For most people the thought of being locked in a prison of gridlines is an absolute nightmare. The brutal truth of the matter is that as a small business or freelancer you are not only the creative driving force of your business, you are also the office manager, chief coffee maker and bookkeeper.
Spreadsheets are a great way of manipulating numbers, creating charts and graphs. They can however eat in to time you could be spending on a project for a new client, or creating new marketing materials to drive your business forward.
The aim shouldn't be to avoid admin (as this can cause even more hassle down the line). The aim should be to simplify your admin process, helping you to focus on running your business.
Nobody can deny that completing you taxes is an important (and essential) part of doing business. Tax forms are hardly fun however! Keeping track of invoices and payments keeps your business on track; ensuring clients are paying their bills helps you to pay your bills. Again, chasing people for overdue bills can be pretty time consuming and tedious (especially if you can't remember who you are chasing and for what)!
Luckily there are a whole host of productivity tools available online for small businesses and freelancers, making admin much more manageable. We've spotted a few favourites across the web and wanted to share these with you. If you'd like to help other small businesses by sharing any other tools that save you time, save you money or simply save your sanity, feel free to share your recommendations in the comments.
First up is a complete small business toolbox from the team at FreeAgent. Their web-based software is secure, intuitive and cost effective and described as "Accounting without the sharp pain & lingering numbness".
We spotted a review from John O'Nolan (who created his very own MOOd Boards with MOO MiniCards last year) on the FreeAgent site. John say "I was having real trouble with my accounts. FreeAgent was literally the biggest thing in 2009 that really transformed my business, and I couldn't be happier with it."
Sounds like it's definitely worth a try, especially as the team at FreeAgent are offering MOO customers a 10% discount! For those that want to 'try before you buy', they also have a generous free 30 day trial.
Another organisational and admin tool that caught our eye is shoeboxed.com with their unique 'leave it to us' system for de-cluttering your recipts and documents. In three easy steps the shoeboxed.com team will have your accounts, taxes, expenses (and even your Business Cards) organised!
One of the easiest tools to use is from our friends at FreshBooks, offering a painless way to invoice clients. Add the details of the job, your hourly rate and before you know it you've created your invoice and automatically sent an attractive email invoice to your client.
The last tool on our list is the popular collaboration tool Huddle. A great way for sharing important documents with other team mates (sometimes half way around the world), huddle allows you to work as a global small business team.
We asked members of the MOO community if they had any admin apps they'd recommend to other small businesses, and you responded in force. One of the favourite tools that you introduced to MOO was Matt Langdon Outright also "plays nicely" with FreshBooks too, so it's definitely worth a look.
Mary from Birchtree Photography is a fan of Táve for helping her manage her photography studio. Offering online bookings, contract creation, payment processing and an iPhone version for when you're on the road, it would seem that Táve has everything you'd ever need for running your own photography business.