Best Back Office and Personal Organisation Tools For Your Trade Business
An overused word in this day and age. Something constantly on the minds of the populace as we try to cram and fit every little thing we can into our packed lives.
People are always asking – how do you organise yourself? What’s the secret to staying organised?
The truth – if I can be blunt – you can’t ever truly be organised as there is always a never-ending shit list of things to do and projects to manage, jobs to sort, and people to call.
I can bet right now you’re reading this and thinking;
‘What the fuck Jon, I thought you were meant to be positive, help me, make me feel like I can get everything under control?!’
And you’re not wrong. That is my job.
But another part of my job is to outline the harsh realities of life as a business owner and in general. As the sooner you accept this reality the sooner you can get on with the things that matter.
Which brings me to my first order of business.
The word – DECIDE
An integral word in our arsenal. Decide means, in the words of the Oxford dictionary:
To come or bring to a resolution in the mind as a result of consideration.
And; to make a choice from a number of alternatives.
However, as Oliver Burkeman illustrates in his book 4000 Weeks; Time and How to Use It the origins of the word (from the Latin word decidere) are a combination of the words ‘cut’ and ‘off’ meaning that when you decide to do something you are cutting off all other possibilities which are endless.
So the first job you have to do is to decide what matters. I often refer to this as opportunity cost. You can’t fit everything in – it’s impossible, we’re finite creatures so you have to make some decisions. You have to weigh up the cost of different, often simultaneous opportunities and decide which matters the most.
And the hard part here is you have to push away the immediate gratification your mind is seeking and think about long term benefits. Our judgement, especially as business owners often gets clouded in regards to what is more important. So choosing to run and constantly put out those small menial fires is something you need to learn to resist.
But what does all this have to do with organisation? I’m getting to it.
Once you decide what your priorities are – those important tasks that will propel your business forward you can begin organising (here we go) yourself and these priority tasks of yours – your big rocks I like to name them.
So you’ve chosen your priorities.
Now you have to organise them and yourself so you actually do something. This is the part that we all push to the side and avoid as best we can.
You, probably all have a diary, maybe use an online calendar (get one if you don’t). I’m hoping you all have a job management platform that organises the large-scale physical work you do.
However, we’re talking about those metaphysical jobs the ones that you can’t grasp with your fingers just yet.
The budding ideas you have to systematise your business.
How the hell do you formulate that into a working, automated, system that can be understood and used by your whole team?
I have no fucking clue!
Wait – that was your response.
Mine is to use tools (not physical ones but software).
Let’s chat about the different types at our disposal:
There are a number of distinct platforms that offer similar services, all with the aim to help untangle your twisted thoughts and ideas and from that generate plans of action.
Trello is a kanban style (kanban is a Japanese word that means ‘visual signal’) web software for organising team and personal projects through the use of cards on a board. Every work item is displayed on a separate card within a board for the purpose of managing workflow and priority in a highly visual manner.
So if you’re someone that learns/functions through visual means then Trello would be for you. Its functions are straightforward and easy to use. You split large projects into boards and divide the projects into smaller tasks or cards.
To give you an idea of what I mean, you could label boards as the different systems in your business; the Back Office, Operations, Marketing, Sales, Team and within those boards have the related projects you are working on as cards. Then within the cards, you can get into the nitty-gritty of each individual project, tag team members, link files, set due dates, create checklists and have a visual board of the development and progress of the project.
A lot clearer than your mess of scribbled notes and email chains.
ClickUp is more versatile in terms of different views depending on your individual preference. However, everything is first divided into a Space – a folder that you may have with the different areas of your business – then within these spaces, you have multiple view options depending on the type of work you do and your individual preferences. But they are:
- Calendar view
- Gant chart
And quite a few more.
So ClickUp has strived to make its platform applicable to a wide array of job types. These views are all divided into progress; to-do, in progress, running, complete etc… Within these labels, you can access individual jobs/tasks getting into the details of a job, there’s a description, to-dop list, subtasks, attachments, chat and option to tag members as well as track time of a task.
Again Asana is not unlike the above two mentioned platforms. But it has its differences. The dashboard layout of Asana has been done really well in that you can see the task name – usually under a larger category for example, In Progress or Milestone – due date, assignee and status laid out in easy to digest manner.
Like both Trello and ClickUp, it has the option to separate tasks into boards with cards that you can edit and alter easily. A neat feature of Asana is its individual dashboard for each major project so you can track the progress in a visually clear way with graphs and charts. Like ClickUp, Asana has multiple views depending on preference as well as the ability to label group rolls and templates for different types of jobs.
Social Media Scheduling
These are both tools you can use to schedule and post content to your social media channels which is a good way to automate your marketing. Something you should think about. If you post to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn weekly these applications will remove the time spent individually posting. There’s a calendar and feed layout so you can see how your feed will appear as well as what’s being posted when and if these line up with holidays etc…
File Managing Systems
Now you’re probably all already using a file managing system like GoogleDrive or Dropbox or OneDrive but I do feel the need to reiterate the importance of having everything in a work relating Drive in the cloud with regulated access that is separate from your personal files. This means that you don’t own the drive but your company does and anything anyone writes up in that drive will be owned by the company.
So how are you feeling after reading about the numerous tools you should be using and most likely aren’t?
To grow your business and make consistent, considerate profits you need to automate it. You need to implement systems.
Systems take time and effort to write, learn, teach and implement. This is why organisation tools like the ones above give you a helping hand in the scaling of your business.
So get your hustle on and get automated.
I don’t care which you pick but pick one. I’m not wedded to a software brand and neither should you be.
Pick something that works for you and your team and started getting your business organised!
There are four ways you can engage with me:
1. Subscribe to these emails and get them once a week in your inbox so you never miss a video from me.
2. Join the Trades Business Toolshed Facebook Group where you can watch these videos, ask me questions or talk to your peers.
3. Attend my next Tradie Profit Webinar.
4. Book yourself a 10-minute chat with me. We’ll talk about whether coaching is right for you now and if it is, we’ll go further into the process before you have to make your mind up.
See you later.