At a small business, every cost is felt.
Software services start to add up, and many times, small business owners are inundated with sales pitches from companies looking to hook them on a subscription.
I wanted to create a quick list of methods for managing staff, communication, and social media. I don’t have the hubris to think these are a great fit for everyone, but they are answers to common complaints I hear from small businesses around me.
- Affiliate links
- I’m not getting paid for any of this. I just want to see some small businesses win. Local business is how we create robust communities.
- Subscriptions (SaaS) products
- These seem to suck the life out of many people + businesses. I avoid them. For example, I’ve heard of teams paying $1000+/month for a communication tool. Yikes.
Most small businesses I’ve interacted with are using iMessage, Texting, and personal emails. Nothing wrong with that, just could be a bit more centralised. Slack is a common recommendation, but who wants to lose their message history after a few thousand messages? Yikes.
Introducing Discord. Similar to Slack, but free + secure.
Discord vs. Slack has been gone over online a lot, here’s a good breakdown if you have time.
I’ve mocked up an example Discord for a small coffeeshop here:
On the left side, we have channels. One for general interactions and chatting, one for grocery/shopping requests (on the fly), one for ideas to improve our shop, another for requests for coverage/scheduling, and a private managers-only channel.
We can also setup an onboarding message for new employees here. Detailing what’s acceptable at work, perks of the job, and more.
(The other thing I didn’t want to add but is useful to consider. If you imagine a worst case scenario, with a nefarious employee - All communication with them is recorded in one platform. A lot easier than trying to hunt down texts, messages, or calls.)
It’s a challenge to find a good scheduling app without a monthly cost, but (at least for now), AppSumo is providing lifetime access to Soon for $180 per 30 employees.
Why use a dedicated scheduling tool? Excel doesn’t cut it. Texting isn’t great. If you’ve ever managed scheduling for 2+ people, you know that appointments, sickness, and other things come up. This tool allows the scheduling requests and time off requests to get taken care of without you (the business owner) needing to be involved.
Soon - Online employee scheduling software | AppSumo
Soon is a collaborative employee scheduling software that helps you track shifts, manage leave requests, and streamline communication. Soon lets you create work shifts on a kanban board with statuses to indicate which shifts still need to be scheduled. No more understaffing surprises!
Another version on a different lifetime deal site:
Soon Lifetime Deal - LTD Hunt 🦅🔥
Soon is an Easy-To-Use Employee Scheduling Software - Create Dynamic Schedules, Enhance Collaboration, Streamline Daily Tasks, And Manage Real-Time Workforce Performance. More As your business grows and your company gets bigger, you need a scheduling tool for your employees to get the maximum output.
If you don’t want to store this in Discord, there are a few different options. Notion is my favourite, but costs $8/month for users.
Humility is important, and thus it’s important for me to note that I haven’t found a suitable lifetime or free option for documentation yet.
Looking for something that:
- Has no user limit
- Has permission/security options (I don’t want everyone viewing manager files)
- Is easy to download/use on every device (Found one, but it’s Apple only.)
- (Wish) Can handle to-do items.
Rather than recommending a tool here, I’ll recommend a standardized process.
A typical company posting on social media:
“Oh no! We haven’t posted in 2 weeks, let’s take pictures to post today.”
Enabling your team to contribute to a digital library ensures you have content on-hand for any post. I recommend using a shared file drive like iOS Photos (Shared Album), iCloud Drive, or Box.
A great social media library looks something like this (using iCloud here)
As simple or complex as you’d like.
Social media captions and story writing can be a struggle, but an AI writer like WordHero can speed things up in a major way. You can keep the voice of your business, but add some additional ‘proven’ text without hiring an copywriting expert. Here’s an example:
I paid $90 for Lifetime access, and use it way all the time. It has plenty of different tools, the above is just 1 example. Here it is.