Thanks to our regular readers for bringing to our attention their newest tools to help small businesses work more efficiently.
Here are 5 new services you’ve emailed us about, for other readers to check out:
Email Center Pro — If you could pick one daily task that never seems to go away, what would that be? How many said EMAIL? Dina Petrosky let us know about an email management solution called Email Center Pro, designed for the entrepreneur managing a number of email addresses. It funnels all designated email accounts into one place, where multiple team members in the company can see and manage the responses to the email messages. There is a free version and the for-a-fee option. If you have set up multiple company email address like: info@, yourname@, contactus@ …. then Email Center Pro can help manage those without internal duplication of effort.
WORKetc — Sean Ashe tells us about a software program that accommodates small biz document creation and management needs above and beyond Word and Excel. The WORKetc software website explains what it will do for small biz owners:
“… you can record billable time, create invoices, help your customers with support issues, generate quotes, manage projects, track sales leads, share documents, run an email marketing campaign, schedule meetings, create online forms, write a blog, generate detailed reports and more.”
Rather than piece together a series of software packages or online services to run aspects of your business operations, it sounds like WORKetc takes the place of a lot of those. It appears to be mainly a CRM application and a form creation software, with some document management functions thrown in.
Track My Shipments — Do you send or receive a lot of shipments using a variety of carriers? Andrew Bennett told us about his service that allows you to track all your shipments that use UPS, FEDEX, DHL or USPS. Track up to nine shipments at a time for free. There’s also a for-fee version. Sounds like it saves time and keeps you on top of your shipments. Andrews says they also offer an additional service:
“We also offer a White Label service for online retailers which keeps their customers up to date with the location of their orders. This really helps keep customers from contacting our clients during the 2 or 3 days of shipping time.”
actiTIME — Time is our most precious commodity — a rare and finite thing. Anastasia Bashagurova of actiTIME let us know about a service her company provides. ActiTIME is a project management service that tracks the time by customer project, by employee and helps you management expenses. Anastasia says:
“ActiTIME allows you to track the time spent on each task, project and client and make reports on the work performed. Being really easy-to-use and not overloaded with complicated functionality, actiTIME is great for small and mid-sized companies.”
ActiTIME is free and there is a demo that helps you see how to navigate the system.
Protus — Last but not least, a service that has already been helping entrepreneurs manage their fax and phone services has acquired an automatic email marketing solution. Ken Krause of Protus filled us in on the latest operational and marketing service available from his company, that can help entrepreneurs save time and money:
“Entrepreneurs have been able to use MyFax to send and receive faxes when they’re out of the office, and my1voice allows them to set up phone extensions, obtain professional voice mail services, and even forward their phones. Now, with the acquisition, they can send targeted e-mails to help them generate more business and cause their phones to rings.”
Thanks for letting us know about these new tools designed to help small business personnel operate our business more effectively and efficiently.
Try them out. And share your experiences, too — let the community know what you like about these and how you use these services.
I cannot wait to try these. The one most interesting to me is the one where I could manage time, billing and documents. Thanks so much.
Track My Shipments sounds very interesting, especially for those operating small businesses on auction sites like eBay. I’ll be checking that one out today. . .
actiTIME is a good program. It is specifically good at measuring performance and creating task items with detailed categories to keep track of work done. I would recommend it to any small company that can easily keep oversight.
However, are a lot of these programs really that useful? I would assume that it might be the intention to decrease time wasted and increase productivity, but sometimes the programs take as much time in beauracracy than without it.
Deborah Chaddock Brown
Chris H, you raise a valid question. In the corporate world the two weeks of the year I hated and resented were the two weeks my boss would make all the field managers (me) track our every waking minute. Frankly – I was never aware of any changes that were the result of the data, but I can see how there would be value for a limited time.
Say for example you had the opportunity to work on a new type of project – something you don’t normally do – but for whatever reason it sounded interesting. It is hard to price something you haven’t done so you might track the time you spend for a few reasons – to see if you priced it correctly and to see if the time it took was worth it for your business.
I can’t see using the program daily for ever – but do see the value for tracking time spend by position for a short period of time or time spend on a particular project.
One note: based on my experience – if you make employees track their time – share the data and how it might be used afterward so they feel part of the solution.
Thanks Deborah for letting us know about these services. Tools to increase productivity are always useful.
Track My Shipments would have been really helpful for me last fall when my online candle sales where booming. I will be bookmarking that site for future use. It always amazes me how many tools you can find for free usage online. Thank you for pointing this out.
Thanks for including our product, Email Center Pro in your list! We’re very excited about the software and what it can do to help small businesses take control of their email again.
Streamlining operations is very important, but just as important is saving on operating expenses. It takes less effort to save and it equals more revenue to your bottom line than trying to boost revenue by selling products/services.
Just a thought. Small businesses can get discounts with companies such Dell, FedEx, Staples, CitiFinancial, Waste Management, etc. for free at http://www.bizunite.com.
Sonciary Honnoll: Are you inspired by Glenn Reynolds’s book, An Army of Davids? Are you ready to start a “comfy chair revolution”? If you have a curious mind, please click on my name and read my blog post…
Another great addition is Freedcamp.com which offers free project management!
It really is surprising to see how many different kinds of services there are out there that can help people manage their business operations. The one I am most interested in is the shipment tracking. After all, while I don’t own a business I can definitely understand wanting to know where a package is while you’re waiting for it to be delivered.