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14 Powerful Organizational Tools for Small (but Mighty) Businesses

Kat Ambrose | March 13th, 2020

In this guide, we’re sharing 14 organizational tools that will power your business, maximize your time, and make your employees (and customers) happier.

As a business owner, you're juggling a lot of things at once. Saying that it can be overwhelming is putting it lightly.

Did your coworker address that customer complaint, or is it still an open ticket?

Who was assigned to review that investor proposal again? And did it actually get reviewed?

Were you supposed to call that new prospect at noon or 1:00 pm?

All that juggling means a lot of wasted time—an infographic from Atlassian reveals some pretty jarring realities of productivity at work:

  • 60% or less of work time is spent productively.
  • Employees spend about 31 hours in unproductive meetings per month (that's almost a full work week!).
  • An average of $1,800 is spent per employee each year on unnecessary emails.
  • An average of two hours is spent recovering from interruptions per day. 

Are you stressed out yet? Don't be. We've done some research on the best tools for small business owners like yourself to stay organized, improve your processes, and make the most of your time.

Let's jump right in.

GSuite

GSuite offers a full suite of collaboration tools for teams big and small. With 20 tools to browse, GSuite makes running your business from anywhere seamless.

GSuite

GSuite includes all the organizational tools businesses need to stay up-to-date on projects and keep track of proposals, documents, files, conversations, and more. Best of all, multiple people can work in the same document at the same time, and changes are automatically saved. A few popular tools include Google Docs (word processor) Google Sheets (spreadsheets), Google Calendar, and Google Drive (file-sharing).

Who should use this tool: Teams that are constantly collaborating on projects and who need a dependable set of tools.

Trello

Trello is the ultimate project management software. At a glance, teams create different boards for projects, then add lists (categories of tasks) and cards (individual tasks) to those boards. Cards can be rearranged as your team progresses through projects.

Trello

For example, let's say you want to use Trello to simplify your customer service hiring process. You could create a board and name it "Customer Service Hiring," then create lists like "to-do," "in progress," and "complete," to help you keep track of tasks. Add team members to each board as well as due dates, labels, documents, and checklists to your cards, so everyone is up to speed.

Keeping

No one needs another inbox to check. Keeping is built for teams who prioritize customer requests but also have plenty of other work on their plates. Because of Keeping’s Gmail integration, there's no additional software to log into and monitor. Keeping is different from other help desks in that it's invisible to customers, meaning all your support replies come from your support email address. Teams also love that they can share canned responses in Gmail.

Keeping

Efficiently manage customer support requests, assign fellow team members to individual requests, share customer notes, confirm the status of requests, and more all from your inbox.Best of all, with Keeping's detailed reporting and tracking feature, you can see how your team is performing across the board.

Who should use this tool: Teams that want better customer request management without the extra work. Curious to see how Keeping can change your team’s productivity for the better? Grab your free trial today and you’ll be conquering your inbox in no time.

1Password

If you're currently keeping your passwords in a shared note on your phone—or worse, on a sticky note on your desk—then it's time for an upgrade. 1Password is a secure, easy-to-access (for you, not the bad guys) password protector. All you need is—you guessed it—one password to access all your usernames and passwords for your accounts that live in one secure place.

1Password

1Password is integrated into your browser, so whenever you need to login, click the 1Password button, enter your password, and you're good to go. With 1Password, you can create and manage groups to organize your accounts and share those easily with team members.

Who should use this tool: Whether you need a secure way to keep your client's credit cards organized, or if you just want to streamline your team's logins, 1Password is great for all businesses.

Toggl

Ever wonder how much time you actually spend on things like responding to emails, working on business tasks, or customer service requests? Understanding how much time it takes to complete tasks goes beyond just seeing how productive you are, and Toggl helps you do just that.

Toggl can help you:

  • Calculate hours for a proposal
  • Set your rates or prices
  • Gauge what projects take the longest so you can optimize future project timelines
  • See how long tasks take, so you can adjust your to-do list to save time

Toggl

The Toggl Team feature lets you view your team's time entries so you can see how much time they're spending on which tasks, if some team members are approaching burn out, and other insights. Also, you can manually add time entries if you forgot to turn on your time tracker.

Who should use this tool: Teams that want to better understand how their time is being spent so they can improve processes, project delegation, and more.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a secure, central storage space  for your team's documents, content, proposals, and everything else that powers your business. The files on your Dropbox can be accessed no matter where you are or what device you’re using. With app integrations like Slack and Zoom, your team is always connected and able to share files when they need.

Dropbox

Dropbox allows you to generate password-protected and expiring shared links for added safety when sending documents between team members or clients.

Who should use this tool: Teams that want a centralized, secure place to keep various types of documents and files.

Airtable

Airtable gives teams the simplicity of spreadsheets but the power of a database. Whether you're preparing for an upcoming launch or managing your sales funnel, you can do it all in Airtable.

Airtable

With multiple views like grid, Kanban, and more, you can configure your tables in a way that works best for your team. Have something to discuss regarding a specific task with a teammate? In Airtable, you can add comments to particular tasks and tag others to start a conversation. Every change is automatically saved and updated across devices, so you never have to worry about version control or if something is outdated.

