The number of business organization tools seems to grow every single day. Any time you visit a Facebook group, someone is asking about a new tool or recommending a tool they love. Frankly, it’s completely overwhelming.
Do you ever feel like you’re missing out, using the wrong tool, not using enough tools, or falling behind? So do I, and I’m a business operations consultant. Systems are my bread and butter!
So how do you know which tools are best for your business?
- Get a recommendation from someone you trust (like me!).
- Do a small amount of research — Don’t spend days, weeks, or even months. You’re just wasting time and procrastinating.
- Try it out! Most companies offer a free plan or free trial so that you have time to test out their product.
- If the tool meets your needs, learn more about its features and use it to the best of your ability. There are always free how-to videos on YouTube.
- If the tool doesn’t meet your needs, start back at step 1.
Dubsado is one of the most popular client relationship management (CRM) tools for online businesses.
I use it to completely automate my client processes. When someone fills out a “work with me” form on my website, they are auto-magically sent to my calendar to schedule a discovery call. And when we decide to work together, Dubsado sends them a contract, invoice, intake questionnaire, and a welcome email.
It even offers a client portal option where clients can access their appointments, emails, invoices… everything they need in one place.
Cost: $35/month or $350/year (Free to sign up and use with 3 clients). Use my affiliate link to get 20% off!
LastPass is a must when you’re working with clients. You can share passwords securely and discreetly so that you can access all of your clients’ accounts as needed.
When your client shares login information with you from their LastPass account, they can even choose not to show their password. This allows you to log in with autofill but never know exactly what their password is.
You can also store other data securely like documents, billing information, insurance cards, and anything else you can digitize.
Read more about securely storing your passwords with LastPass on my blog.
Cost: Variety of plans from Free — $8/user/month
Tailwind is the icing on the Pinterest cake (and not the #pinterestfail kind). If you want to successfully market your business on Pinterest then you absolutely have to get Tailwind.
Want to guess which day I started using it for my business?
Tailwind will help you schedule all your Pinterest pins quickly and effectively to exponentially increase your reach and drive traffic to your website. You can also use it for Instagram scheduling.
Cost: $9.99/month paid annually or $14.99/monthly
Later is a social media scheduling tool for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. For my own business, I use their free plan to schedule my Instagram posts each month.
I love their features like the ability to save hashtags, organize your media, and preview your grid. I’ll definitely upgrade when I start using Instagram more strategically.
Cost: Variety of plans from Free to $24/month paid annually or $29/monthly
STORAGE + Organization
Dropbox is perfect for those times that I don’t want to share something from my Google Drive. I frequently use it for sharing media like pictures or videos instead of clogging up someone’s email storage.
I’ve also used it to create projects for contractors/VAs. I just create a folder, put everything they’ll need inside it, and share it with them. It’s easy for us to work back and forth that way.
Cost: Variety of plans from Free to $20/user/month
AirTable is the Dwayne Johnson of the spreadsheet world. They are beastly, can take on any project, and are always the hardest worker in the room.
I use AirTable to organize all the content for my blog, newsletters, Instagram, and Pinterest. I also use it to track my metrics, online relationships, and client leads.
There’s a small learning curve if you’re used to Excel or Google Sheets, but the payoff is absolutely worth watching a few tutorial videos.
Cost: Free, $10, or $20 per user per month
Trello is the brain of my company. I store ALL of the important details I need using Trello boards. It’s great for quickly accessing and organizing whatever you need.
Think of Trello like a stack of index cards. Write on the front, write on the back, move them around, throw them away, add more… whatever you need to do. There are more incredible features than I can possibly describe here.
I have a number of affordable Trello Templates for sale in my product shop if you need help getting started.
Cost: Free or $9.99/month paid annually or $12.50/monthly
Asana is my go-to system for task tracking. It helps me organize my tasks and stop things from falling through the cracks. I love that my calendar is color-coded for my clients’ businesses so I can quickly see what I need to tackle each day.
It’s also great for collaborating with a team. You can work together to conquer projects without anyone dropping the ball.
I enjoy Asana so much that I even became an Asana Certified Pro. If you need help setting up your account or getting your team organized, let’s work together!
Cost: Variety of plans from Free to $24.99/user/month paid annually or $30.49/user/monthly
Google Calendar is a fantastic, everyday calendar that can easily meet all your needs. I use it to schedule my time blocks each week and then adjust as needed for meetings and personal time.
Here’s an example of my typical week:
Cost: Free or get the full GSuite from $6-$24/user/month
Toggl is a fun stand-alone tool for tracking your time and sharing reports with clients. I like to send my clients an End of Week (EOW) report each Friday afternoon to update them on our projects. If they need to know how long something took or how many hours I’ve worked for them in a month, I can quickly export that information for them.
You can also use Toggl to track time for your own business tasks. How much time do you spend working on your website or creating content? How long does it take you to send your newsletter? These things are important to know when you are scheduling your week.
Have a team? Use Toggle to keep up with everyone’s time so they can get paid accordingly!
Cost: Free up to 5 team members
If you ever want to talk tools, head over to Instagram, and send me a DM. I’d love to give you a recommendation for business organization tools, and I would love to hear your recommendations too!