Are you still managing your business out of your inbox?
Your inbox is your inbox. It’s YOUR inbox. It’s not a platform where your team members log into with your account to get the details they need to complete a task.
And an email is an email, not a task and not a comment in a chat. It’s easy to lose track when you’re managing your To Do’s with labels, folders and filters or forwarding long email threads to discuss an upcoming project. That’s when things start falling through the cracks, important information is missing, responsibilities are not clear, and deadlines are not met.
It’s time to create your very own virtual office. A place where you keep all your files, you communicate with your team, you plan your projects and break your big goals down into manageable tasks.
Today, I’m going to be giving you behind-the-scenes access to how I structure the businesses of my clients and what tools we rely on to manage everything.
This might sound surprising to you, but often you don’t need a large collection of tools. When you have too many tools—no matter how wonderful they are—you get bogged down in managing them. (See our last blog post on how to deal with shiny object syndrome when it comes to new gadgets in your business).
WHAT EVERY VIRTUAL OFFICE CONSISTS OF
FILE STORAGE & SHARING
G Suite is my go-to-tool when it comes to filing and storing files. From crafting email templates in simple text documents to creating complex project plans in a spreadsheet – it’s an ideal way to house all your documents. The ability to share files with team members and clients and even collaborate on the same document simultaneously without having to download them and send them via email or WeTransfer is just a game changer in managing your business with a remote team.
I love the fact that it’s cloud-based, so I can have access to my documents from anywhere there is Internet. It’s also fantastic for sharing large files without the hassle of sending email attachments.
Asana is my favorite tool to house all my To Do’s and plan, organize, and manage my team’s work, from day one to due date. Plus it’s perfect to collaborate with team members or contractors and coordinate team tasks so everyone knows who’s doing what. The great thing about ASANA is that it has a free plan available. So if you’re just getting started and you want to keep your overhead cost low, ASANA is your tool.
For more advanced and complex businesses, I suggest taking a look at Teamwork or Basecamp – however, since they offer a wider range of features they are more complex and it takes a bit longer to use them in their full potential.
Slack is a powerful tool when it comes to instant messaging and communicating with your team (and even your clients!). You can create different conversation threads to organize communication-based on projects or areas of your business. Slack also integrates with a bunch of other tools, including ASANA and G Suite. Let’s say you discuss an upcoming marketing campaign with your team and ask your Virtual Assitant to create a set of social media graphics, Slack will allow you to directly create this as a task in ASANA without having to switch tools.
ConvertKit is my go-to email marketing software. I know many business owners start with MailChimp and it’s a wonderful free tool to start with but when your list grows you should consider switching to a more advanced tool. ConvertKit allows you to collect the email addresses of your audience via forms and opt-ins you can place on your website and segment them based on their interests. This is extremely valuable in order to send out targeted marketing campaigns.
One major benefit of ConvertKit is that every email address counts as only one single user – no matter if the email address is subscribed to different sequences or forms – no double or triple counting (and paying) for the same subscriber!
Never ask “What Time Works For You” again with Acuity Scheduling. Acuity Scheduling is an online scheduling application that can be synced to your Google Calendar. Clients can quickly view your real-time availability and self-book their own appointments, fill out questionnaires or intake forms, pay online, reschedule with a click, and get auto-reminders. The available times are automatically displayed in the right timezone, so you won’t have to deal with figuring out the time difference anymore.
Xero is online accounting software that helps to track transactions, automate invoicing, and create reports to improve budgeting and financial decision making in your business.
Stripe is a great payment processing system that allows you to collect payments through your Stripe account. Payouts are then made to the bank account that you have linked to Stripe. Stripe can be linked to a ton of different other systems like invoicing systems, online course platforms, memberships sites, payment gateways, or shopping carts.
These are pretty much the basic tools that I run my and my clients’ businesses with. More systems don’t always result in more efficiency. It’s important to create your own virtual office consisting of a unique set of tools and platforms that serves the needs of your business.
Need help with creating your virtual office?
Systems are not everybody’s jam. But having systems and procedures in place will enable your business to function like clockwork without you having to do “all the things”. Effective systems will free up your time that you currently spend on meaningless tasks, help you delegate a big junk of your work to team members, kill the need for micro-management and increase your revenue.
If you need help in creating your very own virtual office, then you’re in the right place.
I help my clients with creating the necessary systems and workflows so their business can run on autopilot, and I can help you too.