This is more for brokers and owners of independent firms like myself, but if others find it helpful, use it.
Maybe I'm a total goober for not having fancy software to run my company, but that's another post. Our setup is probably unorthodox; Ann is typically at home, Ronnie, my admin, is at the office from 9-5, and I'm...everywhere. I have a Netbook which enables access to the Internet from anywhere- my car, a client or prospect's house, or a diner.
Cloud computing, or utilizing web-based programs instead of saving everything to one hard drive, benefits our model immensely because we all have access to the same data. Our product of choice is FREE- Google docs. All Google docs are roughly analogous to Microsoft Office, and while they are not as robust, they are free. And they do the job. Better than Office, they have a great filing system.
All you need is a Google account, and you have access to all word documents, spreadsheets, forms, and plenty of other applications. Here are a few of the things we use daily:
- All messages are recorded on a spreadsheet. Every phone call is recorded and we have notes and color codes to denote status of the matter at hand.
- All buyers and sellers have a spreadsheet checklist.
- All company forms- memos, offers, and letters, are saved in documents.
- We track the status of all transactions in the Spreadsheet program.
- We track the marketing steps (MLS, photos, signs, lockboxes, syndication) in Spreadsheets.
- All files can be organized by type, labels, stars, and personal folders. Personalize it as you wish.
- Every agent on the team has a file.
There's plenty more, but I think you get the drift. All documents are password protected and sharable between our respective Google accounts. If I create a file, you can't read or edit it unless I share it with you. All changes occur in real time- I have been on the messages folder and watched someone edit it miles away.
The race goes to the swift. We might eventually get web based Top Producer or some other more feature-rich system but thus far, Google Docs have made a huge difference for us, and, I believe, put me on the same footing as any firm with it's own proprietary software. We dropped Showing Desk years ago in large part because of it (and CSS). I can't think of a time where a ball has been dropped because we weren't organized enough. This has enabled us to track transactions, prospects and many other crucial operations smoothly.
So, to all my fellow independent broker-owner managers out there, here it is. Google docs are free, can be personalized, and save automatically. You'll love the ROI.