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10 Time Savings Tools for Small Businesses

December 1, 2010

“There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”

Is this one of your most recurring thoughts? If so, you’re not alone. One of the top challenges cited by small business owners is that their work is never done. While we can’t invent a 13-hour clock, here’s the next best thing. These tools can really make you more efficient with the precious time you do have.

#1 Google Reader

Staying on top of industry news and worthwhile blogs doesn’t have to clog your email box. Far simpler is setting up your own Google Reader with RSS feeds of your favorite sites. Your front page is like a personalized newspaper, with items automatically marking as read as you scroll through. Set yours up in just minutes: http://www.google.com/reader.

#2 Password Managers

Did I use my childhood pet’s name or my anniversary date for this log-in? If you struggle to remember your username and password for dozens of sites you visit, here’s a tool that will save your time and sanity. Password managers such as Roboform and LastPass store and auto-fill your password info on any sites you choose.

#3 Virtual Assistant

A perfect storm is brewing, with time-pressed businesses at one end (that’s you) and out-of-work or underemployed folks at the other (that’s your prospective VA!). “Matchmaking” services like YourDailyTask and Bpovia.com can help you offload tasks ranging from transcription to word processing to presentation creation.

#4 Evernote

What use is information if you can’t locate it when you need it? This simple free download works with nearly every computer, phone and mobile device and lets you search by title, tag or handwritten text inside images for anything you’ve ever added to it. Evernote.com.

#5 Skype

Face-time has its advantages, yet travel requires time and money many small businesses simply can’t afford. Skype comes to the rescue whenever you need a tete-a-tete, or would rather explain something complicated in words instead of text. Free video chat at Skype.com.

#6 RescueTime

Is the time you spend online truly productive? Find out with this time management and analytics tool. You tell RescueTime what you consider to be productive and what you don’t. It then records your time spent online and reports back whether your habits align with your goals.

 #7 Freedom

If RescueTime (#6) reveals you’re distracted by the Internet, then this tool can save the day. It will lock you off the Internet for up to eight hours at a time, helping you stay focused when you need to tend to other matters.  http://macfreedom.com/

(Of course, make sure you don't lock yourself out of the Internet when its time to access and pay your bills via Bill.com!)

#8 Mozy.com

Instead of slowing down to back-up files (or possibly forgetting), let an automatic backup tool like Mozy.com take over. It stores data in a secure, remote location you can access from anywhere.

#9 ShortKeys

How much time do you waste every day repeating yourself? Create text replacement shortcuts for product descriptions, directions to your office, refund policies, your bio or other often-needed information. Not only will you type faster, you’ll reduce spelling errors. Shortkeys.com

#10 Bill.com Zen!

Finally, there’s a time-saver available right here at Bill.com. Zero Entry Data (aka Zen) lets you fax, email or upload bills to Bill.com and skip the steps of entering invoice number, date, payment terms and more. We’ll do the data entry for you and notify you by email when bills are ready to review and pay, accuracy guaranteed.

Those are our Top 10 Time-Saving Tool picks. What are yours?

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