7 Days of Digital Spring Cleaning

Anyone these days could benefit from a digital declutter, but the problems are often worse for small business owners and entrepreneurs. With multiple devices, multiple email addresses, and multiple programs, a digital spring clean can help you stay organized. In just one week, you can greatly simplify your email, computer, and phone to help you unclutter your digital life.

Day 1: Unsubscribe to emails

It’s self-explanatory. Everyone is suffering from email overload, but if you have multiple email addresses – like work and personal – the problem is multiplied. On day 1 of your digital declutter, unsubscribe on all your accounts to any unneeded newsletters, especially to online shopping sites. Many ecommerce stores now let you opt to receive only a certain number of emails per week, which is helpful if you don’t want to completely unsubscribe.

Day 2: Clear out your inbox

Now that you’re getting fewer emails each day, it’ll be easier to manage your inbox. While “inbox zero” may not be completely achievable, consider using folders to organize emails, keeping only emails that still need a response in your inbox. This makes finding old emails easier, as well as makes your inbox a digital “to-do” list of tasks and responses that still need done.

Day 4: Delete old files

Clear out some space on your computer! Many of us have hundreds of old files. Notes, drafts, old projects – DELETE. It’ll make finding the files you need easier and frees up storage space.

Day 5: Organize files and folders

Now that you have fewer files to deal with, it’s time to organize what’s left. Use levels to make things easy. For example, Work>Financials>2018 is clear direction for finding last year’s expenses.

While you’re at it, consider using some file naming conventions in the future, especially if you have employees whom you share files with. Dates and employee initials are great for version control, and keeping naming consistent for monthly/annual files makes comparisons easy.

Day 6: Delete unused apps

Next up is your phone. How many apps do you have? How many of them do you use? If you still have Candy Crush, it’s time to delete. Removing unused apps makes it easier to find the app you need, frees up precious phone storage space, and could even help your phone run faster.

Day 7: Organize apps

On our last day, we’ll finish with our phone apps. Apps can be life-savers and game-changers for our work and personal lives – like how NetLines gives you a second business number on your personal cell phone – but they can also be space suckers and visually overwhelming. Move most-used apps to the front page. For any apps that you don’t use often, consider creating folders to keep them organized. For example, a Travel folder can keep all of your airline apps in one easy place.

That’s it!

Seven days might not be enough time for every digital to-do, but these basics will help you get more organized so you are ready to tackle each day. When your digital life is more streamlined, you’ll save time and frustration with all of the emails, calls, and files that are part of the modern working life.

Categories: Small Business

Apps for Real Estate Agents: Increase Productivity and Profits

As a real estate agent, you spend more time at showings and client meetings than in the office, which means your phone is your number one tool of business. Whether or not you consider yourself to be tech-savvy, apps can be an easy and smart way to enhance your business.

From apps developed specifically for realtors to common multi-use apps, here are our top picks for apps that make your business more productive – which we all know means more profitable.

5 Top Apps for Real Estate Agents

1.     RPR Mobile

RPR Mobile is a property research app designed exclusively for REALTORS ®. It connects to MLS/CIE and public records to display market statistics and property data, create branded reports, search properties, and more. You can even add and save your own photos, text, or audio notes to any property. With RPR mobile, you have all of the property data you need whenever you’re in the field.

2.     Dotloop

Dotloop is an end-to-end transaction management solution designed for real estate. And since speed is a necessity in the real estate industry, dotloop is the answer for making transactions quick and streamlined. Everyone involved in the negotiations is included in one “loop” for contracts and paperwork. Realtors can modify contracts in the app, as well as use bank-approved eSignatures. This is one of the highest rated apps for real estate agents and was featured on Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

3.     Evernote

Evernote is a multi-purpose note taking app. Features include syncing notes with others, taking and storing photos of handwritten notes, transforming written text into computer text, scanning and saving documents, and searching for keywords. There is both a free version and a paid version of the app, letting you test before investing. Evernote wasn’t designed specifically for real estate agents, but using it may make you think otherwise!

