My Top Ten Favorite Business Tools (Updated to 21 Tools) for Entrepreneurs
As I’m working with my clients I’m frequently advising them about business tools that are useful for small business owners and those who are self-employed. Since I believe that marketing is one of the most important small business owner skills, several of my favorite tools fall under that category.
Just as important as marketing is self-development and included are a couple of those tools in my list. I’ve listed 3 tools that I use in coaching my clients and 2 that help with the financial areas of business..
- Hootsuite is a very helpful business tool with managing your social media posts. You can send one post to multiple social media sites with the push of a button, and you can schedule future posts so that your message broadcasts while you are on vacation or sleeping! Plans start as little as $19 per month.
- MailChimp is an email newsletter distribution platform. You can create your newsletter using their templates, add subscribers to your list and send out hundreds of email newsletters a month for free.
- Clickfunnels is an online business tool that helps you to build marketing campaigns without the help of a technical person. You can connect these campaigns to your website so that your visitors may view and buy your products or services online. The cost starts at less than $99 per month.
- WordPress. You may already be familiar with WordPress. This famous website platform boasts of providing 28% of all the websites on the globe. That’s a lot of sites! These websites are relatively easy to design, but many business owners hire a web designer to set everything up. Adding content and images is really easy; very similar to Microsoft Word. The cost can be as little as zero.
- Audible is a way for you to listen to all kinds of books on tape. I consider personal development to be essential for the small business owner. Zig Ziglar, the famous motivational person talked about the benefit of going to “automobile university,” that is to listen to audio recordings while driving your car. I frequently listen to personal development recordings while driving or working out. The cost is about $15 per month.
- Quickbooks. Most everyone in business knows about Quickbooks; but did you know that this billing and invoicing tool can automate your payments from customers? Then you don’t have to manually create bills or chase customers for money. The payment shows up in your account so that you can spend more time with your customers. You can use it to pay your bills too! The cost is as little as $5 per month.
- Our 36 Coaching Module Assessment. This business tool is a self-assessment we provide to business owners and self-employed people who are looking to improve their business and take it to the next level. The tool examines your business in 36 areas in your business. We have found that every business owner wants to experience freedom in business. That’s why we decided to become our own boss; to be free from another boss! The cost is zero.
- Coaching Agenda. Our clients fill out a weekly coaching agenda prior to each session. Included on the agenda are Key Performance Indicators, Goals and Actions, Biggest Achievements, Challenges, Motivation level, and other important information. This tool tracks your business progress and results helps to achieve forward momentum and identifies obstacles to overcome. The cost for this business tool is included with all coaching packages.
- Strategic Plan. In my opinion, one of the most important business tools an entrepreneur can use is the Strategic Plan. Therefore that is one of the first things we provide for our clients. For us, this important document includes your personal vision, values, goals and bucket list. To that, we add your business vision, values, and mission, your business goals and objectives which form the “big picture” and your action plan which breaks everything down into small steps to achieve the plan. The cost is included with coaching packages.
- Canva. This simple and amazing content creation site will help you to create all kinds of images, presentations, posters, infographics, social media images and anything you can think of. There is a free version or you can pay $12.99 per month for the pro version.
- Flock. For small businesses, communication plays a very important role. It’s a means of synergizing the office environment so all the relevant divisions can work in harmony. There are several requirements for in-office messaging and video conferencing, which can be addressed with Flock. It is mostly available for free unless you need the advanced features available for a mere $4.50/ month for each user. Since Flock facilitates both messaging and video conferencing at a low cost, it is our personal favorite.
- Colorcinch is the cooler, down-to-earth stepchild of photo editing – always dependable, fabulously low-maintenance, and ready to prove their worth. They help you to “cartoonize” your images in a very cool way. Their price range from $3.99 per month to $5.99 per month.
- Titan. Another important form of communication for small businesses is email. Aside from interacting within the office environment, email is used to inform clients and customers about your business products and services. Titan allows you to create official email addresses with your business domain that adds to your professional capacity. After a 30-day free trial period, you can choose to continue using this highly professional business tool for only $1.50/ month for each user.