Who should use this tool: Teams that need a powerful, customizable CRM to manage their sales funnel and keep track of leads, notes, and the status of projects.

Zapier

Whether you're an automation nerd or you're looking to streamline a few components of your workflow, Zapier is the tool for you. Connect the apps you're already using and create automations (or Zaps, as they call them) so you can focus on other work. You know when people talk about the importance of working smarter? Building automations is a great place to start.

Zapier

For example, let's say you want to automate the task of collecting attachments in Gmail and uploading them to Dropbox. With Zapier, you can set a Zap to automatically upload any attachments you receive in Gmail to Dropbox and notify you each time this is complete in Slack.

Who should use this tool: Teams who want to reduce the amount of busywork in their day-to-day so nothing—like leads or tasks—slips through the cracks.

Mindnode

You know that feeling when you get an idea, and another one, and another one, but you're not sure how it all fits together? Mindnode is the perfect solution for those times when your brainstorming session is on a roll.

Mindnode

With Mindnode, you can expand on your brainstorming ideas and visually plan how it all connects together with mind maps. Easily record your thoughts, organize them, and build your plan of attack with this easy-to-use, customizable organization software. Every change, adjustment, or new idea is updated automatically to your mind map. Whether you're brainstorming ideas for your company's blog or are reimagining your customer service process, you can do it with Mindnode.

Who should use this tool: Teams that have a lot of ideas, but need help figuring out how the pieces fit together.

Calendly

Finding time to meet, especially for remote teams located all over the globe, should be an Olympic sport (or at least an obstacle on American Ninja Warrior). Calendly completely eliminates the confusion around scheduling meetings or finding the right time to chat.

Calendly

Simply create different meeting types, like "30-minute kick off" or "15-minute check-in," select your availability, click save, and you're good to go. Calendly integrates with your calendar (like Google Calendar and Outlook) so you never double book yourself. Plus, you can sync your Zoom or GoToMeeting accounts, so there's never a question of which conference line you want to use.

Who should use this tool: Teams that need a simplified way to schedule meetings internally and with customers across different time zones.

Zoom

Zoom is one of the fastest-growing business organization tools, and for a good reason. From video conferences and audio calls to workspaces and rooms, getting connected on Zoom is as simple as a few clicks.

Zoom

Join a secure conference line on any device—desktop and mobile. Record meetings and generate transcripts so you can focus on being present, not taking notes. Never stress about if you're "video ready" or not with Virtual Backgrounds and Touch Up My Appearance. A few other conference call specs include HD video and audio, recording and transcripts generation, screen-sharing, encrypted meetings, and the live group chat feature.

Who should use this tool: Teams that need a better way to instantly connect with each other no matter where or when.

Buffer

Social media is an important (and time-consuming) part of growing any business. Take some of the busy work out of running your social media accounts with Buffer, a social media publishing and planning tool.

Buffer

The Buffer suite is made up of three pillar features: Publish, Reply, and Analyze. With Buffer Publish, easily schedule posts across multiple channels with a few clicks, customize each post per channel, and get a big picture view of your current scheduled content all on the Buffer dashboard. Buffer Reply helps you stay on top of social conversations, engage with your audience, and catch customer service requests. Lastly, Buffer Analyze makes it easy to monitor each channel’s performance, generate customized reports, and get insights into how you can improve.

Who should use this tool: Teams that want a complete social media management experience from one place.

Loom

Having a hard time explaining something in an email or chat? Make a tutorial-style video with Loom instead.

Loom

Create an engaging video that not only records your face, voice, and screen but that doubles as a tool your team can refer back to when needed. For example, if you need to walk a new team member through your onboarding documents, you could record a Loom so they can refer back to it when they need (and so you can get back to your other to-dos faster).

Who should use this tool: Teams that are looking for a better, faster way to do things like update customers on how to use new products, collaborate with team members, or  build out onboarding processes a bit more.

Canva

Need to create social media graphics? Want to refresh your new business presentation? Or what about that new proposal template you've been meaning to tackle? Canva is your one-stop-shop for all things design.

Canva

There's so much you can create in Canva, and its effortless UX makes creating whatever assets you need both easy and fun. Plus, Canva's design school is packed with tutorials, guides, and inspiration for your next design. Browse through tons of templates or start from scratch on your own.

Who should use this tool: Teams that need to create eye-catching graphics and assets, but don't have the budget for an in-house graphic designer or freelancer.

Try a few tools, see what sticks

Now, the important thing to remember is that the secret to improving your team’s productivity doesn’t necessarily mean adding more small business organization tools to your workflow. Rather, it's about adding the right tools that work together in a way that simplifies things for your team. More business tools aren't synonymous with more productivity or growth. 

Instead, test out a few of the tools in this list and see what works best for your team. The litmus test of a great tool is whether it fits into the way your team works, not the other way around. 

Level up your small business organization with a free Keeping trial. Get started today!

Kat Ambrose loves to string words together, especially in a content marketing setting. After a few years of cutting her teeth in the agency world, she left to pursue her writing career and hasn’t looked back since. You can find Kat at https://www.katambrose.com.