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Tools I use to run my business

toolkitYou can’t run your business alone. This is a fact.

I’m not saying you need a vast team of programmers, designers, assistants, make-up artists, images consultants, etc. behind you. But the one thing you do need is technology.

Whether you’re a baker or a coach, to be in business today (especially if you have an online business) you need to use technology to get things done.

People often ask me about the tech tools I use to automate and streamline my business. So, here’s a peak into my business back-end. These are all the tools I use to make sure stuff gets done around here.

Operations

Email = Gmail (Google Apps for Business)

I made the switch to Gmail a couple of years ago and I haven’t looked back. I needed access to my email account (inbox and files) from wherever I was using any device. I also needed to ensure my email address ended with my website address. Google Apps for Business was the answer for me. I also love using Boomerang so I can manage my inbox better.

Note Taking = Evernote

Gone are the days of scribbling notes on random pieces of paper … and then losing them! Having a digital notebook at my beck and call is a great way to keep all my ideas, thoughts and meeting notes in one place. I can also easily store things I find on the web.

Hard Drive Back Up = Carbonite

I’m always on my virtual soapbox extolling the virtues and necessity of backing up your hard drive to the cloud. Carbonite makes this process so easy and automatic. I set it and forget it, all with the reassurance of knowing if my computer crashes, I can be up and running in a matter of minutes. I also use Carbonite to access all my files while I’m on the go.

Task/Project Management + Collaboration = TeamworkPM

I love TeamworkPM! I use it daily to manage my projects and tasks. It’s like having an assistant to keep things organized in my business. Every morning I receive an email from Teamwork with my tasks for the day. If I have other people working on a project with me, they can also log into Teamwork to review their tasks, share files and send messages back and forth so nothing gets missed.

Document Sharing – Dropbox

Dropbox makes it easy to share information. If I have a group of files or large files to share, I set up a Dropbox folder and drag and drop them into it. It’s easy and effortless.

 

Money

Invoicing = Freshbooks

The first thing that drew me to Freshbooks was the website. It was clean, organized and extremely easy to use. So I signed up and I’m glad I did. It makes invoicing a breeze and my clients have the added convenience of paying me by credit card.

Bookkeeping = Kashoo

I was using off-the-shelf bookkeeping software for years. It was clunky, too robust for my needs and I often had to pay more money for the latest version. Then I moved to Kashoo. It’s easy to use and my accountant can log in and see my files, run reports and make adjustments. Love it!

Merchant Services – PayPal

PayPal is a quick and easy way to take payments from clients. I connect PayPal to my website and my webinar invitations so people can pay me with the click of a mouse. (Note: they don’t have to have a PayPal account to make a payment.)

 

Clients

Customer Relationship Management = Highrise

I was looking for a basic tool to help me track my leads and prospects so I can ensure I follow up and keep the conversation going. I also use it to make notes about our conversations. It connects to my email account so I can copy emails to their file.

 

Delivery

At Desk Coaching  = GoToMeeting

This is a great tool because it makes me feel like I’m sitting right next to my client.  Via our webcams, we can see each other (or not) and we use our computer microphones to speak to each other. GoToMeeting also enables them to see my screen and I can see their screen too, if they allow me. I can also take control of their computer so I can show and explain how to do something.

Webinars = GoToWebinar

To manage my webinars, I use GoToWebinar. It makes it easy to set up and deliver my webinars. I can also interact with the audience by having polls and accepting their questions.

 

Marketing

Social Media Management = Hootsuite

I could spend hours looking at all my media channels, keeping up with my connections, tweeting, commenting … the list is endless. One thing I know is I don’t have that kind of time to spare. So I use Hootsuite to quickly scan all my feeds and schedule some of my posts. Anything that saves me time I will use!

Website = WordPress, Hostgator

I use WordPress to easily update all the content on my site. For hosting, I use Hostgator. I’ve rarely had a problem and their support team is great.

Video Production – iMac + Screenflow

I use my iMac to record my videoblogs. They usually need a fair bit of editing, so I use Screenflow. It also makes it easy to upload the videoblog to my YouTube channel.

Email List = Aweber

Few things are more important in my business than my email list. It’s my connection to my peeps!  I wanted a tool that was a good price, was easy to use and had support and training behind it. Aweber delivered on all of these things. It also integrates well with other applications, like GoToWebinar.

Now it’s your turn.

I’ve shown you mine … now show me yours! What tools do you use to keep your business moving along? Is there one you particularly love? Share your insights and let’s continue the conversation.

Comments

  1. A great list of available technology tools and what they do to help keep your business running smoothly. OfficeBooks is also an excellent cloud based business management system for small to medium sized businesses. http://officebooks.com/general.aspx

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