Anyone building or running an online business knows how notoriously cluttered the planning aspect can become. There's never a shortage of emails to answer, receipts to file, people to meet, and things to do. With so much going on, it's helpful to have a way to easily organize thoughts and tasks that is accessible from anywhere.
Thanks to technology and innovation, there are a growing number of applications around the web created specifically to help business owners like yourself get organized. Ready to make running your ecommerce business easier? Below, we cover a few of our favorite digital organization tools for business owners of all types.
1. Organize loose papers and documents with Shoeboxed
Receipts have the uncanny ability to quickly overwhelm any surface when left unchecked. If you feel like you're drowning in them, let Shoeboxed be your life raft. This application helps you turn your receipts into digital data by scanning them with a mobile app and uploading them to a central account. From there, Shoeboxed extracts the important info so that you can more easily organize them and use them for reports, audits, and more. You can also store and organize images of and information from business cards to keep your contact list up-to-date.
Shoeboxed offers a few plan levels depending on your expected number of documents annually and whether you require more robust features, like a Quickbooks integration. If you're not 100% sure if it will work for you, take advantage of their 30-day free trial first.
2. Remember everything and organize your notes with Evernote
Have you ever been in the middle of a task when you’ve thought of something unrelated, but important? Evernote helps by allowing you to jot down your thoughts in the moment, be it via text, audio, drawing, image, or bookmarked web pages so you can come back to them later. It also allows you to create and manage to-do lists that can be accessed by any device, wherever you are. Not only will this save you from drowning in loose post-it notes and losing important information scrawled on spare envelopes; it also helps you reduce waste by avoiding paper!
Evernote offers a free version for smaller-scale operations, as well as an assortment of paid plans with more robust storage and features. A free 14-day trial is available for paid plans if you’d prefer to try before you buy.
3. Securely store and generate strong passwords with LastPass
The internet is expanding—and so is the expertise of online hackers. It’s more important than ever to keep your online accounts safe and secure, which is where LastPass comes into play. This app stores all the passwords for all of your online accounts in one place, meaning that you only have to remember one—your LastPass password. The tool is completely encrypted so hacker’s can’t get in, and you can even generate strong passwords for each of your accounts—no more easily-guessed “password123”s for you!
LastPass offers a free version of their service, but if you want to expand it to more than one device or use additional features like a security dashboard, you’ll have to pay. Luckily, paid plans come with free 30-day trials so you can see what you really need.
4. Prioritize messages and keep your inbox clean with Sanebox
With the high number of emails sent every day, you can quickly find yourself spending all your free time parsing through mountains of unread messages. Sanebox can help by determining email importance, filtering unimportant messages, and summarizing them for you. This tool's aim is to put legitimate, but unimportant emails aside so they don't get in the way of your day. You can also set up follow-up reminders that notify you when an email you sent was not replied to, and defer an email so that it'll reappear back into your inbox when the time comes.
Sanebox offers multiple plan levels based on the number of their features you’d like to use—and best of all, you can choose which ones you want on your account (even on the lowest plan!). All of their plans give you the option of a 14-day free trial if you’re not ready to commit just yet.
5. Host and share business documents and files with Dropbox
Another “box,” Dropbox allows businesses to share files, videos, and other content across multiple computers and devices so that everyone on the team can reference and edit the same documents. (Think Google Drive, if your business doesn’t use Google’s suite of services for email.) It’s also simply a great option for storing things on the cloud in case your computer unexpectedly stops working, or even for storing backups in a second place. You can also assign levels of access to different members of your team depending on their level in the organization.
Dropbox no longer has a free version for new users, but they do offer a larger variety of plans than is typical so that you can start small and only pay more as you hit storage space limits. You can also start by using a free 30-day trial for any of their business plans.
6. Manage business-related projects and tasks with Monday
If you need to better keep track of projects and their associated tasks for any or all aspects of your business, Monday is at your service. This project management software lets you create and manage to-do items, assign them to other employees, and track their progress without having to ask for constant status reports. It’s flexible to—you can set up workflows in whatever way works best for your organization (or even just to accommodate the unique way your brain processes information).
If you’re planning to use it for just yourself and one other employee, you can use Monday for free! If you have a larger team, need more storage, or just want access to more management features and charts, there are paid plans available with a free trial option.
Organization may not be everyone's forte, but with the right tools, it can sure look like it. When cleaning off your desk or sorting through your inbox, get in the habit of immediately getting rid of anything you know you won't need. And remember, the more time you invest in reducing clutter, the more it'll show. Don't think you have to do it all at once, though—if spending hours purging old files isn't your ideal, try setting aside a small amount of time every day to work on it instead.