Two simple tools that streamlined our business workflow

79_Pr3TT-o0.b00p@Business Systems, Tech How To0 Comments

Separately to Hurricane Jane Creative, and various other projects that occupy our time, my husband and I run two IT businesses.

As with all businesses, things move fast; with appointments changing, customer details needing to be saved, financial records and so on – we both need constant access to the same information and diaries at the same time, wherever we are, without having to be on the phone to each other every two minutes to share that information.

Enter stage left:  Dropbox & Google Calendar.

You’ve probably heard of one, if not both of these – you’ll have most certainly heard of Google.  You might already be using a calendar.  But are you using it efficiently, or just hitting snooze on those reminders?

Dropbox

I could not live without Dropbox.  We save everything, and I mean everything – from our holiday snaps, to our invoices, to our shopping lists into Dropbox.

Favourite features: 

  1. Synchronised, real time access.

Whaaaat?  It means you can get all your things, all the time, on any device and if you need to share it all with someone, they can get it all too.

  1. Keep your photos safe (and free up your phone space).

If you love snapping pics on your phone, you can sync it to Dropbox and upload your thousands of holiday snaps and then wipe them off your phone to free up space, and then still be able to access them from your phone anyway via the Dropbox app.

  1. Offline access

Sometimes you just need your stuff when you’re not in Wi-Fi range, or you’ve ran out of data.  Train journey home and need to edit a word doc?  No problem, Dropbox has got your back!

  1. Send large files quickly

If you have ever experienced the pain of trying to send a large file via email, and the minutes wasted shouting at the screen, Dropbox will take away your pain because with just a few clicks you can send large files without raising your voice once.

I’d really recommend upgrading to Dropbox Pro, as it gives you 1TB of storage (we’ve used about 500GB so far and we have 3 businesses, various projects we manage and several thousand photos) and also remote device wipe.

Meaning if you have Dropbox on your phone and it gets lost or stolen, you can remotely wipe Dropbox from the device so that all your files and data are safe.

That’s a particularly amazing feature to have if you’re travelling for work a lot.

What about Dropbox’s own security?  Good question.  Dropbox stores your data using 256-bit AES encryption and use an SSL/TLS secure tunnel to transfer files between you and them, with a dedicated security team who perform security testing on a regular basis to identify and patch any potential vulnerabilities.

We’ve been using Dropbox for about six years now and it’s our go-to for saving files.

Note: There are no (zero, nada, zilch) affiliate links in this post.

My husband and I are an official reseller for Dropbox for business via one of our IT companies, Panther Business IT Services, but with a minimum of 5 users.

I wrote this post because I really believe Dropbox is that good, and that it will have a positive impact on your day to day business routine.  

Google Calendar

You’ll need a Google Account to use their free calendar, but it’s worth it.  There are many free calendars out there – but Google’s version really works for us.  Here’s my favourite features:

  1. Customise, customise, customise.

You can share your calendar and all its customisation features with anyone you choose.

This means my husband and I always have real time access to any changes we are making in the calendar, displayed in a format we both understand.

(We modify the view to reflect our working week, Mon – Fri).

  1. Colour coding.

I’m a creative person, and information presented in a visually appealing manner is easier for me to understand at a glance.

Plus, all the pretty colours.

We use different colours for our different businesses, and use only one calendar.  BUT – Google Calendar allows you to have multiple calendars set up, each colour coded (if you want), although this doesn’t work as well for us.

We like to see our entire week laid out in one go, so we colour code our businesses, our free time etc.  You could use this feature to colour code your tasks – e.g. your social media, your admin time, your free time, etc.

  1. Attach files.

Particularly handy if you don’t use Dropbox, or if you’re going to a meeting and you want to access some notes really quickly – this feature is really useful.

  1. Add your event location.

This is really helpful for one of our IT businesses in particular – any appointments my husband needs to get to have the location entered into the “where” section, and if he is on mobile he can automatically open this in Google Maps, and off he goes.

You can do so much more with google Calendar, like link it to your CRM or your marketing software.  If you’ve previously been using an Excel spreadsheet to map out your working week, moving to Google Calendar will save you so much time – and it’s much more manageable on mobile too.

We found that when we used a spreadsheet previously, we were still having to use a calendar app for appointments, so switching to just using Google Calendar streamlined everything right down for us.

How do you streamline your business workflow?  What tools or processes work best for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Share this Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *