This is a revised version of Rex CEO, Anton Babkov’s article on productivity-boosting apps that appeared on realestatebusiness.com. __The biggest shifts in productivity often don’t come from radical changes to operational processes or a new brand of instant coffee. It’s the little things that add up – like removing an unnecessary step in a workflow or saving a few precious minutes every day by switching to an easier tool.We’ve released articles in the past detailing all the endless software we use to power our processes here at Rex - but let’s start with the easy-to-implement stuff. In this post, we’ll look at three different apps you can start using today to boost your own, and your entire agency’s, productivity.These apps will help you save time, communicate more effectively, de-clutter your office of post-it notes and finally emancipate your accounting team from the perennial horrors of accounting software.
Email might be one of the most load-bearing pillars of business, but let’s be honest - it isn’t great for internal communication. The alternative is generally infinite meetings. Meetings that take up precious time most of us don’t have. That’s why plenty of businesses (ours included) have moved to Slack.We’ve talked extensively about how Slack has changed our business - but it’s so good we might as well mention it again. Slack is a feature-rich, cross-platform messaging and file-sharing application. It lets you message individuals directly, or set up channels for departments or teams to make collaborating on a particular project easy. Plus, it comes as both a desktop and mobile application, so you can keep a finger on the pulse of your agency wherever you go. If you’re not using it already, we strongly recommend giving it a trial run.Deadline reminders, agency announcements, price updates, market research, OAB updates and under-contract notifications are just a few examples of things you wouldn’t want to risk losing in your inbox. Instead, these can be posted to Slack where everyone who needs to is sure to see them – either as an alert on their computer or as a push notification on their mobile.The best part? There’s a free version.You can create your own account here. It’s also a good idea to have a look at Slack’s guide to getting started and customising your account.
CRM software is great for follow-up and client management, but more diverse processes often need their own system. If you don’t have concrete processes for things like organising community events, on-boarding vendors and managing or creating marketing schedules, you should definitely look into it. That doesn’t mean you need to dust off the blackboard and abacus - we’re living in the future. Instead, for the low, low price of absolutely nothing, you can use Asana.Asana is a cloud-based task-management application with the goal of adding a little order and clarity to your traditionally chaotic professional life. You set up ‘projects’, add tasks and subtasks within them, then tick them off as you go. Sounds like any other to-do list - but Asana is built for teams. You can attach deadlines, assign tasks to other users and even use the comments system to give feedback so you can streamline the way your entire agency works together.Aggregating and compartmentalising your tasks and projects – coupled with Asana’s KPI reporting and tracking functionality – is great for keeping you prepared and on track. (Oh, and just in case you were wondering – NASA use Asana too).Asana is free for up to 15 users. You can check out their comprehensive help documentation and getting started guide here.
Xero has been making some huge waves lately – and with good reason. Their online accounting software is, in a word, phenomenal.Their platform offers an incredible amount of solid functionality for a menial fee: instant cash flow, integrated bank feeds, simplified follow-up, easy invoicing – it’s all there in the one system. What’s more, unlike any other form of accounting software you can think of, it’s actually easy to use.Real estate (and the rest of the known world) has needed a truly innovative and usable accounting application for a long time – and Xero has provided exactly that. It works wonders for simplifying the payroll, sick/annual leave, paying bills, billing out, client invoicing and all your taxes and GST. Everything that goes out and everything that comes in can be processed with just a few clicks. Plus, Xero’s desktop and mobile apps work in tandem so you can keep on top of all the payments you need to make or receive everywhere you go.We use Xero at Rex, and we’ve been so impressed that we’re already working on integrating it into our system. (Watch this space in the coming weeks for our Xero integration feature release!)I strongly recommend checking out Xero’s pricing plans – you can even try it out for free. Your accountant will love you for it.
A few bonus productivity apps you might like to try
Since you managed to come all this way, we thought we might give you a little bonus content. I said I was going to mention three apps, but here are a few bonus ones you might like to check out as well:
- Yesware or SalesHandy for tracking for email views and opens;
- E-sign for contracts and other documents;
- Hootsuite for social media management and automated marketing schedules;
- Google Docs for sharing and collaborating on your documents (a personal favourite of our marketing team).
None of the above is paid endorsement. We just really, really like their products. That being said, if you’re from Xero, Slack or Asana and wanted to send a muffin basket to 29b Helen Street, Brisbane, we wouldn’t say no…