your are freelancer or consultant and accounting is not your thing, you might take a look at Freshbooks which is simpler to set up, has a user -friendly time tracker feature and creates a turn-key online payment system.

So that’s the list of the top tools in my productivity toolbox.   Next post, we’ll look specifically at  “3 Essential Tools to Rock Your Online Marketing Platform.”

In the meantime, I would love to hear from you in the comments about your favorite productivity tools or what your experiences have been with Evernote, Google Drive, Basecamp or Quickbooks. Thanks.