Tools I Use to Run My Business (updated for 2021)
Running a predominantly digital business means that I have a plethora of tools that I use on-the-daily to keep my business running smoothly. Over the years, I have shifted to some new platforms but some have remained tried and true.
I’m sharing the list of the top tools I use for my business for the following categories:
This list is by no means exhaustive (that would be far too long of a blog post), but these are some of my favorites!
Tools for Organization
Top Choice: My Agenda
This is a bit anti-climactic. I know there are so many great digital tools out there for staying organized but I am a die-hard fan of the old agenda. Being able to physically write out what I need to get done each day and cross it off is insanely rewarding for me. It also allows me to easily flip back to previous weeks to reference when I completed work.
I’ve tried to switch to online planners, but for me, nothing will replace the perfection of an agenda. Plus, shopping for a new agenda each year is a true highlight for me (lame, but I cannot deny it).
Other Organization Tools:
Planning: Google Calendar (I have so many colour coded calendars that if this ever went down I would, no joke, be completely lost)
To-Do List Tracking: Todoist (If I am working on a task list that I have to share with others, I love using Todoist
Instant Messaging: Slack (communicating through text or email can be hard sometimes, but Slack makes communicated with individuals and teams so much easier)
Tools for Clients
I use a number of tools every day when working with my clients (or even managing my own “client-like” tasks). Whenever I select tools that can also be client facing, I want to make sure the tools are easy to use and serve a purpose to help (not hinder). There’s nothing worse than sharing a tool with a client that causes them a headache to use.
I love the visual planning aspect of Trello. The easy-to-digest visual layout makes it easy to use and easy to share with clients if necessary. Trello is also extremely flexible in how you can use it. I use it for brainstorming, housing documents and resources, task management, and so many other things.
I also love that I can be confident when I share a Trello board with a client that they don’t need in-depth training on how to use this tool. I can easily share the board with them and allow them to add to any of the planning boards without having to hold their hands.
Other Client tools:
Social Media Scheduling: Later (I love this for scheduling social content and Instagram feed planning)
Task Management: Asana or Monday.com (though, to be honest, I have a deep love and appreciation for so many task management platforms, these are just two of my favorite choices)
Document Sharing: Google Drive (this is so simple to use and I can access it from anywhere so I don’t have to worry if my computer crashes that I’ll lose everything….not that this has ever happened *ahem*)
Tools for Creative and Design
Now, you will never hear me credit myself as a designer. I consider myself very talented in many areas, but graphic design is not one of them. However, thanks to a number of helpful tools, I can get around this lack of skill and put out professional-looking designs for my business.
I don’t think I could get by without using Canva. This is a literal lifesaver for me when it comes to creating top quality social media posts, presentations, proposals, and almost anything else.
They have a seemingly endless source of templates depending on what you are looking for. Need a holiday-inspired post? They’ve got it! Want to put together a PowerPoint that doesn’t look like it was made by a 10-year-old? You can do it so easily! I’ve tricked many a person into thinking I have a certain design prowess by using Canva.
It’s easily my top favorite design-based tool for my business. There are a free version and a paid version ($16.99/month CAD). I use the paid version so I can upload my brand kit to ensure everything I create easily falls into my brand feel. It also gives me access to a ton of stock images for creating posts which are really handy when you don’t have the time (or the talent) to create your own images.
Other design-focused apps I love:
Design: Over (I love this for designing social content on my phone)
Stock Imagery (Free): Unsplash or Pexels (super high-quality images that don’t feel too “stocky”)
Stock Imagery (Paid): Envato Elements or iStock (if I need to find a really specific image or graphic, I turn to these two)
Tools for Business (in general)
Managing a business requires wearing so many hats. One hat that I am not overly fond of wearing is the accountant hat. Now, I have an accountant that does my books at the end of the year, but the day-to-day management of the financials of my business is made so much easier through Wave. I can auto-bill clients, send reminders for overdue invoices, track spending, and pull analytic reports.
Implementing this software into my business has made the financial management side of the business so much easier and I am free to spend more time on the areas that I enjoy and am far better at.
Other Business Tools:
Proposals: PandaDoc (if you need to send out and track numerous proposals, this software is slick)
Document Signing: Docusign (if all you need are simple signatures, this is a great tool)
General: Google EVERYTHING (I use the entire Google Workspace - from sheets and docs to AdWords and analytics. Google for me = life).
There you have it! Some of my top favorite tools that I use for my business to keep everything organized and operational!
What are some of your favorite tools for your business?