Two years ago, we wrote a list of five business tools you shouldn't live without. It’s safe to say that a lot has changed since then, while great tools from 2015 remain on this list. As I’ve tried different tools and new technology companies over the years, that has made the way we work even easier, I have carefully curated a library of tools that help me optimize my business and team while creating an even better client experience – thanks technology!
The end of the year is a great time to reflect and really take a look at which tools are working and which aren’t. It’s a perfect time to cleanse yourself of the accounts you’re no longer using and to build a solid base of tools you plan to use to supercharge your 2018 productivity and your business.
This year, my list has grown from five must-haves to a solid 10. Here are the tools Creative Solutions just can’t live without:
Gmail for Business: Seriously, using Gmail as a business account is a no brainer. It’s more professional than using regular ol’ Gmail and it’s cheap to get a custom @yourbusiness.com domain. Also, it comes with the added perk of quickly syncing with any and all tools and apps that allow a Gmail sign-in and you get the full Gmail suite of apps. Who would you take more serious, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?
Canva: Yes, still loving Canva. There is no other tool for designing that is as quick and easy to use. It’s fairly inexpensive for the paid version (but you can also use it for FREE), has a great user-interface, and is perfect for any simple design needs. If you want to move into animation, I’d recommend Crello.
Google Analytics: This one almost deserves no explanation, as Google Analytics has proven to be the backbone to any company’s analytics. Google Analytics goes beyond just website traffic – you can use it to track all of your social media marketing. You really shouldn’t bother doing any social unless you have Google Analytics integrated with all your digital efforts.
Trello: This project management tool has really changed the game for agencies, small businesses, and any company that has a team working on different projects. We use it to collaborate with our website, graphic design and consulting clients as it's sort of like one big sticky note keeping platform (but with deadlines that can integrate with your email!).
InVision: This app allows us to collaborate on design projects, such as graphic design or web design. It’s great for companies that work with clients on massive projects that require a lot of design detail and client input.
Zoom: Our favorite video call app because it allows the calls to be recorded, has group call features for our on-demand business coaching and training services. It hardly ever crashes, is easy to set-up, and the app is a dream to work with. Buh-bye, Skype.
Xero: We opted to try Xero for our accounting, reporting, invoicing, and payment needs and we have never looked back. The integration with Stripe and PayPal is awesome, and the interface is nice to use. Clients love the fact that they can pay with credit card with one click on their invoice.
Onlypult: This has been our holy grail for Instagram scheduling and analytics. You can use it from your desktop (woo!), you can bulk upload, create stories, make carousel posts, and anything else you need to do on Instagram. It really makes the Instagram posting and the social listening process a heck of a lot easier, and it keeps track of your engagement.
MailChimp: If you have newsletters, or even are thinking of sending out a newsletter, you need MailChimp. You can create beautifully formatted emails, create email lists, have one-click unsubscribe, and track all open rates and subscribe rates. It’s a dream for any email marketing efforts.
Crowdfire: We definitely saved the best for last. Crowdfire is a serious social media game changer! Their features are off the hook, and the new updates make the tool even more amazing than it was before. They provide you with content suggestions that you can easily schedule and it keeps track of all of your own blogs so you can easily share and schedule. The tool allows you to unfollow people on Twitter, follow users following your competitor’s accounts, AND shows you inactive followers so you can unfollow dormant accounts. You can also quickly conduct keyword and hashtag searches. Do we need to say more? ‘Cuz there is definitely more it can do! But, we’ll leave you some surprises.
Check out some of the tools and see what works for you. The New Year is going to be full of new apps, upgrades to features, and changes in pricing, so we can’t wait to see what’s in store.
What has been your go-to business tools in 2017? Tell us on our Facebook Post