- Asana. Small businesses that require a level of symbiosis and planning when executing important projects. Asana is a project management tool for small and medium enterprises to keep employees focused on the step-by-step execution of the projects. You can create daily goals, assign deadlines, and allocate tasks to each member or team and watch as the tasks are completed with absolute effectiveness. Since Asana allows you to classify the project with short-term goals, it makes it easier to follow the progress of individual tasks. The basic project management tools in Asana are available for free. However, if you wish to use the advanced premium features, it’ll cost $11/ month for each user, and for business features, $25/ month for each user. Since Asana is a useful small business tool where you can view each project from different clients on one forum and keep tabs on the development, the cost seems meager as compared to its usefulness.
- TimeDoctor. To run a small business with efficiency, you have to take Time Management into account. It is not optional to create effective calendars and schedules for each project for different clients. Time management increases your efficiency in manifolds. Not only can you check the development of the projects, but you can also dock the exact amount of time that your employees dedicated to your business. It can be overtime or slacking that causes delays in your projects. TimeDoctor is an excellent small business tool that tracks productivity and Time Management for all your business functions. You can try it for free for 14 days to evaluate its suitability for your business. You can subscribe to the plan for only $10/ month for each user.
- Adobe Creative Cloud. For design-based small businesses, Adobe Creative Cloud is a blessing. It facilitates the use of multiple tools on desktop as well as mobile apps for all your design functions. It is an outstanding tool for creating attractive videos, adjusting features in photography, creating a web design, and programs to detect and track user experience. This small business tool is popular for its proficient design facilities and regarded quite highly among professionals. The plans for Adobe Creative Cloud vary based on how many people use it and for what purpose. For individual use, the price is as low as $10/ month. If you want to use it for business, then it costs $34/ month. Adobe Creative Cloud also offers separate packages for educational purposes, including small businesses that focus on training in design functions. For students and teachers, it costs $20/ month. For Universities, schools, and colleges, it costs as low as $15/ month.
- Wave. Small businesses are extremely reliant on regular billing and payments. Since the profits are limited, and there are multiple expenses that you need to consider, payment cycles must be systemized. Wave is a targeted software created to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs. It helps you design customized invoices with your business domain and feature the identity of your brand. You can create recurring invoices for billing and payments and track the income and expenses accordingly. The best part about Wave is it is mostly available free of cost. However, if you wish to associate billing and payments with credit cards, then you might incur additional charges.
- Turbo Tax. Maybe your business is a startup and you haven’t developed much complexity. You can do-it-yourself until you can afford a bookkeeper. Tax filing, especially for small businesses, can be really cumbersome. You have to consider all the previous year’s taxes, deductible business expenses, income, etc. That is why TurboTax comes in handy. You can synchronize TurboTax with QuickBooks to access all your income and expenses. It can also track the taxes from the previous year as well as deduct and business expenses associated with travel, advertising, materials, etc. The tool is available for $160 under federal jurisdiction and $50/ state. The cost of TurboTax may seem a little higher than usual, as compared to small business tools that perform other functions, but it is worth it when you get to save a considerable sum in tax deductions and returns.
- HelloSign. Another primary requirement for small businesses is signing important documents. When you accept a contract or need signatures from clients, suppliers, partners, investors, or even employees, it is helpful to have the process digitized for efficiency. HelloSign offers the means for you to request the signature from them. Once the process is completed, a copy of the acknowledged and signed document is sent to each signatory for posterity. It helps keep your business functions above-ground and transparent, facilitating trust-building and understanding among all parties. The cost incurred for this most-useful small business tool is a mere $13/ month for each user for the standard plan. You can also upgrade to the business plan, which costs $23/ month for each user.
- Paypal. It is a globally-accepted mode of payment for all small businesses. Therefore, you can provide local or overseas services and get paid via simple online transfers. The standard Paypal plan charges 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction. The Pro plan charges the same, with an additional $35/ month.
Two more honorable mentions: Slack and Basecamp. These two tools provide similar services but Slack is more geared towards communication while Basecamp is for project management. Slack starts at $6.67 per month and Basecamp is $99.00 per month. Both are great tools!
I’ve brought to you some of the best business tools, apps, and technologies that can benefit your business. Try some of the tools in this list and watch your business grow!
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