This is part of a series of posts where I’ll be sharing tricks and tools I leverage to get things done and be a more productive entrepreneur and CEO.
Your network is everything. It’s the people in your contacts list that help you quickly raise a round of funding, recruit talented individuals and land a big customer.
Entrepreneurship is an extremely busy job. If you are, or have been, an entrepreneur, then you know how busy this role really is. Between building a business, building a product, fundraising, recruiting, working with your attorney, working with your accountant, managing a team, selling, marketing and executing, there’s very little room to do anything else.
Tons of important stuff that we should do that just never gets done — like keeping your contacts up-to-date and organized. This task is very important if you plan on raising money, recruiting new talent or getting more customers — which are pretty much the key roles of a CEO. To help you optimize your time spent managing your contacts. you must pick up good tools and tricks available.
Whatever method you use has to provide a quick-and-easy way to add contacts to your rolodex and tag them for later use — or they’ll simply fall through the cracks.
For example: you’ve been receiving emails from a ton of potential candidates for a Senior iOS Developer position that you have open at your startup. You’re only going to hire one person, but you’re gonna need to hire another developer down the road. So you’ll want to add them to your Google Contacts or Microsoft Outlook and then tag them so you can quickly reach them when you need them. The problem is that you will spend a ton of precious time manually entering them into your contacts database. Sure, you can copy-and-paste the information, but it still takes too much time to get each contact into your address book. So let’s ask ourselves: is there an quicker and easier way to do this?
The answer is yes 🙂
A few years ago, I learned a few super useful tricks from an entrepreneur friend who’s huge into life hacking. He showed me hacks for everything from tying my shoes to how to boil the perfect egg. Pretty cool stuff. But the most useful thing I learned from him was how to quickly add and tag contacts in my Google Contacts and Salesforce.com in less than 10 seconds. This is done using a tool called Evercontact.
Quickly Adding Contacts with Evercontact
Evercontact is a handy online service that comes with a Google Chrome and Microsoft Outlook extension. The Evercontact extension helps me quickly add a contact to my Google Contacts or Outlook address book by highlighting their signature block:
Clicking the Evercontact extension widget will prep the contact for immediate import:
Clicking the “Save to Gmail Contacts” button will automatically add them to my address book:
It’s freakin’ quick! And very powerful, too. It adds their name, phone number, title, address, company, etc. The Chrome widget also works to import contact information found on LinkedIn or a website. Pretty cool stuff. Evercontact also has an integration with Salesforce.com, which is good news for their CRM users.
With Evercontact, I’m able to significantly reduce the time it takes me to manually add a contact — so I can focus on entrepreneurship, not data entry. Evercontact also has a background service that adds each contact that emails you to your address book automatically. That way, you don’t have to bother with manually prompting Evercontact contact to add them. I personally don’t use that feature because I’d end up with a bunch of junk contacts.
Evercontact can also go back in time, look at all the emails you’ve received over the past 5 years, and automatically add those people to your address book.
Using Hashtags for Quick Lookup of Contacts
One key thing I do when I create a contact is add a hashtag to their notes section:
That way, whenever I need to find a specific group of people in my contacts I simply run a search for the hashtag and all my relevant contacts with that hashtag pop-up:
I keep a Google Spreadsheet that lists all of the hashtags I use to track my contacts. That way, I can have consistency. You can download a copy of the spreadsheet here and import it to your Google Drive or open it in Microsoft Excel.
Now that you have a system making it easier to add your contacts into Google or Outlook and automatically listening for changes to keep them up-to-date, you’re probably gonna want to streamline getting them into your email marketing list so you can keep in touch. In my next post, I will show you how to automate this process, too. So stay tuned!
If you have any other tools or tricks that you use to make your life easier as an entrepreneur, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear about them.