If you often feel overwhelmed and need help staying ahead, it may be time to utilize tools to help you work more efficiently. In this post, I will share what I've learned and guide you in selecting the best digital tools for your business.
Before we begin, it's important to note that no system or tool is perfect. As a Certified Online Business Manager, I have firsthand experience with what works well for one business and may not work as effectively for another. Each platform has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Get to know some of the top 9 online business tools:
1- Google Workspace | Email, Storage, and Video Meetings
This should be the first system you establish in your business. It covers all the basics you need (including generous cloud-based storage and a domain email address) and offers the best value for what you get in return.
Formally known as Gsuite, it’s my favorite because of all its apps, like Meet (Zoom alternative), Sheets, Documents, Calendar, and Forms. All are pretty intuitive and included in your subscription. It’s widely used and favored in the online space.
2 - Scheduling Tools | Calendly, Dubsado
You would be amazed at how much time a good scheduler saves. By syncing it with your business calendar, you can allow your leads or clients to book meetings with you based on your existing availability without revealing the details of your other appointments.
I recommend getting started with Calendly’s free plan, although you can only have one type and length of appointment. If you need multiple call types or want to collect payments, you will need to use their paid Standard Plan.
I think Dubsado is perfect for businesses past the start-up stage. After establishing my business, working with clients, and defining my process, I moved to Dubsado. I used their Starter Plan to see if their program would work with me. There is a learning curve, but Dubsado provides plenty of training, webinars, and resources.
Now, I use their Premier plan and have my lead capture and client onboarding phase automated. My communication to clients is clear every time with templated email responses. Workflows are triggered as designed, and the whole process is effortless for my clients. Plus, it also sends reminders to the client with links for them to cancel or rebook.
3 - Asana | Project Management Tool
Whether you're working solo or as part of a team, it's essential to use a project management system. Personally, I prefer and utilize Asana. However, I have also worked with Notion, Zoho Projects, ClickUp, and a few others through my partnerships with other small businesses.
All of these tools are much more than a digital to-do list. I like Asana because it is an easy-to-use platform. Plus, it comes with great features on their free plan. I use Asana for “all things business.” In different dashboards, I keep track of my CEO tasks, marketing goals, project tasks, and much more.
4 - Wix | Website
Wix is my platform of choice because not only is it affordable, but it also requires no coding expertise. With its user-friendly interface, I was able to quickly and easily launch my first landing page with minimal hassle. On the backend, Wix does not complicate things compared to some other platforms.
Wix comes with hundreds of free templates to choose from, but you are not limited to using one particular template. Plus, I can quickly find on-brand, copyright-free images for my website and blog posts. I find their built-in SEO wizard is easy to follow and provides prompts to help me improve my blog posts before publishing. Although they also offer email service as an add-on, I don't happen to use it.
5 - Flodesk | Email Marketing Platform
I found Flodesk's email templates to be visually more engaging, and I noticed that I read more newsletters from business owners who used them. Flodesk comes with several pre-made templates, so setting up beautiful forms and emails was a breeze when I launched my email marketing campaigns. Their drag-and-drop editing feature lets you easily customize and add media.
Automation comes into play with delivering my lead magnets and welcome email sequences. Plus, after drafting my weekly newsletters, I can set it to automatically publish at the best time to share based on my audience. Flodesk offers unlimited subscribers and emails for only $39/month. Try it out with their 14-day free trial and get 50% off your first year with the link above.
6 - Canva | Graphics
Canva is a free-to-use online graphic design tool. But I use their pro plan because it has so much value and resources. I use it to create all of my social media graphics, videos (reels), client guides, presentations, business cards, etc. The pro version offers copyright-free images and videos. You don’t need design experience, just an eye for what you like. The pro version offers time-saving features like Brand Kit and Brand Templates to effortlessly create content.
7 - Later | Social Media Scheduler
Finding and using Later was a game changer for me. Posting on social media used to stress me out. Ditch your phone and the process of manually posting to each platform. You can create one post and schedule it to go live on multiple platforms. Plus, it recommends when the ideal time to post on Instagram is based on my audience. Later has an app integration with Canva, meaning you skip the downloading and uploading process from Canva to Later.
8 - Loom | Video Recording
Loom is a tool that simplifies communication by letting you record and share videos of your screen, voice, and face. I use it to record SOPs, and I use it as a tool to quickly teach something to my clients. It uses AI to detect filler words + pauses and remove them. You can clip and edit videos to your liking, and it provides you with a full script.
9 - Quickbooks | Accounting
QuickBooks Online is the most popular small business accounting software used to manage income and expenses and keep track of financial health. You can invoice customers, pay bills, generate reports, and prepare taxes. I recommend you use their paid 60-minute setup service to help ensure your chart of accounts is created correctly.
Wrapping it up
Now that you know the tools, it's time to put them to work — choose the tools best suited to your business or goals and get started. Take it one tool at a time.
Remember that setting up digital tools and systems, even just simple ones like those described in this post, will eventually save you time in your business operations.
Hopefully, this has given you some valuable insights into which tools will be most effective for your business, regardless of whether you're just starting or making significant changes to your current operations.
Some links are from affiliate programs where commissions may be earned based on clicks and/or purchases. Affiliate links help me fund ALL free content I provide - and I'd never promote something I didn't personally use and love. Thank you!
Hey there- if we haven’t had a chance to meet yet, I’m Kirstin, a former corporate gal turned small business owner guiding female entrepreneurs towards successful online businesses without burnout. To learn how we can partner together, check my Services.
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