Productivity tools can be the key to scaling a business and competing on a level playing field with bigger firms. But today's tools have to deliver more than productivity; they have to be accessible from wherever we happen to be.
Many of us work on the go or from remote offices. Our teams may be scattered across the country or even around the world. So not only do we need powerful tools, but they should be cloud based so we can access them from anywhere and from any device, be it desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Here are 10 of the most powerful tools I recommend that will help you be productive no matter where you happen to be:
1. Upwork. Billing itself as the world's largest freelance site, Upwork makes the process of outsourcing easy. Simply post the job that you need done, and before you know it you'll have a list of qualified candidates eager for you to hire them.
The Upwork Pro version will handpick the best freelancer for your specific job.
People per Hour. In the event you need that job done in an extra hurry, People Per Hour allows you to quickly post a job to be listed on the site's "Hourlies" section for a wide variety of projects that need to be done quickly.
The PPH interface makes it easy to receive proposals, hire, and communicate with your freelancer. You then place a down payment with the remainder of the amount released when the job is done.
2. Slack. No matter where your team is located, Slack brings them all together on one easy-to-use platform. Available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and their mobile counterparts, this cloud-based tool organizes your team's projects and all their communications.
Slack is a freemium product available for an unlimited number of users, making it perfect for small businesses.
3. Teamwork Projects. Slack isn't alone among collaboration tools. Specifically created for small business, Teamwork Projects is a power platform with various plans to choose from.
The color-coded, modern interface makes organizing and assigning tasks easy. Navigation links include calendars, files, tasks, timing, and even billing and payroll. The Teamwork Chat feature is a great platform for keeping everyone connected.
4. Hootsuite. Managing every social media outlet can quickly become a time sink. That's where Hootsuite comes in. It gives you a personalized dashboard with all of your social media channels in an organized and easy to manage format.
The main benefit in using Hootsuite is that it saves you time and lets you manage it from anywhere. Your small business can enhance the power of social media while allowing you to measure its direct impact on your ROI.
5. Skype. Skype may not be brand new, but the platform's constant evolution has kept pace with the changes in small business. The platform's Translator feature allows you to communicate in eight languages in voice and more than 50 languages in instant messaging.
Meanwhile, Skype Group lets you collaborate via voice and streaming video with up to 25 colleagues. The platform gives you the feeling of being able to meet for a conference call or for a brief brainstorming session with your team--even if your team is scattered across the country.
6. Mobile Hotspot. Though available on many different mobile operating systems, a mobile hotspot can be invaluable to small business owners and team members on the move. Whether waiting for a connecting flight, visiting a client in a distant city, or trying to locate internet service while on the road between events, hotspots are about always being connected.
If you can find mobile phone coverage, you can get online to maintain your website, update social media, or chat with your team.
7. Toggl. If you're looking for a simple time tracker to keep you focused on one task at a time, Toggl is an option. Simply click on the Toggl button, and in a stopwatch type of action, and you'll have a logged and recorded measure of your performance.
Toggl allows you to monitor how much time you're spending on tasks with easy-to-read reports that you can share with your team. The seamless syncing between mobile and desktop allows you to continue tracking even when there's no Wi-Fi.
8. Evernote. Evernote takes the art of clipping, organizing, and taking notes to the next level. More than 200 million users depend on Evernote, so your small business may want to consider it as well.
Evernote's free Basic Plan will get you started, but to sync more devices and store more data you will need to upgrade.
9. Telegram. Telegram allows you to share and communicate with your team as in the case of other collaboration software. Think of text messaging but with the ability to send any type of file. Pictures, videos, and any type of doc files can easily be sent through Telegram.
Telegram has a native app created for every platform: PC, Mac, and Linux. All team members can get involved, no matter what device they use or where they are.
This article originally appeared on Inc.
Photo via VisualHunt.com