Erin Weisbart uses Trello to organize her small business. Today she’s showing us all the different ways she puts this handy app to use. Here’s Erin:

How to use Trello to organize your small business.

As small business owners (and individuals for that matter), staying organized is a constant challenge. I’ve found Trello to be a great tool to help with organization and I wanted to share the variety of ways I’ve been using it in the hope that it can help you get and stay organized as well.

So what is Trello? Trello is a “web-based project management application”, or in other words, it’s a website you can use to organize things. Trello is free for a basic membership (and everything I explain here can be done with a basic membership).

Trello is made of boards, lists, and cards. A card is a single object (that can actually have a bunch of information contained on it, but more on that later). Those cards get organized into lists (and you can easily move cards between lists) and those lists are organized onto boards. You can think of the cards as index cards that can be organized into groups (lists) and stored in a card box (board) but because they are digital, there’s a lot more you can do with them! I’m sharing here several different ways that you, as a creative and small business owner, might want to use Trello yourself.

to do list trello

Organizing to-do lists: I don’t know about you, but I use lists to stay organized. The problem is, I often have all sorts of lists running and I’m not quite sure which notebook or piece of paper holds which list. The main thing that I use Trello for is to keep my lists organized. One example is my “To Sew” board. Each list on the board is a different season or category of sewing and each card is a garment that I want to sew. Another example is my “Blog” board. I have lists for different stages like “Photographed, need to write” or “Sewn, need to photograph” and lists for different categories of ideas that may some day be blog posts like “tutorials”, “book reviews”, and “pattern hacks”.

contact management trello

Contact management: As a small business owner, you probably don’t need a dedicated contact management software, but it is probably a good idea to organize contacts you have made – whether it’s people you are interviewing for your podcast or store owners you want to pitch your product. Make a card for each contact and place it in a list for the type of contact. You can add comments to the card so you remember where/when you’ve made contact or what you talked about and you can add labels to your cards to visually show where it belongs in your workflow. One nice feature is that once you’re done with a card it gets archived instead of deleted so it’s easy for you to dig up the information if you find you need it down the road.

daily trello

Planning your week: I like to sit down at my desk on Monday morning and make a list of everything I need to get done that week (and everything I’d like to get done that week). I write every “to-do” on a separate card and then I can easily slide them between lists (representing each work day) to plan out my week’s work.

organizing files trello

Organizing files: Since I run a business with an international partner, we use Google Docs for all of our files so that we can both access and edit them at any point in time. Trello lets you link Google Docs to a card so that you can access your document with one click. We make it easy to find exactly which document we need by having a card for each category of document and the documents linked to the card. (You could also do this by having a list for each category and a single document per card if you had fewer categories but more documents than we do at the moment).

organizing fabric trello

Image courtesy Helen Wilkinson of Helen’s Closet.

Cataloging supplies: One thing that all of us probably have in common is a stash of supplies for our craft. As a sewist, my weakness is fabric and I have quite the fabric stash. Trello is a great way to visually organize any supply you have since you can upload images to your cards. Make lists like type (e.g. bottom weight, linens) or location (e.g. top shelf of closet, bin under desk).

Do you already love Trello and have other ideas for how to use it? Are you inspired to give it a shot yourself?

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Erin is an obsessed sewist, tattooed knitter, cat herder, and mad scientist. She empowers folks to feel comfortable and confident in their bodies by publishing garment sewing patterns for Every Day Dress Up as Tuesday Stitches. She is also the co-owner of MaternitySewing.com.

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