Have you ever wondered what tools are absolutely essential to run your business? There are lots of options out there that claim to solve all your problems. But which ones do you really need? Which business tools are truly worth it? I’m here to let you in on my tried and true MUST haves. In this article, I’ll share my top 5 business tools that I use everyday (and think you should, too!).
It’s true that as business owners, we wear many hats. On a daily basis, we’re juggling lots of responsibilities. As a result, we’re all looking for ways to save time on the back end. The good news is that I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 business tools to save you time, energy, and money. These are my personal favorites, all of which I use every single day. Each one adds efficiency to my daily operations. I put together this list specifically with new business owners in mind. But even seasoned professionals might find some new tools to add to their repertoire!
If you only take one piece of advice from this article, then let it be this: utilize Quickbooks from day one in your business. Quickbooks is the most important tool for my business, by far. I personally use Quickbooks Self-Employed and would recommend it to all small business owners. It’s simple, affordable, and your accountant will love you for using it. Trust me when I say that it’s literally the best money I’ve ever spent on my business.
As a visual person, I love that Quickbooks provides a simplified snapshot of my money. The tool is a great way to keep track of my income and expenses in one place. Having a central location that connects all my accounts ensures that my finances stay organized. Plus, it allows me to see monthly trends and compare my progress.
Also, Quickbooks helps set up your business to be profitable from the start. For all my clients, I encourage “weekly money dates.” Essentially, this is dedicated time where you review all the transactions from the previous week and projections for the upcoming week. It’s a great opportunity to check your current financial situation and troubleshoot any issues. During these sessions, I recommend referencing Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. With this in mind, you can separate your transactions into the categories defined in the book to then make a plan forward.
It’s so important for business owners, especially women, to know what is happening with their money. In my opinion, it’s vital to have a strong handle on you financial situation at all times. Particularly, understanding your business finances allows you to make well-informed decisions. And I believe that everyone is capable with the right tools- even if it feels intimidating at first. You can do this, I know you can. With Quickbooks, it becomes much easier!
Okay, this one may be a no-brainer. I’m assuming that lots of business owners already use Gmail, as it’s the most popular e-mail provider in the world. However, you may not be aware that the Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) provides additional tools specifically for businesses. From communication to website traffic insights, Google offers lots of features to help you grow.
First, having a customized email address is a must for all businesses. For only a few dollars a month, you can upgrade your email to include your website domain (@kerryannephotography.com). This looks so much more professional than the generic option. A customized email translates into a high level of professionalism and consistency across your brand.
Second, maintaining an organized schedule is a breeze with the Google Calendar. This feature ensures that I always know my availability. It really is the best for keeping all my appointments in one place. I can schedule my tasks, plan Zoom calls, and ensure that I never double-book myself.
Finally, another great thing about the Google Workspace is that it interface with lots of systems. For example, I sync my Google Workspace account with the next tool for streamlined scheduling.
Dubsado is a client relationship management system. Put simply, it’s a way to keep all your client information organized. This business tool is the best for automating the back end of my processes. From inquiry to service completion, Dubsado helps preserve my energy. This means that my clients still feel taken care of while my energy can be directed towards creative and strategic work. It’s a win-win!
While Dubsado simplifies a large portion of my business, here’s a few of my favorite features. From the start, clients have a seamless scheduling process via self-booking meetings (this is where I link my Google calendar). Next, it’s great for handling contracts, proposals, and invoices with ease. In this way, the tool eliminates lots of back and forth regarding paperwork. Also, the forms are customizable to your brand. Overall, a combination of customization and automation allows Dubsado to provide an elevated client experience while saving you lots of time. Basically, it’s like having an administrative assistant without actually hiring someone (yet).
A common alternative is HoneyBook. But, I’m here to settle the debate: Dubsado is a better option for your business than HoneyBook and I’ll tell you why. Most importantly, Dubsado is the cheaper option. While the annual subscription rates are similar across CRMs, the transaction processing fees are less for Dubsado: 2.9% vs 3.0% for credit cards, 0.8% vs 1.5% for bank transfers. Further, Dubsado outperforms alternatives with its adaptability. Compared to its competitors, Dubsado is cheaper, simpler, and more customizable. As a savvy business owner who is focused on keeping costs as lean as possible while maximizing efficiency, Dubsado is the way to go. Get 20% off your first month or year with code “kerryannewalsh” or signing up with my affiliate link!
ShowIt is an approachable tool for designing gorgeous, professional websites. This drag-and-drop website builder makes beautifully designed websites achievable for everyone. Honestly, this tool was a game changer when I first built my photography website. With no coding skills needed (cause ya girl left her coding skills in the Myspace days), people of all abilities can create the website of their dreams. Options include creating a website from scratch, purchasing a template, or hiring a web designer for a completely customized experience. For example, my photography website was based on a Davey & Krista template, while my coaching website was designed by Liz of Big Wave Studio.
Whichever route you go, ShowIt will grow with you as your business expands. When choosing your plan, I highly recommend ShowIt + Blog to integrate with WordPress. It’s the best way to integrate blogging to increase your web presence. In case you aren’t convinced yet, ShowIt also provides outstanding customer service. Solutions are always readily available with their highly responsive communication team. They even reach out personally to ensure that your problem is resolved if you don’t find an answer on their massive FAQ’s page. Get your first month of any plan FOR FREE with my affiliate link.
Last, but certainly not least, is FloDesk. This creative email builder helps grow your email list with absolutely stunning designs. Drafting emails can be daunting, but FloDesk makes it fun by providing a visually-pleasing, user-friendly system (they even remind you to meditate while a page is loading). It’s as simple as one, two, three. One, the beautiful templates can easily be modified to your brand through customizations. Two, adding links has never been easier. Three, and this is a big one, FloDesk offers email marketing automation. Through their tool, you can create workflows to keep you connected with clients week after week without manually pushing “send” on every email.
FloDesk is the perfect tool for those looking to promote their brand through email marketing. Your subscribers will love the polished, professional appearance. Plus, attractive emails are more likely to convert customers! This business tool makes emails feel effortless (after the bit of copy-writing effort to get workflows prepped) while maintaining brand continuity. Have I made it clear how important brand awareness is yet? Get 50% off your Flodesk subscription HERE.
In addition to my top 5 business tools, there’s one more that I cannot live without: Infinity. Because I outsource parts of my work to a team, this tool is super important to running my business. Infinity is a project organization tool that visualizes workflows which is key for me (and probably for you!), as a visual person. The features allow you to visually track progress, assign tasks, and communicate with team members. In fact, Infinity reduces my stress about trying to remember all the little tasks, who is handling what, and where it is along the pipeline. So, I feel really confident in delegating to my rockstar team and they know exactly how to keep me up to date on our many project progresses.
That’s it! If you skipped to the end, here’s a quick recap. My top 5 business tools that I use everyday include Quickbooks, Google Workspace, Dubsado, ShowIt, FloDesk, and Infinity. These tools are 100% essential to the day-to-day operations of running my business. I’m all about helping you work smarter – not harder.
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