As someone whose entire business model is wrapped around the concept of ‘virtual’, it’s extremely important that I employ technology to my advantage so that my business processes and communications are efficient. In my arsenal of tech tools, there is one that I simply could not live without: Evernote – a cloud based application that allows me to save and share notes, files and ideas. To convince you of the true power of Evernote – and the ways it can transform your small business – I’m sharing a list of 9 ways you can use Evernote to increase productivity and efficiency.
1. Project Information Tracking: One of the basic features of Evernote is the ability to create an endless number of notebooks. By creating a notebook for each project I’m working on, or Client I’m working with, I have the ability to save valuable information in the form of notes, which include items I’ve created myself, clipped from the web or added via email. Once a notebook is created, I can share all, or some, of it’s content with other team members or my clients so that they have access to important information about the project.
2. Researching and Brainstorming: How often have you had a great idea you wanted to jot down so you wouldn’t forget it or seen a new idea that inspires you? Or maybe you came across a tidbit of information on the web that you want to use to develop an idea for your business. No matter where your inspiration comes from, with Evernote you can quickly jot down ideas, or add via voice memo, using your PC, smartphone or tablet. You can also take a quick picture and save it to your notebook or use the web clipper add-on tool to save an online article or section of an article. Evernote tag and category features allows you to catalog your notes for quick and easy access through search.
3. Keeping Track of Expenditures: I know I’m not alone when it comes to struggling to keep track of business expenses and receipts. With Evernote, I take a quick picture of my receipts while I’m traveling and save as a note in a notebook created for that trip or meeting. You can also easily save emailed receipts into Evernote with the email add-on tool. One simple ‘click’ and it automatically saves your email as a note. If you’re more into scanning, you can use the Scansnap Evernote Edition scanner to automatically scan items to your notebooks.
4. Training and Managing Business Processes: Being that it’s 2014, I am truly hoping that no business out there is still using a large black binder to catalog all their business processes and training guides. In Evernote you can create training or process notebooks for every area of your business and keep them all in one place to share with your team members. As processes change, or need to be updated, the entire team can lend a hand to make those changes directly in the notebook for all to see. This can save you valuable time in answering the same questions over and over to different members of your team, as the resource is always live and available to them for referring to.
5. Traveling: There are lots of apps out there that help you to organize travel and Evernote is another perfect solution. Keep your electronic boarding passes, trip itinerary, confirmation numbers, hotel and transportation phone numbers and all other information you need in a notebook for your trip and access it quickly from your smartphone or tablet. Meeting a lot of new people on your trip? Try snapping images of their business cards and saving to your notebook or try Evernote Hello, a add-on tool that helps you remember people you meet and the interactions you have with them.
6. Showing Off Your Portfolio: Every have that experience of running into the potential client that shows great interest in what you do and wish you had your portfolio available at the click of a button to show them? Now you can! Keep a portfolio notebook and save notes that consist of your media kit, product sales sheets, work examples and references and quickly show them and share them with that person right on the spot!
7. Meetings: While they can be a huge drag on productivity, meetings are one aspect of business that will never go away. So to make them more productive, come organized and ready to go! Keep a notebook for each meeting and save your agendas, meeting notes and any other assets that you’ll need to reference during the meeting. Instead of wasting time fumbling around looking for things, you’ll have everything in that one electronic notebook to review and share with the team.
8. Managing and Sharing Social Media: Evernote gives you the ability to ‘share’ any of your notes to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+. Just connect your accounts and sharing is a simple click.
If you are a Hootsuite user, then you will love the integration it has with Evernote. Adding the app to Hootsuite allows you to see all of your notes on the dashboard for quick sharing. To see more ways you can use Evernote with Hootsuite, watch this video from Steve Dotto.
9. Create and Manage Task Lists: This is a feature I use a lot – both in my business and personal life. If you have a task that involves a number of steps to be completed or has a number of different individuals taking on different portions, you can create a simple task list in Evernote, complete with check boxes and all the notes you need to get the task done. It’s a great way to track what needs to be done and what has been done!
As you can see, Evernote can help you become more productive and organized in nearly every aspect of your small business – and really, this is just a small peek at what it can do for you. The basic app is free to download on your computer and mobile devices or you can upgrade to the premium plan for $45/year and unlock a number of additional cool features.
Now is the time to take control and realize the full potential of Evernote. Give just one or two of these ideas a try and I’m sure you’ll see a huge boost in productivity.