During the stressful holiday season, why not take a break and treat yourself!  Consider making a wish list for all seasons to make you or your business more productive in the New Year.  Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Toggl – www.toggl.com Do you find yourself losing track of the time spent on customers’ projects?  Toggl is designed for easy time-tracking. You can use the built-in timer on the website or on your desktop.  Toggl keeps track of time spent on specific customer projects and/or tasks with the click of a mouse. There is a free version and a version for as little as $5/month for solo freelancers.
  • Flip video – www.theflip.com – These small video cameras offer an affordable and easy way to record and share videos.  There are many ways small businesses can use the Flip.  For example, you can record customer testimonials, how-to videos, demos, video messages, or snippets of educational seminars.  You can then upload them to Facebook, your website, YouTube, and other sharing platforms. Let others see how your product works and what your customers are saying!
  • Form and survey creation – www.wufoo.com – While there are tools available for creating surveys, wufoo adds the ability to create forms as well.  The tool offers easy-to-use methods to create online forms and surveys such as contact forms, online order forms, mailing lists, marketing surveys, and more.  Their integration with PayPal, Google Checkout and authorize.net makes it easy to receive payment for online event registration, donations or simple online orders.  Try them out at their free level, which allows you to build three forms. After that, the price is $15 per month (and up) for more capabilities and capacity.
  • Social Media tracking –Social Media really gained traction in 2010.   Many small businesses want to monitor their social media activities, but don’t have the time or the knowledge to view and manage performance metrics on these platforms. TwentyFeet –  https://sumall.com/20ft/ – provides an easy-to-use service to aggregate your Social Media data and provide “exceptions” reporting. In addition to a dashboard on their site, they send an email notifying you when something occurs above or below the norm for your profiles.  It “learns”, for example, how many followers you attract on average, and notifies you when you have an above or below normal spike in activity. They currently support Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and bit.ly, with more platforms to come. Your first month of use is free.  They offer one Twitter account and one personal Facebook account for free, with additional account support available for as low as $2.49/month.
  • Use your phone without removing your gloves. Given the cold winter weather, you might find this little innovation interesting.  A company called Glovetips – www.glovetips.com – makes your gloves touch-screen compatible.  Who knew?!  You can modify your gloves with a kit that allows you to interact with touch screen devices such as iPhones, iPads, Android phones and capacitive touch screen devices. They are precise enough that you can even send emails and text without removing your gloves.
  • Keep devices charged with a portable universal charger- If you’re on the road, here’s a nifty way to keep your electronics charged and ready to go.  Although there are a variety of charging platforms available, a relatively inexpensive version is offered by Sharper Image called the Portable Charging Valet.  Instead of packing all of your chargers for phones, PDA, iPods, Bluetooth headsets etc, this fold-up charging pad lets you charge up to 3 devices simultaneously from one plug.
  • Social Media Management – Are you overwhelmed with keeping up with your Social Media efforts, or do you want to be involved but just don’t know where to start?  You’re not alone, based on what I’ve been hearing lately! If you’d like to give yourself the gift of time, give us a call.  We can help you sort through what you need, how to be more effective or even manage your accounts for you.  Call us at 630.717.8332 to see how we can help.  We’d love to hear from you!