William Penn said that “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” Anyone wading into entrepreneurial waters for the first time has come up against this reality. Plenty of talented, committed people with marketable ideas have seen their startups wither away because they lost the battle with time management.
On the other hand, many professionals go a little overboard in their war against the clock. So before you try to function on only 20 hours of sleep a week, you might want to take a lesson from the classic efficiency model: the assembly line. Any process that is refined with more efficient actions will save you time, money, and sanity.
Changing the ways you share information with your employees and access your company’s social media accounts can ultimately save you hundreds of hours a year. To help serve that mini-revolution, here are two apps that are quite useful for any entrepreneur or startup: Evernote and Hootsuite.
Cost: There’s a free version and an upgraded account that’ll cost you either $5 a month or $45 for the year, if you’re convinced you’ll get 12 months of usage out of it. If this app sounds like it’s up your alley, you’re probably only going to need the free version; the difference is largely between storage size and the lack of ads (which aren’t intrusive in the first place).
Who This is Good For: Evernote is a great program if you like a little bit of
controlled chaos in your work day. Or, if you’re spending too much time formally organizing ideas and comments that will never go beyond the enclosed circle of your team.
HootSuite: Take Back Time With Better Social Media Management
The 411 About This App: If this is year one for your business, odds are that you’ve been handling all the social media outreach yourself. You’d probably shed a tear if you added up all the time spent on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. The only thing worse than all that time spent on redundant messaging is when a client or customer posts something to you that escapes your notice for hours or even overnight, hanging there in the digital void for all to see. That’s worse than the teacher who just called your name and the whole class turns around to find an empty chair.
HootSuite is essentially a dashboard for social media, giving you an online hub that lets you access and monitor everything from one place. You don’t have to worry about missing something important, and it lets you update your various accounts with one single message.
Cost: Like Evernote, HootSuite offers both a free and a “professional” plan, which will set you back $9.99 a month. And like most apps with upgraded plans, this one probably isn’t beneficial for most people. The upgraded plan gives you unlimited social media accounts—as opposed to the 5 offered via the free version—but you really aren’t going to need anything other than those original 5 slots, which include the heavyweights like Facebook, Twitter, etc. It’s a little bold to charge someone 10 bucks a month to manage their MySpace updates.
Additionally, the upgraded account incorporates things like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights into your dashboard, so if that’s something of interest to you than maybe you should consider going pro. But again, the odds are that you spend considerable time each week on these programs already, so you have to decide if it’s worth $9.99 a month to organize them in the same hub as your social media.
Who This is Good For: HootSuite also works great for inter-company communications regarding your social media content: you can highlight a particular tweet and then message your team external of twitter, allowing you to comment on anything you see without ever worrying about accidentally tangling those information streams and publishing something on your Facebook business account that was only meant to be seen by the administrators (it happens far more often than you think).
It’s also relatively easy to set up accounts with different levels of access, so if you’ve got an outside contractor managing your Twitter feed or LinkedIn account, you can still communicate with them via HootSuite but keep them locked out from the rest of your company’s social media accounts.
Both of these apps are quick and easy to get started with, so give them a try today and see if you can score some points against that ever-present ticking clock.
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