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The Best Time-Saving Apps for Busy Business Owners

The Best Time-Saving Apps for Busy Business Owners

Photo via Pexels

One of the hardest parts of running a small business is managing your time effectively. There are only so many hours in the day. How are you supposed to find the time to keep up with your daily management tasks while also pursuing the big-picture projects that will help your business grow? Thankfully, small business owners have access to all kinds of time-saving apps, many of which are free! In this article, Fredericksburg Guidebook explores some of the best apps to boost your productivity so you have more free time for meaningful work.

Mobile Scanning Apps

Do you rely on paper documents to run your business? According to Coordinated Business Systems, managing document-based information can take up 20% to 30% of your workweek. That’s a lot of wasted time! Digital document management can save you and your employees countless hours. Not to mention the fact that your business will likely make less expensive information errors when you can access, store, and manage your
documents digitally.

ZenBusiness recommends using a mobile scanning app like CamScanner to scan and upload business documents using your phone. An app like this will make it quick and effortless to digitize documents as they come in, so you can stay organized.

A Synced Calendar App

Calendar apps make it easy to automate repetitive scheduling tasks, coordinate team members, plan meetings, book clients, and more. Look for
a shared calendar app with features that will solve all of your scheduling issues. For example, automatic syncing ensures that any updates you make to your calendar will instantly sync with your account and the accounts of your team members. Cross-platform compatibility ensures team members can access your shared calendar from any device or browser.

Cloud-Based Storage

A cloud-based storage and sharing app is another important collaboration tool that will save you and your team a lot of time. Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud-based storage tools. Using Google Drive, you can store business documents online and control who has access to those documents. The benefit of cloud storage is that you and your employees can access and edit shared files from anywhere on any computer, tablet, or smartphone. This eliminates the need to download and send files whenever someone updates a document.

Instant Messaging Apps

What if you didn’t have to craft a professional email every time you needed to contact an employee? With instant messaging apps like Slack, you can shoot off a quick message to anyone on your team within seconds. Stop spending time correcting email errors and searching for replies in lengthy group email threads. Transitioning your internal communications to an instant messaging app will save you many hours of pointless email work every week.

Scheduling Software

Back and forth scheduling is the culprit behind many time-wasting email threads. Take advantage of appointment scheduling tools to cut down these back-and-forth emails. With an app like Calendly, you set your availability preferences and your guests pick a time and date that works for them.

Many scheduling tools are built to integrate seamlessly with popular shared calendar apps and other productivity tools, making life even easier. For example, Calendly integrates with Google Calendar, Zoom, Slack, HubSpot, PayPal, Stripe, and more.

These kinds of integrations add features to improve the functionality of your scheduling process, like preventing double bookings and enabling customers to schedule and pay for appointments right from your website.

Digital Note-Taking Tools

How much time do you spend looking for important ideas or information on loose post-it notes? Even paper notebooks can be difficult to organize and skim through when you need to find something. In comparison, digital note-taking apps are convenient and easy to use. Since there are so many great note-taking apps out there, you may need to try a few until you find one that works best for your personal workflow. Make sure the app you choose is just as convenient to use as a pen and scrap of paper!

Time Management Tools

If you just don’t know where all of your time is going, consider downloading a time management app like Toggle so you can keep track of your hours. Tracking your time can help you better manage your workload, improve your productivity, and understand your personal capacity. If you charge your clients for hourly work, tracking your time will also ensure you don’t accidentally omit any billable work from your invoice.

When you run a small business, every second counts. Few things are more frustrating than ending a long workday and having little to show for it. Take advantage of time-saving apps to boost your productivity, streamline business management, and eliminate time wasters from your daily workload.

Do you run a local business in Fredericksburg? Consider advertising in the Fredericksburg Guidebook to get your business in front of locals, newcomers, and visitors eager to explore the area. Call us to learn more! 540-226-0988

Ellie’s Elves: Shine Their Light In Our Community

Ellie's Elves: Shine Their Light In Our Community
By: Jennifer Surles

In February 1013, Carly and Richard Blaine embarked on a journey no person wants to take. Doctors diagnosed their beautiful two-year-old daughter Ellie with Pineoblastoma, a rare brain cancer. In the following months, individuals from across the globe came together to support the family and to shower them with love and prayers among many other gifts.

Ellie left this earth on December 22, 2013, and spent Jesus’ birthday wrapped in his loving arms where she will remain until joined by her parents and siblings in Heaven. However, Ellie’s story didn’t end when she joined her Heavenly Father. Her time here on earth inspired Joni Kanazawa to start Ellie’s Elves, a non-profit foundation to help cancer patients, their families, and any family in crisis.

