I’m a firm believer that running a business doesn’t have to be hard. Sure sometimes shit hits the fan and we forget to do things; but utilizing the right business tools can save our asses and keep things running when we can’t be present.
That’s why choosing the right tools to help run your business is super important – it’ll save you time, keep you consistent, and give you more space in your head to be filled with things that matter.
Like: if I go to Trader Joes and get the popcorn right now, I can beat traffic and be home to start our Spooky Movie Marathon.
I didn’t make it to Trader Joes sadly.
Lack of snackage aside, here are the top FIVE business tools successful entrepreneurs use to get their time back.
This post is kinda long, so grab this list of these business tools in the resource library here:
No. 1: a Project Management Tool
You gotta have something to manage the madness that is your regular business tasks, client work, and content marketing; hell even shit you gotta get done in your personal life.
Project management tools are really just a fancy way to say an online to-do list on steroids.
At it’s core it has too: help organize your tasks, let you create an unlimited amount of tasks, and most importantly SET DUE DATES.
Writing down cute and clever things to do won’t matter if you don’t actually………do them. In a timely manner. Especially the important ones.
There are SOOO MANYYY project management tools you can use for your keeping track of your to-do items for running your business and running your client projects.
There’s Asana, Trello, Notion, Monday, Basecamp, and ClickUp to name the really popular ones.
I personally use Asana with my clients and use Notion with any team members or by myself to run my internal business processes.
I chose Asana because it’s much easier to keep clients (and myself!) on track with what needs to be done throughout our project. All of our due dates, information about tasks, comments, and message are all in one place.
Asana takes the place of lengthy email conversations between me and my clients. I check in with them every Monday via Asana, and we can have conversations about specific tasks or items in an organized place.
I use Notion to keep track of my daily to-do list, my marketing calendar, analytics, blog posts, etc., etc. Notion is fantastic at keeping this area of my business organized.
No. 2: an Invoicing Tool
Ain’t nothing better than getting paid on time for a project that you’re loving right? Right. So you need something that’s going to help you manage your client’s invoices, contracts, and payments.
You need a client management system.
Gone are the days of keeping everyone in a spreadsheet and forgetting to send out that invoice on the right date.
Not only does that make you look like you don’t have it together, it muddies the water for your clients too.
You don’t want them wondering if they’ve already paid you or when the next payment is coming up: give them a dedicated space so they can see all of that at once.
Enter: Dubsado (or Honeybook, 17hats, etc. etc.)
Dubsado is my jam and it helps making the right first impressions with potential clients a breeze.
Dubsado can send emails to clients on your behalf, invoice them, remind them of overdue invoices, send them questionnaires, etc. all without you.
You can also use Dubsado to set up client portals: basically your clients get a password to a private portal that houses all of their invoices, contracts, questionnaires, etc.
So they can stop emailing you for it.
I set Dubsado to send out questionnaires, welcome emails & PDFs, contracts, invoices, proposals, etc. all for me at a later date.
Just because I completed that proposal at midnight with Steven Universe playing on the TV, doesn’t mean my client needs to get an email notification at 12:15am. They’re gonna automagically receive it at 9:00am because Dubsado has my back.
No.3: a Social Media Management tool
Most of the time, social media gives me a wee bit of anxiety.
Like running in the house when it’s raining but having this sinking feeling you left your car windows down (don’t worry you didn’t).
If you feel the same about social media, or you’d really rather just spend your time playing with your dog or making cocktails – social media management tools are a lifesaver.
No matter what platforms you’re most active on, you’ll find multiple tools that will send out posts at the right time to make it look like you’re showing up every day.
Now you should still show up on these platforms when you can to talk to ya people, but always take time for yourself.
Here are some popular platforms and the tools that will publish social media posts for you:
Tailwind (RIP Boardbooster)
I guarantee you that there way more services than the ones that I listed, but those are the ones that I know.
Pick one for each platform, or one for multiple platforms – and use the hell out of it.
Later has been keeping my Instagram together (thank god because I hate/love IG) and Tailwind keeps me “pinning” on the regular.
No. 4: Canned Emails
Let automation be your friend, friends!
I use canned emails all of the time. It’s a tool that I try my absolute hardest to implement in Dubsado and in my Gmail.
Canned emails basically email templates that you can send off to clients, inquiries, etc. Most of the writing is already done for you, so you can send it off quickly.
What I love most about canned emails is that I can put all of the information that I need for each email in there – so I know I’m not forgetting anything.
I write the email once and it’s perfect.
Here are some canned emails that almost all service-based providers need:
- First contact with a lead: thanking them for their inquiry, telling them what happens next, etc. etc.
- Consultation call reminders and confirmations (can be set up via your scheduler).
- Payment reminders: (can be set up via Dubsado or your invoicing tool).
- Welcome/Project kick off:to welcome them to your world and start the onboarding process.
- Asking for testimonials: I love having a canned email for this so I can say exactly what I want to say and in the right way.
- Project offboarding email: letting them know how things are going to go now that the project is over. You can add how you’re going to deliver their files, or what happens after a certain time period, etc.
- Bad Fit: when an inquiry lands in your inbox that you don’t wanna take on the project, have a nicely worded email written saying no thank you.
No. 5: PDF Client Documents
These PDFs have been a lifesaver for my business and for my sanity!
Creating PDFs of all of the information that I want to give to a potential client or a current client is not only a cohesive and easy to digest way to pass all of the right information, it’s a super professional resource for them to refer back to if they have any questions.
You can have a packet/guide/PDF for:
- When a potential client first reaches out: you can send over an investment guide going into your business, what you do, what you offer, FAQs, and some base pricing.
- After they book: send over a welcome packet with some guidelines, policies, ways to get in touch with you, etc.
I love giving these out because I think they’re the perfect way to present my services and my way of doing things in a way that answers a lot of questions before they arise. This saves me time away from my inbox and keeps my client’s confusion levels way down.