4.     Buffer

Buffer is a social-media scheduling app for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and even Pinterest. Real estate agents know that social media is important for engaging and finding leads, but it can be time consuming to remember each day. With Buffer and just a few hours per week, you can completely manage your social media posts so you can “set it and forget it”. 

5.     NetLines

NetLines is a second phone number app that puts another number on your personal smartphone. For realtors, this helps separate work and personal life, while still remaining accessible to clients. Opening the app is like opening a second phone – you have a separate contacts page, separate voicemail, and separate messaging. You can keep all of your professional communication in one place for easy management.

With NetLines, you can stop plastering your personal number on ads around town. Hand out your NetLines number instead. And unlike some other second phone number apps, you can see when an incoming call is to your NetLines number. If it’s an inconvenient time, you know not to answer!

Interested in NetLines? Check out our Plans & Pricing or Features pages for more information.

Categories: Small Business

Why Your Business Needs an Auto Attendant

How do callers reach the right person in your business? Some companies list multiple phone numbers on their website, some use a receptionist, and some use a “whoever answers the phone first” method. But the best way for many businesses to route callers is through an auto attendant.

What is an auto attendant?

Not everyone is familiar with the term “auto attendant,” but everyone knows what it is. Some call it a virtual receptionist; we call it a Voice Valet. It’s the automatic greeting that provides keypad prompts to direct callers to departments or people. It can also provide basic business information, such as store hours or current deals.

Using an auto attendant as your phone answering service is the easiest and most cost-effective way to not only improve customer satisfaction, but also to increase employee productivity. Here’s why your business needs an auto attendant:

More Professional

First impressions matter. An auto attendant greeting immediately gives callers a polished, professional impression of your business. Unlike a receptionist, the auto attendant works 24/7/365, never has a bad day, and always gives the exact same welcome message. You can even customize the message for after business hours or holidays.

It doesn’t matter if you are an established small business with 20 employees or a new start up (like you and a friend working from your garage) – with auto attendant, callers won’t be able to tell. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to immediately give your business an edge.

Save Money

Compared to other professional alternatives, a phone service with auto attendant is typically cheaper. Whether you’re considering a full-time receptionist or relying on an office manager or admin, an auto attendant eliminates that need. You’ll save employee time and money that can be better spent elsewhere.

Some companies also consider a live virtual receptionist. While these services are cheaper than a full-time employee, they still cost hundreds of dollars each month. For most businesses, it is a completely unnecessary cost that can be better handled with an auto attendant.

Optimize Call Handling

We’ve all been there – you call a business and you get the dreaded, “Let me put you on hold while I transfer you…”, only for the call to get dropped or to be transferred to the wrong person.

With auto attendant, this never happens. Callers get to pick who they speak to, getting them to the right person, the first time. And if you are usually a completely virtual system, like NetLines, it can connect to employee’s cell phones, increasing call answer rate.

Auto attendant streamlines your internal communication, reducing caller frustration and optimizing employee time.

Increase Productivity

For any small business, time is a precious resource. Employees often wear multiple hats and juggle many priorities. Administrative tasks only take away from work on key growth initiatives and operations.

With an automated attendant, the call routing process is automated, freeing up employee time. Each employee or department gets the proper calls, on time. No waiting for transfers or for another team member to relay a message. Customer questions or problems are addressed efficiently, improving employee and department productivity.

Advance Your Business with Auto Attendant

Implementing an auto attendant is smart business sense: it is more professional, saves money, optimizes call handling, and increases productivity. Not to mention it’s inexpensive.

With NetLines, you get a completely virtual phone system on your existing smartphone. Its advanced auto attendant feature will elevate your business without costing you big bucks. Explore our Voice Valet and other features to see if NetLines may be right for you and your business.

Categories: Small Business

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