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Adopting New Productivity Tools to Refocus Your Small Business

The Flow TeamLast Updated: April 27, 2020

When collaboration tools fall short, your communication and efficiency suffer. Even with a clear roadmap, your teams may not have the resources and support they need to meet critical goals and milestones. By introducing new productivity tools, you can refocus your organization. The best tools have features that describe each task, include a due date, assign the task to those responsible, and offer the whole team visibility into the task’s progress. 

In short, robust new productivity tools make end-to-end workflows accessible and easily understood by all stakeholders. This helps everybody work towards a common goal. Here are four such tools, and how each can help small businesses achieve their next milestone. 

Productivity Tools to Get More Done, Faster

You can have the most motivated team in the world, but without a clear roadmap and the right productivity tools, your business may not reach its goals. The right productivity tools should make it easy to: 

  • Manage teams 
  • Monitor tasks
  • Plan out projects

Productivity tools optimize the workday by clearly laying out priorities and providing the info needed to complete work. With the ability to add relevant files and important notes on a task, team members always know where to go next.

These tools also give managers visibility into the status of ongoing work, making it easier to avoid over-assigning tasks to one teammate and to ensure that everyone has an equal distribution of work. Most of all, quality productivity tools enable communication and collaboration within a single, organized workspace. Here are the advantages and drawbacks of four popular productivity tools.

Harvest: A Time and Billing Tracking Tool

Harvest is a web-based time and billing tracking tool. Harvest’s main value proposition is that it offers an easy way to monitor time and expenses, which can help keep projects developing on-time.

It’s key benefits include:

  • Start and stop timers that run as teams work
  • Traditional timesheets
  • Invoice generation for billable hours with automated delivery to clients
  • Online bill payment

While this tool can make billing less stressful for managers and logging time less of a headache for team members, Harvest has its drawbacks.

  • It can be tough to track time and billing on the go.
  • Without the ability to batch-assign time to team members, you could run into problems with multiple people working on the same task at once. 

Harvest Overview: On its own, it can be a great option for individual freelancers and smaller teams, but it may lack the connectivity and workflow tracking needed to manage larger teams.

Slack: An Intuitive Communication Tool

Slack is a very popular communication tool that enables your team members and management to collaborate and chat using an intuitive interface. Slack features:

  • Instant messaging 
  • Public or private chat channels
  • Simple G Suite integration
  • A familiar, IRC-style layout 

Slack’s greatest accomplishment is allowing your team to connect to each other, instantly. While it does this very effectively, unfortunately, it has some drawbacks as well: 

  • Can’t support longer messages and files; so, you have to turn to email
  • Can be inflexible if you need to separate tasks from channels
  • You don’t have the option of a project timeline view
  • No overall workflow management tools

Slack Overview: Excellent for chat, but teams will need other tools to complete their project management suite. 

Zapier: A Workflow Productivity Tool

Zapier is a tool that connects all of your applications to each other for the purpose of uniting and automating workflows. Its benefits include:

  • Sharing data between different web apps
  • Building automated workflows using “Zaps.” 
  • Simple to use; no need for developer assistance

Zapier can reduce the need for manual workflow management, simplifying your day by removing repetitive tasks. But like any tool, Zapier has some downsides. 

  • Each Zap must be set up separately
  • When workflow changes, so must Zaps
  • Bridges information silos, but doesn’t eliminate them

Zapier Overview: It’s a good choice if you currently have many different applications you like using and if you’re up to the challenge of coordinating do-it-yourself automation. However, this approach doesn’t alter the fact that your team still has to use many different apps to accomplish their work. 

Flow: An All-in-One Productivity Tool for Any Team

If you’re looking for an all-in-one productivity platform that puts all the functionality you need within a single application, look no further than Flow. It’s a comprehensive solution that unites chat, collaboration and organizational features—everything you need to achieve milestones. Flow’s benefits include: 

  • All of your team’s tasks, projects, timelines, files and conversations in one place
  • Seamlessly integrated with external apps such as Dropbox, Slack and Google Drive. 
  • Allows separate task, delegation, or project views, enabling total workflow management
  • Short learning curve helps teams to ramp up quickly 
  • Scalable pricing options open the doors to any size business

Flow Overview: Flow allows you to integrate the tools you need in one accessible place—bringing together project and task management, asset management, timelines, and conversations so your team won’t miss a beat.

Track Your Progress and Ramp Up Productivity

There are plenty of reasons why small businesses can become diverted from their goals, especially in trying times. But the good news is that there’s reliable technology to help your organization remain focused and effective. 

Your new productivity tool of choice should give you the means of executing your business strategy more efficiently, and should be built on workflow processes that are based on best practices. By using the right productivity tool and keeping an eye on your goals, success will be as good as guaranteed.

Flow is the all-in-one productivity platform that enables you to spend less time managing your team’s workload, and more time reaching key milestones. To learn how it can help unlock your team’s full potential, start your free trial today!