Buying Time: How to Supercharge Your Business in 2018

While we can’t buy time, we can certainly use tools that will save us time.

January 25th, 2018   |    By: Donna Griffit    |    Tags: Management, Productivity

This is a bit of a different piece of content for me. In his brilliant book “The Tipping Point” Malcolm Gladwell defines 3 archetypes of people – Salesmen, Connectors and Mavens.

Though I see a bit of all 3 in me, relentless Maven. According to Gladwell, Mavens are “information specialists”, or “people we rely upon to connect us with new information.” He goes on to say: “Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know.”

Time is Money

When I discover great things it’s hard for me not to share it with others. I simply can’t help myself. When a company has done such great work developing a product that it becomes an integral part of my work life (or personal life) they deserve to have others know about it.

We all lead busy lives, and those of us that run startups or businesses know that time is our most precious commodity. And while we can’t buy time, we can certainly use tools that will save us time.

Some of these you might know, a few I hope will surprise and delight you. And as a bonus, wherever it’s a paid service, I inserted my referral link so you get a discount.

Donna Griffit Bookmarks

Here’s my list of “Time Buyers:”

For Collaboration

Google Drive

If you’ve ever wondered what that little matrix of 9 black squares at the top right corner of your gmail is, open it up and you’ll see a list of all of the different Google tools you know or don’t know about in one place. In case you have never been there, click on Google Drive. Welcome!

Now you might be saying, “duh?” But what you might not know is that on every Google doc, sheet or slides, you are not only storing it but you can collaborate on it in real time.

So if your partner or client is in the UK and you’re in the US, convert your Powerpoint into a Google slides and you both can write on the slides and see what you’ve written as it happens. Leave each other comments, notes, etc. Beats the heck out of volleying back and forth edits!

Google Drive Collaboration

For Repeat Email Templates

Gmail Canned Responses

This is such an incredible time saver!!! If you, like me, have to send out a lot of similar emails, responses to contacts from your site, follow ups, etc., you will LOVE this!

In your gmail, go to settings, click on the “labs” tab (all kinds of interesting things there that might or might not become permanent features), find “Canned Responses” and click “enable.”

You can then create a standard response with a blank to fill in the person’s name. Then instead of writing a new email, go to your canned responses and autofill, personalize and send. The line above has a full blown process. I can’t begin to calculate how much time I’ve saved with this one!

Gmail Canned Responses

For Keeping Track of Leads and Follow ups

Boomerang

This is the first product that convinced me to convert to being a paid user just by using it – no selling required! I was looking for a simple way to keep track of contacts and leads I received via my website.

I didn’t need a full CRM or an expensive pipeline tracker – something simple and light. I discovered Boomerang and my life changed.

There are a few features but the main one is an actual boomerang – if you check the box pictured above next to the little boomerang icon, when you hit send it will come back to the top of your inbox when you want it to!

The default is 1 week, but it can be a day, month, specific date, etc. You can also set the rule of when to boomerang – default is “if no reply” but you can set it “regardless” or more.

And it’s funny how a great product will change your user habits – I automatically go to click the boomerang check box before sending a mail now – even if I don’t need to boomerang it ;). They also have a mobile app.

 

For Seamless Scheduling

Calendly

Calendly Dashboard

When you have to set up a bunch of different calls with multiple time zones, it can get messy and lead to a lot of back and forth. Think of calendly as your dedicated meeting scheduler.

You sync to your calendar and then set up specific meeting types – I have meetings set to 20 minutes for an intro meeting, 30 minutes or 60 minutes for longer. When I send out a canned response to a lead that contacted me from my website, I put a link to my calendly that goes out to them so they can schedule an intro call with me. (I then of course Boomerang it 😉 )

Calendly knows my availability and I also set a 10 minute buffer before and after meetings in case they run over. It even sends a confirmation out to each side going straight into your calendar! Delightful!

For Great (Affordable) Newsletters

MailerLite

After reaching a certain number of subscribers, the previous newsletter service I was using (who shall remain nameless – I don’t want any “monkey business” ahem…) had an unproportionate leap in subscription cost.

I needed to find an alternative and MailerLite is wonderful! It’s a startup based in Lituania, it’s easy to use, looks great, has automation features and is affordable. No surprises and huge leaps from tier to tier.

For Free Invoicing, Payments and More

Wave

When I needed a good online invoicing app, I did a big research, found expensive and clunky services and then I found Wave, which is free to use for invoicing with a simple and attractive user experience.

This is key for a very non-numbers person like me. You can accept payments (they do take a small fee for credit card or bank transfers), send reminders, set up recurring invoices, issue receipts and track your revenues and expenses.

For Easy Peasy Payroll

Gusto

Who though running payroll and dealing with taxes can be so delightful? Gusto is masterful in it.

It’s a very easy way to run and pay payroll, add benefits, generate reports for your CPA or bookkeeper or invite them to collaborate and more.

It’s fully automated and very easy to use which is great for taxaphobes like me. But if you do ever need them, their customer support is simply stellar!

For Doing Research on Anything

Wonder

For years I’ve seen my clients struggle with finding data about their market, competitors and trends.

Startups usually can’t afford to hire analysts and they have limited access to paid resources, so Google is usually the go-to research tool, not always optimal. It’s a Wonder I found this service!

This of it as your on-demand analyst for anything you want to know. They have a membership plan that gives you answers in 24 hours or a pay-per-query which is surprisingly affordable. The data is presented in a easy to digest manner, with a summary and a deep dive, citing all relevant sources.

What a WONDERful find!

For Fast and Quality Business Cards

Moo.com

Moo Templates

I have Moo’s mini cards that are gorgeous and oh so cute. They elicit 1 of 2 responses:

  • Oh what a neat card! or
  • Why is this so small? I need glasses to read it! I’ll lose it for sure!

Both of which are fine with me because that means they’re memorable. They’re easy to design, affordable, you can choose a multitude of designs for one printing and they’re delivered right to your door. Amoozing 😉 (ok, enough!!)

I could keep going – but I don’t want to take up any more of your precious time. Here’s to a supercharged 2018!


Also worth a read:

  1. The Startups.co Guide : Hacking Your Inbox For Maximum Productivity
  2. Interview with Noah Kagan: SumoMe’s Secret Sauce for Productivity
  3. Done is Better than Perfect – An Interview with Jeff Bullas on Productivity
  4. Interview with Neil Patel On Breaking Down Barriers to Productivity
  5. The Productivity Gospel: Why I’m Beating My Business

About the Author

Donna Griffit

Donna Griffit is a Corporate Storyteller and Pitch Alchemist for startups who, over 14 years, has helped hundreds of startups and VC’s around the world raise hundreds of millions of dollars by creating stellar pitches and investment materials that compel and propel.

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