Running an enterprise can get very taxing, having to deal daily with a myriad of issues across different business functions from sales, marketing, customer service and even product development. To maintain my sanity I have over the years tried and tested a number of tools that allow my team and I to keep on top of things and not get overwhelmed by the day to day. While not representing the full repertoire of the tools that power my ways of work, I trust that this curated list will help you work smarter.
Notebooks are the constant companion for any executive but I prefer to move around with as little business baggage as possible and therefore on my smart phones I use Trello and Google Keep to take down notes, jot down those random thoughts that will need to be further explored or shared with a team member later. These two sync to the cloud allowing for access from any internet enabled device and best of all, they are both available free.
Rapportive is a firm favorite, having been purchased in 2012 by LinkedIn; the world’s largest professional network. Rapportive allows me to see what those I am in communication with are up to by aggregating their social profiles, presenting a current “state” and where possible allowing for connection beyond the email channel. It is available as a plugin on Firefox & Chrome.
Streak is a nifty web application that plugs into Gmail, one of the more popular email clients for both personal and business use. As a customer relationship management tool, it has capabilities that allow my team and I to manage our deal pipelines and service support issues. I however love it best for its email management capabilities that allow for tracking and scheduling, making me more efficient when following up on communication.
Recent engagements have seen my work phone number published online on highly trafficked websites and on thousands emails. A good thing for business but a nightmare during downtime where the peculiar habits of the Kenyan consumer come to the fore with potential clients picking the weird hours to call and ask for product information or seek clarification. Here I use TrueCaller to get the caller id and allow for a more personalized greeting as a good percentage of daily calls are with people I am communicating to for the first time. TrueCaller uses the wisdom of the crowds to give you the most up to date particulars of the calling party. During downtime, the simple whitelist feature found on many phones comes in handy where only calls from family and select members of my team will come through.
You are only as efficient as your tools.