By Gareth Robertson
A contact recently asked how we generated our quotations so quickly and how we got our admin so streamlined. In the same week, I saw a LinkedIn article about the best applications available to businesses and I thought I would write a short Blog story about the apps we use regularly to speed up our workflow. So here goes…
PipeDrive – Customer Relationship Management, Deal Tracking and Pipeline Forecasting
A great cost effective tool for a number of functions. PipeDrive gives so much in terms of functionality and data. We store our clients by name and organisation, tag them to deals and tag activities to deals. We’ve upgraded our plan to run our emails through PipeDrive and now they auto-tag themselves to a deal, person and organisation. It is a very intuitive and comprehensive app and it promises to get better with new Outlook diary integration coming soon.
Kashflow – accounting and quoting
This app revolutionised the business. We’ve been using Kashflow for nearly 5 years and it saves days and days of time each year. Working with Kashflow enables you to do your accounts and bookkeeping as you work. Client details are stored within the system and we raise quotes for project work seamlessly with pre-loaded services, products and prices. Once a job is finished, we go back to Kashflow and turn the quote to an invoice with the click of one button. For anyone running a small business, I thoroughly recommend this app; contact me today for a referral code and save money on your subscription!
WeTransfer – larger file transfer
A web app that offers capability to transfer up to 2GB of attachment for free. Whenever something is too big for email, our go to platform is WeTransfer. We don’t have a paid account but very rarely do we exceed the 2GB limit on the free version. Simply zip your files, upload to the website, enter recipient details and hit send. Brilliant alternative to Dropbox which can become expensive as you reach capacity on space.
Hootsuite – social media post scheduling
A great way of staying active over social media without being constantly glued to your phone or desktop. Hootsuite is a well known and well used app and I use this to keep my LinkedIn feed nicely active from day to day. The great news with Hootsuite is that the free version allows up to 30 posts across various social networks; ample for month to month planning and scheduling of posts.
iMovie – video editing
With video becoming ever more prominent in the way we use the internet and also how Google ranks websites, video should now a vital component in your marketing strategy. iMovie is a mobile or desktop app that allows you to edit footage together to create short films. I use the mobile version more than the desktop and I find it to be a very easy to use app that delivers surprisingly professional results in relatively short periods of time. We also use Abode Premiere Pro for more in-depth video.
FaceTime- video calling
For when a phone call just isn’t enough! Sometimes it is great to be able to see people as you talk with them; but every now and again geography, time or incompatible diaries just don’t allow a face to face meeting. FaceTime answers this problem with aplomb! I use on my phone or on my iMac at the studio depending on where I am.
WhatsApp – free text messaging
A messaging platform that has become more and more important in recent years. I’ve had WhatsApp on my phone since 2010 but in the last couple of years the platform has come on leaps and bounds with more users joining and actively using it. We have a team group chat and I’ve used it to connect with clients who are working abroad, saving on costly phone calls or texts.
Outlook – email client and diary management
The trusty old warhorse Microsoft Outlook! More in-depth and robust than Mac Mail, Outlook is a fail-safe email client. We all have a working version of Outlook on our Macs here at Design Pit, but we’re currently moving our emails into PipeDrive for the deal linking facility within that app. But Outlook is still by far the best email client and diary management tool out there.
WordPress – website
The standard bearer for websites for any SME, WordPress is a mammoth app for website build and administration. Using WordPress to update our website is a seamless process and even the most tech-wary person can master the interface with ease and speed. The mobile app is also very intuitive.
MailChimp – email marketing
Another well known app with an international army of users! No other app gives the flexibility that MailChimp offers when sending emails on a mass scale. Send to 2000 addresses per month for free. Yes, you read that right – send a monthly email campaign every month to a database of 2000 addresses for free, nowt, ziltch, nada, nothing. Email marketing is under scrutiny at the moment as GDPR kicks in but MailChimp gives standard tools and assurances to make you complaint when you hit send; providing of course that your data was ethically obtained.