Want to know my favourite small business tools for online entrepreneurs?
I’ve collated my top 12 essential small business tools that I use weekly, if not daily, to help me systemise my business.
Tools to Manage Myself
- Weekly Planner Template
I have created a weekly planner template to keep me on track for the week. I print it out on a Sunday night or Monday morning and map out my week, with appointments, and blocking out time for content creation. This helps me spread the load, make decisions early, and know what I’m up for.I’m old school pen and paper when it comes to my daily planning, so this works perfectly for me, and isn’t too bulky if I need to take it with me.
- Google Calendar
It’s imperative that I only use one calendar. I’ve been guilty in the past of getting double booked because I would say yes verbally to an ongoing client, only to find that I’ve already have a booking that time – online.
I actually used to have a paper calendar for a page to a month, so that I could see it easily – but I’m stepping up this year, and committing to online only. So far, so good.
I use Asana to map out my quarterly, monthly and weekly goals, new leads and client lists, and projects – which covers content, and general things to remember.
Sticky notes are no longer my friend.You can’t run a business using sticky notes as reminders. It just ends up being extra clutter. For me, even reminders and to do’s need to all go in one place.
Tools to Manage Information
It’s my second brain! The place I can keep everything, find everything – and all in one place, to save time searching for it.
I’m an Evernote Certified Consultant – I believe in this product so much. It’s a game changer when it comes to getting organised.
My photos are automatically uploaded to GoogleDrive when I take them, thanks to IFTTT.com, so I can grab them quickly on any device.
My social media images are organised into labelled folders, so that I can access them, or my VA can save them there once she’s created them.
Tools to Manage Clients
- Dubsado CRM
I’m a big fan of using Asana, if you need a simple free CRM to keep track of leads and clients, but if you’re ready to take this to the next level, then Dubsado is perfect for solo entrepreneurs.
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Dubsado singlehandedly reduced the number of programs I used, and contracted it into one awesome CRM. This program has forms, contract signing, workflow automation, canned responses, lead capture, client portals, invoicing, task management/Trello style boards – and will soon have Acuity style online bookings. It blows my mind!!
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- If you’re looking for a free CRM, then I recommend Streak, which is for Gmail users. It’s an awesome free tool that sits on top of your gmail, and tracks your leads and clients through your funnel and project.
- Acuity ($15/m)
I love Acuity – and wish I had it! I actually use Calendly, and although Calendly has now come to the party with accepting payments, Acuity is still my fave.
I’m not switching, because I know that Dubsado will soon take on this feature, so I will translate my online bookings then – but Acuity still get’s a vote for me.
Acuity has a FREE tier, but I think the $15/month option is a better one.
Tools to Manage your Admin and Operations
I love Zapier for automations. It’s similar to IFTTT.com. but more powerful. I use it with Stripe, Thinkific, Asana and Calendly to streamline the experience for my clients – and save time and effort for me.
I’m switching to Wave this year! I used to use Xero, but I just wasn’t utilising all of the features to warrant the cost, so I’ve decided to invest the Xero monthly spend into something else, and go for a free accounting software.
Dubsado does most of my invoicing, but for reconciliations and overall money management, I’m trialling this one.
One of the key benefits of using Gmail is the Canned Responses – they are absolutely priceless in terms of saving time and systemising your operations and communication.
You can organise your emails with labels that make it visually easier to find everything – and it sorts itself! Love it.
For clients that I need to track my time with, I use Tsheets. It’s a great web-based program that has funky noises when I clock in and out of each client. I love it!
Tools for Managing Others
Slack is a great free chat tool that allows you to have channels for different topics, and is perfect if you have a team of people working or collaborating with peers.
- Zoom or Loom
Often, the best way to demonstrate something is visually, so taking a video and explaining what I need is the quickest way to get this done.
I’m a big fan of being consistent, so if I’m creating videos or other content, I use a template so that I can handover all of the information required for a VA to complete the editing, uploading and distribution of a blog.
Template are an awesome tool for systemising, and you can customise them as you need, for maximum flexibility!
So there you have it. This list of small business tools will get you set up with the basics and help you stay organised and on task.
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