As a small business owner, keeping track of things that from the outside seem simple, can often be the most time-consuming things. However, we now live in an age where there is a digital solution for most tasks.
So I decided to share with you the top 10 web tools that I simply can not live without and that have made the running of my business, not only easier, but more enjoyable too.
Like many business owners I am easily pulled from one task to another and, as I have the memory of a goldfish, I need to make sure that everything is written down. Lists and todo notes are all well and good, but what if it's something more in-depth that you're trying to keep a track of, or important company/client information?
Well, Trello is a collaboration tool that organises your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. You can literally keep anything on there and it is so simple to use that even I can master it.
You can personalise the boards, invite team members to see whatever is relevant to them and coordinate projects from beginning to end. It really is a life saver, and it has a smartphone app so you can use it on the go too.
Price from: £Free
Let's make no mistake here, if you can afford to use a design agency then do it, there really is no substitute for having a professional work on your branding and marketing. However, if you are on a budget and have an element of design nous about you, then Canva is the tool for you.
It helps you produce clean crisp images that can be used across all social media formats, websites, flyers, infographics, literally they have all bases covered. It's very simple to use but produces some great results and really helps your brand to get noticed.
Canva is a tool loaded with enough easy-to-use features and functionality that anyone can create a variety of engaging content that gets shared.
Price from: $9.95/mth
Shutterstock, a global technology company, has created the largest and most vibrant two-sided marketplace for creative professionals to license content - including images, videos and music - as well as innovative tools that power the creative process.
The truth is there are a lot of image providers on the internet. Adobe Stock is probably the biggest but I find Shutterstock dead easy to navigate and it has an awesome choice - I've never not found what I'm looking for. Unlike Bono.
Price from £19.00/mth (packages vary)
Edgar allows you to schedule posts to be shared on social media with support for Twitter, Facebook profiles and pages, and LinkedIn profiles and company pages. Not only does it schedule your posts it also allows you to build content around specific, and relevant, subjects.
Content is king when it comes to social media and the power to be able to generate content on a daily basis to keep your followers informed is a huge asset.
I have tried Buffer, Hootsuite and a number of other management tools, but Meet Edgar for me is by far and away the best.
Price from: $49.00/mth (free trial)
I don't really know how to best describe PandaDoc that will do it justice. It's an all
singing, all dancing document generator which is fully interactive at both the originator's end and the client's end. As well as this it has hundreds of fully customisable templates that mean you can impose your brand on it. With e-signatures and virtual input these documents are integral in keeping track of documents that are sent out such as contracts, proposals, quotes and even invoices.
Google Docs doesn't even come close in my humble opinion.
Price from: $19.00/mth (free trial)
Dropbox is a home for all your photos, docs, videos, and files. Anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show up on all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website — so you can access your stuff from anywhere.
Dropbox also makes it easy to share with others, whether you're a student or professional, parent or grandparent.
Dropbox is compatible with almost every piece of software that I use for my business including Outlook, Trello, Hootsuite and Hubspot. The fact you can access it on your phone also means you can safely carry around your entire database of information and have it ready whenever you need it.
Price from: £Free
For me Skype has become an everyday essential. I hold all my video calls using Skype and also use it for instant messaging. It is easy to use, reliable and takes virtually no setting up. There are other similar tools on the market but I still find the original to be the best.
You can integrate all of your contacts from email and phone to work with Skype so you never need miss out on any important communications. Very easy to use and almost everybody has access to a version of it.
"Messaging, meetings, and screen sharing all in one app that works with Office."
Price from: £Free
How did we ever cope without MailChimp? A question I ask myself almost daily now. It is so easy to use. It's best when you are creating marketing campaigns and has an 'unsubscribe' feature so that you don't annoy anybody. It is so clever the way it puts together emails and campaigns that it looks as though they have been done by a professional.
It's also incredibly cost-effective and if you offset that against the amount you would waste in man hours it is free.
"MailChimp is the world’s leading email marketing platform. 15 million customers, from small e-commerce shops to big online retailers, use MailChimp to express themselves to the world."
Price from: £Free
9. And Co.
As I said earlier in the post, there is rarely a replacement for a professional to look after certain aspects of your business. Accountancy is definitely one of those areas.
However, once you familiarise yourself with what And Co. can do for you you realise that you can actually do a lot more for yourself. It is really easy to use and gives you the added confidence of knowing where every penny is going.
You can also personalise it and create invoices, credit notes and any other financial documents that you need to send to your clients. You can even use it as a daily task list and productivity guide.
"Invoicing, Contracts, Proposals, Expense Tracking, Time Tracking and Task Management. AND CO helps you save time, so you can focus on the work you love."
Price: £Free FOREVER