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Want to Make Your Business More Productive? These 4 Tools Can Help. Ever hear of GrooveJar? ToDoist? Evernote? The reality is that you can automate more than you think.

By Thomas Smale Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the tasks you carry out as an entrepreneur? The reality is that you can automate more than you think. By taking advantage of the right tools, you can take tasks off your plate, automate the ones that remain and either delegate or eliminate tasks altogether -- to start working smarter -- not just harder.

Related: 10 Productivity Tools for the Sole Proprietor

More times than not, a SaaS solution is available to help with these goals. Here are several that will make you and your business more productive.

1. Work on conversion-rate optimization: GrooveJar.

You're probably already driving traffic to your website but the problem may be that most of that traffic isn't converting. GrooveJar notes that most websites have a conversion rate of less than 3 percent. That means 97 percent of your traffic is leaving your site without buying. But, what if you could lower that rate and convert 4, 5 or even 6 percent of your traffic? Just think how much of an impact that would have on your bottom line.

GrooveJar is a tool that helps you optimize your conversion rate. It offers several tools that can aid in email collection, highlight social proof and promotions and determine why your customers are leaving your site without buying just to name a few.

It's easy to think of conversion-rate optimization as a hands-on process. Optimization typically involves running countless A/B split tests and experimenting with a wide range of variables, like fonts, colors, images, call to actions and more. With GrooveJar, you can survey your audience, collect more emails, and drive more sales on autopilot, giving you more time to focus on other areas of your business.

A/B tests are a valuable tool, and an easy way to free up your time and resources as you test to see what doesn't work and what takes your conversion rate even higher.

2. Share notes and documents remotely: Evernote.

Evernote is like a digital file cabinet. Unlike what you do with the physical real thing, Evernote lets you search and find your documents in seconds. You can also share them with your team members or contractors, collaborate on projects and keep the lines of communication open. Notes can be viewed on any device from any place with internet access by using the tool's app, website and desktop download.

Every note within Evernote can also be tagged with specific keywords, so they never get lost. Some users prefer to add acronyms within the title of their notes, to categorize them. There's no right or wrong way -- only methods that suit your specific style.

Within Evernote, you can easily add links, tables, attachments, checklists, audio recordings, handwritten notes and other media to your notes, making it a convenient means of storing and sharing many types of data.

Related: 7 Tools to Increase Productivity and Efficiency

If you're still relying on handwritten to-do lists, whiteboards, sticky notes and other physical or paper-based tools for productivity and collaboration, you might find it useful to move your documents to the cloud for quicker and easier access -- especially if you're working with contractors or remote workers.

3. Keep track of your team's capacity/tasks: ToDoist.

Project management can be a hassle, especially if weekly meetings are still your go-to for disseminating information and delegating responsibilities. Things almost always fall through the cracks, even if everyone on your team has the best of intentions.

That's where a tool like ToDoist comes in. If you've tried project-management systems before and failed, don't worry, ToDoist's interface is clean, simple and free of distractions. It's also straightforward to use, which means that whether your is a team of one or many, you won't need to spend hours training on it before deriving results.

With ToDoist, you'll find fewer tasks falling through the cracks. And you'll be able to see exactly who is working on what project, and whether that person has the capacity to handle more. This means complete transparency on where a project stands and who has taken ownership of it.

Managing projects manually is a burden on you and your managers, because you have to keep track of multiple tasks assigned to multiple employees, and follow up for updates. Lengthy weekly meetings can waste time and kill productivity. Try a different approach, and put project management on virtual autopilot to relieve yourself of that duty.

4. Track the tasks in your pipeline: Trello.

Trello utilizes the "Kanban" productivity system to help track project progress. Traditionally, this system put sticky notes with project descriptions on a white board, and moved them down the pipeline from "in progress" to "done," as the user took steps toward completion. Trello does the same thing, only digitally. And what's particularly great about it is that you can set things up however you see fit, based on the types of projects you're working on.

For instance, if you're organizing your sales team using Trello, you could have markers for "new leads," "contacted," "followed up," "meetings booked," "sales closed" and so forth. Each lead could be assigned to a specific team member responsible for moving the lead down the pipeline until the sale has been closed.

Many businesses further utilize Trello to manage their content marketing. They'll create markers such as "idea," "first draft," "second draft,", "edit" and "publish" to track a new piece of content from start to finish. Whatever your own process, Trello helps ensure that only the best-quality content gets published to your blog.

Project-tracking can sometimes be arbitrary, and getting updates from team members can be like pulling teeth and hard to organize. Wouldn't you rather have your team members take the initiative? To make that happen, make the right tool work for you.

Final thoughts

Many entrepreneurs suffer from "superhero syndrome." They take on too much, want to maintain control over everything and have trouble delegating because they want control over each step. I don't blame you! Your company is your baby and you want to make sure it has the best of everything. Unfortunately, this can lead to personal burnout, and can leave your team members feeling confused about their roles or not needed, even if they're perfectly capable. This is no way to bring your company to the next level.

Related: 3 Productivity Tools to Rev Up Your Business Processes

If you're serious about boosting productivity within your business, begin building trust with your team members. Embrace and invest in the technology that can help you automate, organize, manage and create visibility. Avoid taking responsibility over everything or feeling the need to micromanage. Instead, begin focusing on what you love and do best, whether that be marketing, business development or sales.

Thomas Smale

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of FE International

Thomas Smale co-founded FE International in 2010. He has been interviewed on podcasts, blogs and also spoken at a number of industry events on online businesses, exit strategy and selling businesses.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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