Productivity

How to run your business in Evernote

Archive essential emails

Storing email permanently in a webmail folder or within Outlook is usually fine, but it means you have to have access to your inbox in order to read it. Evernote gives you a couple of options for upgrading the way email is archived. First, Outlook users can use the “Add to Evernote 4” button that appears in the toolbar to send the full text of an email to Evernote as a note at the touch of a button.

Not an Outlook user? Use the “email to Evernote” capability to send any message directly to Evernote. When you create your account, Evernote assigns you a custom email address to use. Just forward notes or received messages to this address, and they’ll automatically be converted into notes behind the scenes.

Forget about that receipts shoebox. Evernote digitizes and filters receipts with OCR.

Keep tabs on inventory

Evernote may not be robust enough to replace your inventory-management software, but it’s an excellent tool for keeping tabs on the various items you sell, along with basic pricing information. If your business involves a smaller number of SKUs, you can even use Evernote as a way to showcase your wares from any device. Just add a photo, details, and prices, and Evernote turns into a handy mobile portfolio that you can update anytime.

Collaborate on projects

Building an agenda for a meeting either with staff or with clients is usually a tedious, email-based affair. But share a notebook from within Evernote, and the process becomes much more collaborative. Agendas can be built and refined on the fly right up until the meeting begins. Brainstorming sessions can take place asynchronously, and each participant can add notes whenever the mood strikes them instead of being limited to a single brainstorming session. Got a big event to plan? Evernote can keep a dozen subcontractors on the same page.

Integrate with Getting Things Done

Evernote is a natural tool for the productivity obsessed, and while you can probably figure out how to add it into a Getting Things Done workflow, one Web programmer has done the heavy lifting for you, thanks to this 15-minute configuration guide. It's definitely worth a look if you’re a GTD freak.

One Evernote user captures all check pay stubs sent to employees for an easy archive.

Track expenses, pay employees, and prep for taxes

No, Evernote can’t cut a check, but it can keep tabs on who got paid what. Justin Lugbill of Lugbill Designs uses Evernote to replace the shoebox full of receipts. You can scan or take a snapshot of each receipt, and then save it to Evernote. Says Lugbill, “Every receipt that I get, whether it’s paper or an email confirmation, I forward to my Evernote account.” Different expense categories each get their own notebook, and employees have their pay stubs archived and organized in separate notebooks, so Lugbill can easily look up any given check. The end result looks more like a bookkeeper’s chart of accounts than a to-do list.

Archive analog notes for posterity

The conference rooms of the world are covered with whiteboard notes that are promptly erased by the evening cleaning crew, just as many a hotel bar is littered with note-covered cocktail napkins that are swept away into the trash. No one wants to have to be the guy who copies this information down into digital form, and with Evernote you don’t have to. Jesse Waites of PNTHR.com says he snaps photos of anything drawn or hand-written outside the office and drops the picture into Evernote. As noted earlier, Evernote can convert handwriting in PDFs into plain text for you. It even scans images for text and saves that text separately.

Stash software keys

What do you do with all those software keys you get for registering purchased and downloaded software? If you’re ultra-organized, you might save them in a file that you store on your computer… which you have to hope you remember to back up or print out before you wipe your hard drive (at which point you may actually want to use them again). Simple solution: Forward all registration-code emails to Evernote and drop them all into a notebook, and you’ll never lose them again.

Store business cards in Evernote. OCR turns text into usable, searchable data.

Remember a name

Business cards have a nasty tendency to end up in stacks (or the trash), which makes them virtually useless to both the giver and the receiver. Evernote makes for a great repository for contact information. Just snap a picture of the card, and let Evernote’s OCR go to work. Add notes and tags to remind you why exactly this person was important. Alternatively, you can use Evernote Hello, which, while it isn’t specifically designed with business cards in mind, does let you use Evernote as a sort of souped-up contact manager.

Spy on competitors

David Handmaker of Next Day Flyers says Evernote makes competitive analysis on the Web easy. “I’m also a huge fan of Skitch [the Evernote add-on that lets you edit and annotate screenshots and images]. I, along with many of my team members, use it frequently to take screenshots of our website or our competitor’s sites, and we mark it up to highlight important information. The functionality and ease of use is fantastic. Plus it saves our company money, as now we don’t have to buy as many Photoshop licenses for the team.”

Subscribe to the Business Brief Newsletter

Comments