Written by BGD team member, Leslie Thompson
Whether you’re dreaming of starting a business, or you’re head-deep in it, it’s important to have a system set at the beginning for organizing all the moving pieces you’ll come in contact with.
You might even be feeling this strain now. Perhaps any of these thoughts have sounded familiar:
“I know I’m supposed to be blogging regularly, but how do I build a system to keep my topics organized?”
“When I’m brainstorming for my business, I write all these notes and then I lose the notebook in my kids school stuff!”
“Hmm I know I have a logo, but I don’t know where it is…” (if you DON’T have a logo, let us help you…)
Yea – we’ve all been there. A business requires so many moving pieces and keeping them in their correct place at the right time is not for the faint of heart. Here are some simple computer-based programs the BGD team can’t live without. In the tech world, these are called “productivity apps” and there are easily THOUSANDS of them, but we have compiled only a three of our favorites:
Project management. Woof. What an undertaking. Maybe you have an assistant or employee, but maybe it’s just you and there are so many tasks that you’ve run out of space to put your post-it notes (or maybe you’ve run out of post-it notes!). Asana is the digital tool for you. Think of this as a digital “to do” list, but with the added feature of assigning due dates with emails to remind you of them, and assigning items to others on your team. You can organize the tasks by “project” and archive the projects when complete! At Becky’s Graphic Design, we use Asana to keep all moving parts documented. Each client is a new project in Asana, and each item we are developing for them has a task and appropriate sub-tasks. When I complete the task I was assigned, I re-assign the task to the next person to touch the item. There are many project management tools to choose from, but our favorite is Asana.
Sometimes, finding files on the computer isn’t just a nightmare, it’s torture! What did I save those files as? Did I delete this image? Why is my grocery list in here?! Rest easy, there’s an app for that. It’s called Dropbox and it’s a digital server that keeps your files stored in the cloud. We will stop here for a moment to describe the cloud and why you should be using it! Traditionally, all our data has been stored on the physical machine in our computer known as a hard drive. If the file is deleted, then it’s gone forever. If a hard-drive fails (which they often do as they’re just hardware), then files can disappear. Cloud technology uses larger devices that store your files online, so if you delete one, they’ll simply go in the trash. And you don’t have to worry about hardware breaking – it’s a safe system for file storage. We use DropBox at BGD because it’s a seamless design and easy to use. There is a free option with up to 5 gigs of space, with paid options beyond that. You can create folders in which to put your files, and share them easily with your team or others.
You might already be using Skype to communicate with family and friends, but this can be a powerful tool for your business! Becky and I use Skype constantly, as she is in her office and I’m in mine across town. We only meet for a few hours a week in person, and the rest of the time you can catch us saying, “Do you have a minute?” via Skype and chatting for a few seconds to iron out a problem or share client updates. This is a free service, and can massively cut down on sending emails!
Although there are thousands of computer-based programs to help organize a business, these are the three that the Becky’s Graphic Design team uses most often!