As a virtual team, our clients benefit from us not having expensive overheads in the form of offices, insurances, and maintenance. What it does mean, however, is that we need to invest carefully in the online tools we use to ensure our collaborations with each other and our clients are smooth and productive.
Working from home the way we do is only made possible because of the online tools we use (thank you, world wide web). Sure there’s email, but if that’s your main form of communication and collaboration then you’re not fully experiencing everything the internet has to offer.
Take a look at the online tools we use here at Birdcage Marketing:
Online chat platform you set up for your team specifically. Use channels to segment conversations based on projects, clients, events, departments or whatever else you’d like to use.
We use Slack to communicate internally to avoid the crazy amount of emails we would otherwise be sending and receiving (and then having to file away). It keeps conversations organised and recorded for any future reference.
There are free plans available but we’re using a premium plan now that we’re a bigger team.
Trello is what we use for Project Management. Each client’s project has its own card and we input all info associated with the project into this card. This includes things like hours quoted, expenses incurred, invoicing requirements, status updates and we even track our time against these cards using Timecamp. They are arranged into columns based on their status and each team member also has their own “To Do” list within the board. It’s very visual and very handy when you’ve got a million and one things to do.
Again there are free plans, but we enjoy more benefits with our premium plan.
Sometimes you really need a face-to-face and the best way is through video conferencing platform Zoom. Here you can do anything from one-on-one chats, to regular staff meetings, to client training sessions and even one-to-many conferences. It also allows for screensharing for more technical collaborations which require a visual.
Once again, the free option available should suffice unless you’re running longer meetings or conferences.
Once upon a time, to share your files you needed to setup expensive file servers and have an IT guru setup access for all those involved. Now, you just signup to Dropbox.
For a while I was just using Dropbox free account and allowing my team access to the files, but as the business grew we upgraded to a Business package which gives us even more flexibility around file sharing.
Essentially, absolutely every file we use is saved to Dropbox direct from our computer. That means there’s no chasing documents when someone is on leave or away; it’s all right there in the client folder.
Bonus: I have my own personal Dropbox folders where I save everything so if my laptop ever suddenly dies or I’m somewhere without it, I haven’t lost any of my files and can access them from anywhere.
I’m an Apple girl through-and-through, which is why I love using the Reminders app on my phone which syncs to iCloud and therefore, my laptop, iPad and Apple Watch. Whilst I refer to Trello for client projects, as a business owner I also have many other projects I’m working on for the business. And sometimes inspiration hits in the most random places and it’s amazing to have a list which I can update and check from anywhere.
Whatever I input in my phone comes across to the Reminders App on my laptop. I can even add to it from my Apple Watch using Siri. Having this available means I can free up my brain and not have to remember all-the-things.
Need help setting these up?
As a marketing agency for small business, our services go beyond just digital marketing. We know from experience that seamless business processes mean better business in general. And we’ll do anything we can to have our clients move forward towards their goals.
If you’re looking for assistance in setting up online tools and processes, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you’re looking for assistance with.