The 8 business tools we can't live without

 

Over the past 4 years we have tried ALOT of business tools, some have been amazing and have become staples in our day to day business life, others not so much. Today we are going to share with you 8 of the business tools we can’t live without, from helping with productivity to scheduling and finance.

Asana… for productivity

Look, I am going to be brutally honest.  I hated Asana for a long time.  For some reason I just couldn’t get my head around using it productively. It seemed to take me longer to schedule the tasks and format it within Asana then just writing it down and crossing it out. 

How you plan your to do list is in my opinion deeply personal. I have started using Asana for the long term planning of OUR business including mapping out business tasks and client work which reoccurs monthly & even yearly. For my daily to do list I still like to handwrite this out in order of important / urgency, because in business life, is there anything more satisfying than crossing out a completed task?

I also like that you can set up your projects as lists or boards. Once you have your projects set up they way you want them, it makes it super easy to duplicate projects and tasks. I love that when I start a new project or client I can sit down and map out the entire project, including adding due dates for each task so I can map out what my work is going to look like. I also like that you can have a different colour for project so that you can easily scope out the work at a glance.

While it doesn’t necessarily help with productivity, the animated unicorn flying across the screen when a task is completed is a nice touch. Unlike most apps where they give you a basic plan for free and restrict the list of features, Asana is free and I haven’t found it necessary to upgrade to a paid plan for the features it offers… yet, which means it is great when you are trying to keep your expenses in check.

Dropbox… for file storage

Dropbox was one of the first things we set up, because it was a no brainer when it came to file storage. Our business generates alot of image content which can drain storage super quickly, and with the base plan having 3TB of storage we are more than covered. Having access to our files anywhere in the world is also a big plus because we aren’t limited by location when working.

We also like that we can organise file requests for client projects within the platform.

Planoly… for scheduling Instagram

I have tried almost every scheduling app / program for Instagram from Later, Skedsocial (formerly Schedugram) but time and time I keep coming back to Planoly. While I kind of wish I could take all the best features from each and make my own perfect scheduling app (but, who got time for that!), Planoly is the one I recommend.

Planoly’s planning grid and calendar are on pointe and they have the option to searches for business users and hashtags within the platform.  You can also schedule stories with Planoly, however both carousels and stories can’t be auto posted. Instead you get a friendly notification and a few manual clicks later it’s posted.

Towards the end of August 2019 Planoly released their queue scheduling options where you can schedule in consistent times during the week you want to post.

Tailwind… for scheduling Pinterest

Tailwind makes Pinterest a game-changer when it comes to marketing. Instead of spending the odd few minutes here and there pinning a few images to your boards on an irregular basis, Tailwind lets you bulk schedule your pins to get pinned to your board on a consistent schedule. Today I can spend about 3 hours a month pinning content to my boards for our other business LOVE FIND CO., and we schedule up to 30 pins a day, 7 days a week, thats over 840 pins a month with easy and without sucking up precious time. Tailwind also offers the function to pin from your Instagram account (which is great if you want to utilise Pinterest to drive traffic to your Instagram account). The analytics in the program are ok, but I still head to the analytics within Pinterest for this information.

Canva… for creating graphics

I studied fashion at university and learnt Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, so they were my go to for years. I decided to give Canva a go, and haven’t looked back! It makes it so easy to create a whole range of graphics with ease and working with a business partner means that instead of passing document back and forth for edits we can be looking at the same document at the same time. They have a huge range of templates that will give even the novice designer confidence they can produce high quality work.

Xero… for all thing accounting

For the first two years of business I diligently recorded every transaction for the business on a spreadsheet. Now if you know me you know I love a spreadsheet but it can seriously suck time even if you are keeping it up to date weekly (…ok you got me, I updated it daily, thats just my nature).  I had been exposed to Xero in my 9-5 job and it wasn’t hard to convince me the investment was worth it, especially at tax time and now with running payroll. 

What I love about XERO:

  • Easy of creating invoices, bills and reconciling the accounts

  • Ability to save a physical invoice or receipt against an invoice or bill (so you don’t have to give your accountant a shoe box of receipts at tax time)

  • The data base of information and help guides

  • Clean layout and easy reporting

  • That it frees up my time for #clientwork

Stripe… for facilitating payments

I don’t need to tell you small business owners the importance of getting paid… on time! We have Stripe connected to our Xero to make sending invoices and capturing payments as easy as possible. Yes, there is a small fee per payment which I am more than happy to pay versus spending time chasing payments. Because Stripe is connected to Xero it also makes reconciling payments received pretty much seamless.

Iconosquare… for Instagram analytics

While I do check and use the analytics that Instagram has available to business profiles I have found Iconosquare to be a great source of data. I love the best time to post function which you can set for different period of time like 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, a year or custom, this is invaluable when planning out when to post. You can track follower growth, likes, comments and engagement as well as view which posts were most and least successful based on likes or comments within a time period (another great source of data for planning future content).


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The 8 Business Tools We Can't Live Without | ENGAGED CREATIVE