By Harris Roberts
By Harris Roberts
At a digital agency, there are always hard-stop deadlines to meet, projects to keep moving through the pipeline, and hard thinking to produce amazing digital content. At Figmints, we’ve found our happy groove and crafted an environment of extremely organized chaos by using the following stack of software tools.
Streamlining your process and being more productive is possible!
Here’s what we use:
Basecamp makes it easy for our team to connect internally and with our clients on projects. Basecamp offers an entire suite of productivity tools. Keep your to-do lists, discussions, documents, calendars, and files in a singular platform. You can even contact clients (it will automatically email them!) and assign to-dos (both internal and external) to keep projects on track. Basecamp has very affordable pricing that increases as your business grows and scales.
Trello is another project management tool, but we use it here at Figmints to offer a high-level overview of our projects. A startup favorite, it’s a simple and flexible platform that allows you to organize the progress of your teams’ projects in a visual, easy-to-understand format. Projects live as “cards” that can exist in different “lists”. We use the lists to mark the current priority of each project. For example, we have lists for high, medium, and low priority. We move the cards between the lists as priorities change based on client need and applicable deadlines. Each project card has a simple text editor, which allows you to update the card with the project status hourly, daily, or weekly. Trello ensures that we keep all of our projects organized and, most importantly, on schedule.
It’s not always practical to meet with clients in-person. Virtual meetings save time—and, as we all know, time is money. GoToMeeting’s simple and intuitive interface streamlines video, phone, and screen-share platforms to seamlessly facilitate all meeting types. For virtual meeting software, GoToMeeting is our top pick.
Harvest is a robust billing software which allows teams to estimate project time, track in real time, and then bill clients. Harvest first interacts with clients through the estimates tool. This tool allows you to send estimates to prospective clients. Once a client has “accepted” an estimate with one simple click, you can easily turn it into a billable invoice in the matter of another few clicks to initiate the process of implementing their personalized marketing strategy. To track time for an existing invoice, just create a new project, add your team, and divide up time. Team members then individually track their time through the web application or on their mobile device.
Xero is small business accounting software that can replace your need for QuickBooks. Xero is cloud based and allows for an unlimited number of users. Xero won’t replace your need for an accountant, but it provides many great features for an agency. It makes it simple to reconcile your past transactions, create invoices, pay bills, and claim expenses. For accounting software, Xero is one of the most powerful, yet simple tools.
Amazon has almost every product our office needs. From Macbook chargers to Korean ramen, Amazon consisently offers us the best prices and widest selection. Purchasing an Amazon Prime membership allows your agency to receive free two-day shipping on over 20 million items. This is a huge convenience for our office manager, who no longer needs to spend time running out to the store. Amazon saves your office time and adds needed efficiency to your purchasing process.
Digital agencies have to quickly share, collaborate, and store files—oh so many files. Dropbox makes it easy to share files both internally and externally. Also, let’s be real, cloud storage has the supreme advantage of ensuring that you won’t lose files from a fried hard drive. If you’re using Dropbox, make sure to buy the Packrat feature. For just $39 a year, it allows you to view a historical log of all of your previous file versions.
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Agency Best Practices
As an experiment, I crunched the numbers to figure out our most productive day of the week as a creative agency.