Modern-day enterprise planning solutions are the lifeblood of big businesses. These provide a means to manage assets and all kinds of resources such as staffing, raw materials and clients. That sounds great if you’re running a big business, but what about the little guys?
Can solopreneurs harness the incredible power of productivity tools by leveraging similar solutions on a smaller-scale? Thankfully, the answer is yes.
There are a variety of cloud-based business intelligence platforms that can help aid every solopreneur with data-driven decision-making and enhance their workflow, collaboration and productivity -- and for a fraction of the cost. On top of that, these tools easily incorporate into web browsers.
The benefits of cloud-based productivity apps for solopreneurs include low barrier-to-entry costs and subscription-based models rather than big upfront capital expenditures, they’re scalable to grow as your business does and they’ll actually help you with increasing your productivity.
These tools are available for nearly every aspect of your business workflow, but here are six of the most powerful productivity tools across three main areas of every solopreneur’s business.
Unomy leverages the power of big data by improving the way small businesses do business-to-business prospecting. With market-research capabilities built right into the web browser, entrepreneurs can get insights on thousands of companies, including contact details, funding information, company news and more.
The service includes both a dashboard and a browser plugin that can sift through 80 million professional profiles and 40,000 news sources to find just the right company to contact and engage. As a solopreneur, you’ll benefit from big-data resources with a more accessible pricing structure.
Rapportive enhances the email experience by incorporating relevant contact information right within your Gmail sidebar, including relevant details from LinkedIn and Twitter. The information also shows any connections you may have in common, which can help in making introductions, and particularly useful for making sales introductions. This can also be useful in establishing context when initiating, or when responding to, conversations.
Rapportive is a free and incredibly useful for every solopreneur.
Email read receipts used to be a mainstay in enterprise-oriented email platforms such as Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. However, if you are using services like Gmail, Outlook.com or other platforms aimed at consumers and small- and medium-sized enterprises, you can also gain this functionality with Yesware. It provides a read receipt for emails you’ve sent, letting you know whether the recipient has read your email, when and for how long.
The service integrates with Gmail and Outlook, and it can even be integrated with Salesforce customer-relationship management to help improve your workflow process. Email templates and scheduling are also available for Gmail so they’ll fit seamlessly into your solopreneur email system.
If you don’t want to be sitting in front of your computer managing emails throughout the day, Boomerang is a good option that integrates right into Gmail. This free service allows you to send email messages in batches, ensuring that these are sent at optimal times -- even when you’re away from your desk. It helps you keep track of follow ups, and even sends reminders when you haven’t heard back.
Assistant.to works with your Gmail, Outlook and Google calendars to help you schedule meetings. It’s a simple browser plugin that helps keep track of everything to prevent conflicts and double booking. It works with several meeting-software options, such as ClickMeeting and Google Hangouts. It’s completely free to use, too.
Due offers an easy way to keep track of time your team is spending on projects, and it enables you to invoice clients for that time. The platform includes several add-ons and integrations, such as online banking and PayPal integration, staff management, invoice templates and more. Getting paid and keeping track of your time are two incredible important needs for every solopreneur, so Due has a lot to offer.
With all of these six browser-based tools, all processing is done in the cloud, and you no longer have to invest heavily in equipment and IT professionals to manage the infrastructure. You can essentially do more with less.
As a solopreneur, you can appear to be a large enterprise, thanks to these solutions. As the business grows, cloud-based productivity applications can also scale to include additional staff members and a larger client base. With tasks such as prospecting, communication and workflow management simplified, businesses can spend more time focusing on the clients that matter and less time on tedious and potentially time-consuming activities.