Updated: Jan 23
Running a business and, well, just generally living life takes up SO much time, am I right?
If, like me, you're always on the lookout for any way to save you precious time so you can make the most of your billable hours, focus on what matters to you and just remove stress from housekeeping tasks, then you'll appreciate these cost-effective and time-saving apps designed to keep your business running smoothly.
There's a lot out there and what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another, but here are 7 business tools that I, personally, find super helpful day-to-day.
Just to put it out there - as with most things, the level of functionality differs across the platforms depending whether you use the free version or upgrade to a paid version. However, these are all relatively cheap and usually offer free trials before you need to decide whether or not to make the purchase.
Best for... Design
What was life without Canva?? I can't even remember!
No need for design experience, Canva pretty much has everything you need built into the platform. There are templates for pretty much all the essential places you'd need design elements (social posts, email banners etc.). You can resize anything, add video, graphic elements, animated text etc. And if you're stuck for inspiration, Canva has a great cache of easy-to-customise templates.
I use it to design pretty much everything from Instagram & Pinterest posts to presentations to workbooks.
Best for... Bookkeeping and finance
With a background in sales, I get numbers. But as a business owner, like everyone else, I want it to be easy. And that's just what Xero is - an easy-to-use finance software to use. In my experience, their customer service has always been above par. Most useful is having the app on my phone too so I can upload receipts straight away when I'm on the move and before I forget.
Best for... Scheduling social posts
We know we have to be active on social media to be close to our audience, but it can be hard to take time out of every day to post at the BEST time. That's where Later comes in.
My go-to social media scheduling app - I just love the ease of it. You can preview what your posts will look like too on your live feed which is helpful for ensuring the size is right as well as aethestically (if that's your thang).
Plus, you can tag people, add a 'first comment' (hashtags), add multiple posts & upload videos.
Best for... Website building & management
I'll just say it now - I am, by NO stretch, a website design guru and, to be completely honest, I don't know a great deal about the other available platforms but I DO know that Wix has worked really well for me over the years, so I stick with it and now can use it very comfortably!
You don't need to be a website wizard to get to grips with Wix, their help centre has LOADS of easy-to-follow step-by-step guides.
It's a pretty well known platform, which means there's tons of YouTube tutorials available as well and lots of plug-ins and apps that easily integrate to the website (shopping carts, blogs, pop-ups etc.)
Best for... Inbox scheduling
Lesser known, this is Gmails' email scheduling tool. I actually don't need to use it very often but when I do need it, it really does come in handy. Need to remember to follow up with a client/supplier? Schedule it so you don't forget. Sometimes, just as I'm laying in bed about to fall asleep I'll get a sudden spurt of creativity or an AMAZING idea I want to share (anyone else?). BUT, I look at the clock and it's midnight so I don't want to email someone that late. Not a problem - I simply write out the email and schedule it to be sent the next morning - easy peasy ✌️
Best for... Automated workflows and email marketing
Recommended to me by a fellow business owner, this service has been a godsend. The software is so slick and easy to use and any time I've got stuck, their support team are really responsive and on-the-ball.
Building emails has never been easier, with lots of fab templates to help you get creative. BUT easily the best offering is the ability to create automated workflows/emails.
For example, when you landed on my website, if you're not subscribed to my newsletter (why not babe?!) then you would see a pop-up form. Once you input your details into the form, you go into a secure, dedicated email segment on my Flodesk database. This triggers an email send, a 'thank you for signing up email' will go to you. Then after a period of time (say 1 week/month) another email will be sent. It's a fabulous way to keep your audience engaged and your database clean (of course, users can unsubscribe at any time).
7. The Business Group (on Facebook)
Best for... Connecting with a like-minded community
Ok ok, a little biased of me to pop this one in here BUT hear me out!
Having recently spent time revisiting my own business foundations & purpose, it was pretty clear to me that connection, community & collaboration sit at the heart & soul of everything I do. I wanted to create something that allows me to further this in my business and after tons of research of alternative tools, I came full circle and landed on a Facebook group (sometimes the most simple option is the way forward!) to share advice, guidance & inspiration as well as further connections & collaborations among you lovely peeps.
You can expect weekly lives, business & sales advice, collaboration prompts, reflection time, planning guidance, business development ideas, downloadable resources & tools, a shedload of support and lots more 🙌✨
FREE business resources
Whether you need something to start you off or useful tips to keep you on track, my easy-to-action guides, templates and checklists are designed to help you build your business toolkit. Plus, you can download my previous online workshops and watch them at your leisure.
Best of all? Totally FREE to download babe. Check them out here.