I am an advocate for making sure we use things in business that is going to make our lives easier, benefit the time we have, and make our day to day tasks run more smoothly.
I also am a keen process implementer, I do feel that when we have to do things for our business and on a regular basis, having a process is key, this not only helps you to stay on track making sure you do all the right things in a specific way but also very handy should you hand certain tasks over to a VA for an example.
But, processes aren’t the only key aspect of making sure your business runs smoothly. Also having the right tools makes a massive difference, but there are ridiculous amounts of tools out there that do the same thing, but having the time to research, compare and learn is the tricky part, so I have compiled a top 10 list of essential guide of what I feel are essential tools for your business:
- Canva – You may not be a graphic designer, but this software will enable you to create amazing things for you to share across your social media and more. This will enable you to create stunning graphics/memes/headers for your business, whether you are using it for social media or bigger things like blogs/newsletters/flyers, its a great way of opening you up to the world of stunning imagery. Visit their site HERE
- LastPass – What can I say about this tool, for me, this is by far the most valuable tool I use, not only is it great for securely sharing passwords with your clients, but its a lifesaver for me personally. My clients have been able to share logins with me without divulging data, which in the world of GDPR this is a massive thumbs up. On a personal note, I use this for my home life too, I’d be a fool to think I can remember everyone’s Xbox log in as well as each child’s Roblox details too on top of my PayPal etc, so for me, this has saved my marbles on many occasion. Visit their page HERE
- Toggl – this is a great timer whether you are tracking time for a client, or whether you are trying to find out where your time is going, or even if you are trying to find out how long a task takes before handing it over in a process, it will stand you in good sted to start tracking your time. This will open your eyes to the level of procrastination!! Visit their page HERE
- Trello/Milanote – I was sneaky and grouped these two together, as for me I cant have one without the other, these two are big hitters in my business, and deliver similar results in different areas. I work on these for my own business and on my client’s businesses too. I use Trello primarily for creating and maintaining content Libraries, these libraries I feel are a must in all businesses, if you are churning out content, you need a great place to store it and easy to find. Milanote, is somewhere you can VISUALLY brainstorm, grow ideas and collaborate with others on, I have fallen deeply in love with Milanote, and highly recommend using both. Trello and Milanote
- Dropbox/GoogleDrive – Cloud sharing, where were you when I was at school, what an amazing concept, I can honestly say that I save nothing to my computer anymore, when I create stuff it automatically goes into my downloads folder but is promptly moved to a folder in one of these two – I, along with most of my clients use Dropbox, but Google Drive and One Drive are just as good to use and I have accounts with all of them. I find this a must when working with my clients, it saves on the email blockage that we used to get 15yrs ago when sending a large file to another department, now you can either collaborate in something like Milanote and Trello of saving into a cloud sharing system. Dropbox can be found HERE
- MailChimp (e-marketing) – Basically because you can’t send bulk emails from your outlook or Gmail this is an easy solution. As business owners, we know how important it is to build that list, stay in contact with our crowd and using something like MailChimp makes life easier, its a way of keeping track of what you have been talking about, keeping a log of what you have sent, how many people are reading what you have to say and much more (I have a MailChimp Masterclass coming soon…) MailChimp can be found HERE
- Wave or another suitable invoice system – I have used various systems since running R.A.Services, and this one by far is the easiest to use, I find it very professional looking, it keeps track of my earnings, and runs great reports, if you are not using a system yet and still doing things manually, then this is a great first step, and you’ll find it will work with you for many years to come, and integrates with so many other systems. Wave’s website is HERE
- Skype or another video conference system – staying in touch visually has never been so simple, there are loads of ways now to have a video call with customers, clients or suppliers, it gives you that personal feel to a working relationship, not just emails and texts, but you can get involved in a video call, Skype is great for this but there are so many other options out there, I have used Facebook Messenger too on many occasions as clients often prefer that too.
- Email – goes without saying – its an annoying necessity to have
- Social media scheduling tool – a must for any sanely minded business owners out there. Now there is no hard and fast answer to this one, this boils down to preference and what platforms you are using it for, I use SmarterQueue for one client and I use Planoly and buffer for another, I love SmarterQueue it has so many amazing advantages to it. A lot of these tools work well with Apple products, I have an Android so I find alternatives. But you do need to have at least one, it will make your life so much easier.