With Christmas upon us, thoughts about the New Year aren’t far behind. For many of us, we start to consider what it is we’d like to achieve. What do we want to build? What do we want to leave behind? What changes, ideas, and innovations can we implement to give ourselves space for expansive and exciting growth?
For small business owners, the notion of growth can be both exhilarating - and terrifying. Balancing overhead alongside opportunity is not for the faint of heart. There may be natural areas you can identify that are ripe for attention, but the thought of bringing on another employee to give you the muscle you need is prohibitive.
Before the resolutions kick in in earnest, I’d encourage you to take a step back and look at the year that’s been. What’s worked well for you and your team? Where are your pain points? Are there areas where simple, innovative changes could make a world of difference to your output and success rates?
Take the time...
No matter how our workflows and habits change as new technologies emerge, the need to communicate with our teams, clients and collaborators will always remain a top priority.
Face-to-face meetings with clients have morphed into email chains and Dropbox links. Conversations that previously took place on a coffee break or huddled around a whiteboard take place remotely, via text, video call, and file exchange.
While there’s a lot to be said for the freedom new technologies offer us in our work environments, sometimes it’s more difficult to explain or introduce simple concepts without the power of immediate, seamless visual tools.
As usual, there’s an app for that.
CloudApp provides intuitive solutions for screen sharing and recording designed to improve workflows. They’ve got a strong focus on visual communication, understanding that time can be saved when ideas can be shared and engaged with visually. Its top level features include...
Video calls have a tendency to get a bad rap. When they do, it’s generally deserved - perhaps as a result of a conference call gone wrong, buggy software and apps, or the most unfortunate of moments when someone doesn’t quite realise the camera’s still on.
Video call etiquette - I can’t help with that. The rest? There’s a few easy solutions.
When video calls work, they work well. Video calls can be integral for remote teams looking to connect and brainstorm together. They’re also great tools for connecting with clients from afar with the additional benefits that emails alone don’t offer.
In order to keep your video calls from coming to screeching, awkward halts as a result of avoidable technical difficulties, look into using one of these trusted workhorse video call apps to soothe your frustrations.
Here's a special Apps I Love highlight, and a pretty nice opportunity for those of you looking to enrich your online presence, sales funnels and customer engagement.
If you’re yet to discover Kajabi, allow me to introduce you. Kajabi’s built itself a reputation as the #1 Knowledge Commerce platform for digital entrepreneurs who are looking to teach others in an online environment. Kajabi hands you every tool you could need to build online engagement, including…
I’m sure if we all stopped to pause and genuinely consider our digital hygiene, we’d be more than a little uncomfortable with the results. A recent episode of Reply All saw podcast host Alex Goldman ask an online security expert to hack his personal details as an experiment. When the results came back, he was horrified rather than amused. Not only were former and current internet passwords easily accessible, but so were details around his home address, his accounts, his family, and more. Alex was tasked with a lengthy process to clean up his online security, and the first thing he implemented was a password manager.
When we use passwords that are common, easily guessed, or when the same password is used all over the place, we’re asking for trouble. Too much of our world now exists in a virtual space to leave an easy back door open.
Dashlane is a password manager app that provides an easy solution, killing two birds with one stone. It suggests and sets...
‘Looking forward to meeting. How’s 3pm Tuesday?’
‘No can do unfortunately… how about 1.30pm Wednesday? Or 4pm Wednesday?’
‘I’m at an all day event. Monday week?’
Spotted in the wild: two time-pressed individuals trying to book in one half-hour meeting. By the time the meeting’s locked, it’s taken almost as much time in back-and-forth, pop-up email distractions, and flipping through calendars to make it happen.
There’s a far better solution.
The rise of online scheduling has given birth to a wave of apps that do what they say they will: simplify scheduling for both parties and remove mental clutter from your daily task list. There’s more than one good option to choose from:
Some people have the gift of organisation. Their beds are made each morning. Their belongings are put away where they should be. Their desks are pristine, not a paper out of place.
And then there’s the hoarders, the multitaskers, the I’ll-get-to-it type. Their office desks look a little different. Generally, there’s some towering piles of files yet to be put away, perhaps some receipts that need to be handed over to accounts, a contract to be signed, a proposal for review. Except… none of these things have stayed in the place they were meant to. Instead, it’s just a big pile of stuff, getting in the way of the real work.
The first kinds of people are rare. The rest of us - we’re somewhere more along the spectrum. However, we don’t need to give in to the easy discomfort of a messy, chaotic workspace just because we’re not Marie Kondo. We, too, could live that dreamy life of the organised, with everything in its place, and...
Not every app is created equal. Some are more showy than others - the flashy icons, screaming landing page, the promise of how it’ll Change Your Life Forever.
Others are quiet workhorses. They’ve got a purpose, and they get on with the job.
Then, there’s the under-promise, over-deliver kind of team players. Airtable, I’m looking at you.
Airtable is a powerful, friendly and intuitive cloud collaboration service that offers a huge range of abilities through its spreadsheet-slash-database design. It’s as simple to use as your average Excel spreadsheet, but gives you the in-depth power of a database, taking your organisational abilities to a much deeper level.
I use Airtable to collaborate with my team across geographical locations and time zones. By creating and populating robust and dynamic databases, the information we need to pick up tools each day is always readily available. Airtable removes unnecessary follow-up, administrative questions and...
We’re suckers for productivity clickbait. Articles proclaiming productivity hacks, workflow techniques,and five-step-programs whet our curiosity time and time again. With the same 24 hours in the day as the next guy, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that there’s a ‘secret’ you may be missing out on when it comes to squeezing the most juice out of each day’s opportunities.
Well, yeah, kind of.
As a business owner, prioritising the most important tasks of each day is fundamental to continued growth. I’m a big believer in the power of uninterrupted work. Instead of letting my inbox dictate my schedule, I map my time and capacity each week in a way that allows for deep and meaningful work to be achieved.
And yet, I do so in a way that means the world’s not waiting for me to resurface.
I use practical automation tools on a daily basis to keep business running without my input. Clients can schedule meetings, employees know...
There’s a little bit of irony in the fact that we’ve never had more information at our fingertips at any other point in history - and at the same time, we’ve never had to work as hard to stay focused as a result of that access. You’d think the smartphones we lug around with us would make us… well… smarter. Unfortunately, with great things comes great responsibility, and it’s all too often we squander our time scrolling through a feed, rather than building our own contribution.
So. Time to take stock. Take a step back and look at how you’re using these tools at your fingertips. How can you use them for better and not for worse?
Personally, I’m a big fan of the power of routine. The incremental elements we build into each of our days that allow us to function at our best, enter deep productivity, create work we’re proud of, and end the day satisfied with our output.
Routine can also help to fend off constant distraction,...
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