Five time-saving tools for small businesses

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By Darol Lucas

The famous expression “Time is Money” was coined by Benjamin Franklin when giving advice to a young tradesman in 1748. Almost 270 years later it’s still applicable, with a recent study showing that businesses waste nearly eight hours a week through procrastination, playing on phones, engaging with social media, sending personal emails and running errands.

As a result, businesses stand to lose a great deal of money. With the average UK salary being £27,271 a year according to the Office of National Statistics, this wasted time equates to around £13.78 per hour – meaning businesses could be paying £108 a week and over £5,500 a year, per employee, for wasted time! This figure only increases as it’s multiplied against staff members, meaning small businesses could really suffer from losing money that can be better spent elsewhere.

It isn’t possible to create more hours in the working day and employees are inevitably going to spend some of their working day on non-work tasks (typically, businesses plan for 80% productive time and 20% on other things). It is possible, however, to make the work they are doing more efficient. There are many time-saving tools available that can help staff maximise their output in a day and make their time go that bit further. Here are five time-saving tools available to small businesses.

VIA Skype for Business

VIA’s Skype for Business is an adapted model of Skype’s business communication tool that adds call routing, contact centre functionality and FCA standard call recording. Entirely cloud based, this UCaaS (unified communications as a service) tool enables more effective collaboration through conference calling, screen sharing and group messaging. It also makes it easier for people to work remotely, which we know can improve productivity with 85% of professionals surveyed hit maximum productivity when working alone.

By taking a more collaborative approach to their work, employees are better equipped to get the job done together. With Via’s tool, your employees will find collaboration easier and quicker – leading to increased productivity and less time spent trying to find the right contact. For businesses where remote-working or freelancing is common, users outside of the office can be connected to the same network. Allowing simple and efficient access and communication with both customers and colleagues via the cloud. Finally as VIA integrates perfectly with Microsoft Office 365 there can be communication and collaboration across all Microsoft applications like Outlook and Sharepoint.

Charlie HR

Offering a free HR platform for small businesses, Charlie HR collates all HR data into one place, and offers easy tools for onboarding new employees, storing documents and tracking time off. Rob O’Donovan, co-founder & CEO of Charlie HR, said the frustrating demands of trying to run a company while addressing all the necessary administrative elements of managing teams was what led to him developing his own tool. “We felt software could and should automate those tasks, lots of people meant lots of admin that dragged us back from doing the things we really loved and that really builds value.”

Thousands of companies across the world now use Charlie HR to shorten their odds of success – from a startup in London looking to cure cancer to the next big internet giant in New York. Reducing the amount of admin required to manage employees is a great way to save on wasted time – giving you more time to focus on growing your business and doing what you love.

Doodle

Organising a meeting or catch up at work can be a painstaking and time-consuming process.  Trying to find a date and time, meeting room or quiet space that works for everyone often seems impossible. When trying to organise meetings with potential new businesses or investors, your time could be so much better used for vital preparation. That’s why Doodle was created to solve this problem saving business and their employees time. Easily create polls suggesting possible times and places, let others vote with just one message and Doodle will do the rest, selecting the time and place that works for everyone.

Workzone

Keeping on top of multiple clients, numerous tasks or even just several collaborators within a project can get messy. Work can be forgotten and deadlines missed. Workzone offer a solution, a “just right” project management system for teams of all sizes, that’s simple for everyone on your team – from seasoned pros to entry-level associates. Offering greater functionality than starter tools and easier-to-use than the complex big project management solutions, Workzone makes project management quicker and more effective.

The personalised to-do lists across multiple projects, custom intake forms to streamline project requests and high-level reporting for budget allocation, time estimates and project statuses, make Workzone a great tool for anyone looking to improve efficiency around project management.

Curve

A new type of bank card that makes it easier for business owners, freelancers and directors to track their business and personal spending in one place to save time. Curve combines all your cards in one; simply add your cards via a mobile app, tap the one you want to use, then pay with Curve and the correct bank card will be charged. Use them all with one PIN and contactless worldwide everywhere MasterCard cards are accepted.

Business spend can be monitored and checked in real-time with every transaction, across all your bank cards presented on one screen. The Curve card can also be locked and unlocked with the click of an in-app button. A useful time-saving security measure offering some immediate protection if something didn’t add up.

Finally, the latest feature allows users to retroactively change the card used to paid with for up to 14 days after use. This feature was designed to eliminate stress and provides a quick solution when the wrong card is used. Handy, to avoid missed credit card loyalty points and incurring fees. As well as offering a faster alternative to transferring money between accounts.