Having experienced her own battle with cancer, Joni understood exactly what challenges the Blaine family and any family struggling with a cancer diagnosis experience. She brought the more than 1,500 people known as Ellie’s Elves together to ‘light the night for Princess Ellie’. People across the globe joined in, including individuals from Australia, Costa Rica, and Mexico. The candles lit the pathway to the celebration of Ellie’s life and her memory continues to light the way. In addition, candles were lit around the world in her honor by those who were unable to attend this event.

Today, Ellie’s Elves mission is to bring joy to individuals who are suffering from cancer and those who find their family is struggling in one or more ways. While many organizations focus on offering one or two services, Ellie’s Elves does it all. Whatever the family needs, Joni and Assistant Director Elizabeth Nast calls on the more than 3,400 Elves to see if anyone can be of help.

A young boy diagnosed with cancer only had a short time to live. Joni brought the elves together to create Whoville, his favorite part of the How The Grinch Stole Christmas movie, in his front yard. A smile overtook his face when he saw what had been done and that wasn’t all. Santa appeared to visit with him and share this special moment and the owner of a Lamborghini arrived to take him for a ride in his dream car. This is what Ellie’s Elves strives to do, bring people together to shine a light when things seem their darkest.

A young girl lost her father to cancer. The mom contacted Joni asking about a good place to buy the child a basketball hoop. Joni offered to ask on her page, and the mom was surprised to see she asked for a hoop to be donated rather than about the best place to purchase one. Not only was one gifted to this child, but it was delivered directly to the home on Mother’s Day. The mom and child arrived home from her basketball developmental league to find it in the front yard, a wonderful gift for both on what is meant to be a special day.

Another young boy lost his mother to cancer just days before his birthday. Ellie’s Elves wasn’t going to let him celebrate alone. Joni immediately started contacting people to help make the day special and to show him he was loved during a time when the family was grieving. The love and support the family received are sure to be a memory they will treasure for a lifetime.

Ellie’s Elves succeeds because many people with different talents come together to make things that might otherwise seem impossible happen. Cancer patients have enough bad things happening in their life. The organization works to show them the good that is still out there and in the form of thousands of people, many who have never met and don’t know the person or family they are helping. It’s about caring for others in a time of need and letting Ellie’s light continue to shine just as her smile lit up a room when she was here on this earth.

Fredericksburg is An Amazing Little Town

By: Lee Chandler
Photo Credit: Doug Kerr on Flickr

As I prepare for my beach weekend and head down the road with hundreds of my closest friends (better known as traffic), I ponder about my little town. Fredericksburg is an amazing little town. Why am I even heading to the beach? Seriously, why? Everything I need is right here! Okay, maybe not waves, jellyfish, and surfing. But, Fredericksburg has a ri-vah! I can take beautiful morning strolls along the riverfront paths and enjoy nature at its best. Kyacking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and boating all all possible here in my little town. I don’t really need the beach.

If you have never taken a nature tour, enjoyed a fishing tournament, or participated in a night-time nature walk, I highly recommend it. Going out on the river and spending the day fishing can be so relaxing. The Virginia Outdoor Center or River Rock Outfitters will hook you up with a fun filled day on the river. Both self guided and a tour guide are available, you will enjoy the day out on the river. Watch the bald eagles flying around, the herons enjoying the sun, or the turtles and fish popping out of the water. How relaxing!!

Need some morning yoga? Yoga in the Garden is the place to be – sponsored by the Yoga Foundation of Fredericksburg in Downtown Fredericksburg. Enjoy the meditation and stretching to start your day off right! Jog along the many paths that Fredericksburg has to offer. Or visit the historical battlefields and landmarks and learn about our history. Not that energetic? No problem, enjoy a picnic in one of our many parks. One of my favorite is the farmers market. Whether during the week or weekends, stop by the farmers markets and get your locally grown, delicious fruits and veges, jams and jellies, local honey and flowers.

Fredericksburg is know for downtown. There is nothing better than spending a day walking downtown , stopping at all the unique shops, finding treasures old and new, and enjoys some incredible food. Have you ventured into the antique shops or incredible used book stores? The history in this shops are amazing! The enjoyment continues into the night as musicians take to the streets and jam And, Fredericksburg First Night is always a hit.

Did I mention the food? Fredericksburg has the most amazing restaurants! You can find the biggest pizza slices ever, awesome hummus, chicken and waffles and so much more. Don’t forget the tacos! Don’t be shy to go into some of the higher end establishments. I find a new places to eat every day – I really need to get out more! I would be remiss if I don’t remind you to get ice cream.

Fredericksburg has many festivals and fairs as the warmer weather approaches us – Greek Fesitvals, Fairy Festivals, Wine Festivals, American Heritage and International

Festival, and so many more! Celebrate Virginia has their music series with national bands and did you hear? ….Baseball is coming to Fredericksburg! yep, our very own team! Play ball! Can’t wait for some seventh ending stretches!

I love that I can do it all here in Fredericksburg. It won’t disappoint you. So why am I heading to the beach? Good question.

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