Getting organized and staying organized is the most essential layer of entrepreneurship. Whatever stage your business is in, whether it’s brainstorming, starting up or accelerating, having a foundation where growth can happen is vital for your business. In fact, it is as vital as the soil is to the trees in the forest.
I want to introduce a tool to you that is so impressively easy to use, that I believe every entrepreneur can take advantage of it to help run their successfully business. Even if it is just a good friend in need of some organizational technology. This tool is called Trello. Trello is an excellent tool to collect and store information of all kinds. From professionally organizing yourself, to accompanying your own business during its growth, this tool will prove to be extremely beneficial to you.
I have used it for years, and I love it. I love it for its simplicity. I love it for its beauty. And I love it for its flexibility.
What is Trello?
The most simple explanation comes from Trello itself:
“A Trello board is a series of lists, with a bunch of cards attached.”
The cards can be moved from one list to another by simply dragging and dropping them.
The basic setup in Trello consists of 3 things:
- Lists – these are the column headers of the board. The eternal classic kinds of lists are, “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done”.
Organize your business with these features
Trello’s features will bring your projects and your business into an organized flow. Trello possess features such as following up on tasks, over coloring labels, adding attachments or creating automations with other applications. If organizing your projects require flexibility, Trello can help you with that as well.
Here’s a pullout of what Trello has to offer to enhance the organization of your data for any area of your business:
They are easy to create (even with copy & paste), easy to adjust, and can even be copied to new cards.
A way to categorize and sort your cards. Label names are colored and customizable, and you can give a card multiple labels.
You can upload files to each card, either from your computer, one of the major data storages (Box, DropBox, GoogleDrive) or from a link. If you are using the free version of Trello, there is a 10 MB upload limit per attachment when uploading files from a computer; with Trello Business Class or Trello Card, the limit is 250 MB. Upload limitations do not apply when one of the data storages is being used, because it’s not really an upload taking place here but a linking to this storage.
Let your team or the public vote on what issues are most important for you to follow-up on. Enable a so-called power-up in the menu. Votes are synchronized and shared between all users sharing this board.
If you are a keyboard wizard, there are shortcuts available for faster navigation. Pressing “?” will open the shortcuts page.
You can set a date and time for when a card is “due”. A badge is added to the card indicating the due date. Due dates can be edited and removed, you can also subscribe to a card to receive notification 24hrs. before a card is due.
Archiving / Deleting cards
When you are finished with a card, you can archive it with a click. The card is being removed from the board, but you can always review it in the archive. Deleting a card removes it irretrievably.
in the upper left part of the page there is a search box, which helps you to search all of your boards and cards. Search operators help you find specific cards or keywords. You can also save your searches and come back to them at a later point in time.
With Trello Business you can integrate external applications directly into Trello. Currently available are: Appear.in, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, GitHub, GoogleDrive, Google Hangouts, HelpScout, MailChimp, Package Tracker, SalesForce, Slack and Twitter.
Every single board has its own calendar. Each of these calendars have their own feed, which can be integrated with 3rd party calendars, such as Sunrise, Google Calendar, or iCal.
Every board can be made private (only for the user who created the board), public (for everyone visible with the link; it will also be visible in Google), or restricted to the team, (only team members will be able to edit).
Adding Content to a Board
Adding content to a board is much more fun than it sounds.
The classical way of typing
Of course there is always the classical way of typing.
You can click on a card, give it a title and then open up the card and fill it with texts, comments, ideas, links, attachments, pictures, or anything else you’d like.
Content from URL
A second option is creating a card from a web source.
Let’s say you found an article about a certain marketing strategy that you find worthwhile to explore for your business. What you can do, is drag and drop the URL from the browsers address line, and instantly create a new card with the relevant data from the article. This card will then include the text as well as the original link, and even a picture, if it’s available.
Content from Spreadsheets
A spreadsheet’s column can be entirely converted into a card and then either be split line by line into several cards, or encompassed as an all in one card.
Customizing a Trello Board
With the free version you can choose between six background colors for a board. Blue is the standard color. Occasionally, in exchange for some social networking, Trello offers a temporary upgrade to Trello Gold, but you can also get it when referring someone or upon subscription, of course.
In this mode, you can replace the basic background colors of your created boards with images of your choice, and create unique and beautiful boards that reflect the board’s content, or your business.
You can even place your company’s logo to an image of your choice, but there is some preparation necessary for this. If you want to create your own board background with your company’s logo, follow these guidelines to fit the background accurately:
- Board dimension: 1280px * 720px
- Logo dimension: 400px wide
- Logo placement: 60px from the bottom left corner and 30px from the left side
Automating Trello tasks with IFTTT
IFTTT is a service that connects web applications, and automates interactions between them. I have given an extensive example in this blogpost, where I describe how to set up a Board in Trello, which automatically stores any tweet you mark as a favorite.
To create an automation with IFTTT, you can use only those applications that are included in its channel empire.
To make use of IFTTT, you will need to create a recipe.
A recipe consists of a trigger and an action, and first you’ll have to research what triggers and actions are at all possible within Trello.
Trello’s current triggers are:
- Card added to a board
- Card added to a list
- Card assigned to a person
The only action currently available in Trello is the creation of a card.
Some useful IFTTT recipes
Create scheduled and recurring Trello cards
Do you have regularly upcoming tasks? Connect Trello with the Date & Time-Channel in IFTTT, and set up regular reminder cards in the board of your choice.
What if you could label an email in your Gmail account and have it come up in a Trello board? – Well, you can! Whether it’s a sales lead you want to track in Trello, or a job application you want to add to the Job Hire board, you can set up a distinctive label in Gmail, create a recipe in IFTTT, and off you go. (You can find an example of a recipe below.)
What are your most-loved features in Trello? How does or did it help your business in organizing your workflows?
Please share with us in the comment section below!