It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a tech geek, I am always on the hunt for new and exciting software and business apps to implement to make my business more efficient – but there are some tools that have been an absolutely fundamental part of running my company. You can be sure that everything on this list has been well tried and tested and compared with many competitors – these are my absolute goldmine tech recommendations for business.
Note: This post contains some affiliate links.
These are all the exact business apps that I use in my business on a daily basis!
Meetings & Scheduling
If you’ve scheduled anything online recently you’ve probably used calendly. It has become my go-to for making appointments and taking all the hassle out of finding a time that works for everyone. The best part for me is the timezone management – any availability I list in my own timezone will automatically show up in the timezone of whoever is looking at it – no more counting hours on my fingers!
There are a tonne of video conferencing apps out there, but after trying a lot I have found zoom to be the most versatile and the one that gives the most bang for your buck. The free plans cover a lot so you probably won’t need to pay for a plan for a good while.
CRM & Emails
In the beginning you want to use as many free or cheap tools as possible, often that means compromising on functionality, but that’s not the case with hubspot. It is a really great free software for managing your CRM and emails which has some fantastic features for keeping you on top of things.
I run A LOT of my business through Ontraport, including my CRM, emails, lead tracking, landing pages, membership and course sequences, workflows and recurring package processing. It does a whole lot, but it’s not cheap so I only recommend using it if you know what you’re doing and are ready for a tool this comprehensive. If you’re just starting out I recommend hubspot (above).
Do you ever wonder how people make those snazzy email signatures with all the pictures, logos and pretty colours? Newoldstamp is a great tool for making these easily and setting them up without having to use any code.
Organization & Workflow
If i could marry an app, it would be Asana. So many vital parts of my business are within this software. Lists, calendars, communication, project management, workflows. Everything that I plan is done on here from my editorial calendar to my long term business goals. It’s so much more than a list making app and has some seriously powerful features, great for all sizes of teams. The possibilities are really endless with it’s uses, and best of all, it’s completely free for small teams! I’ll stop drooling over Asana now, but do yourself a favour and start using this now! Feel free to ask me asana related questions anytime. It is the mother of all business apps.
There was a time I used pretty much only Dubsado for my business – it is basically all your essential tools in one programme. It doesn’t get anywhere near as much credit as it deserves. It’s a CRM / Project Manager which keeps track of every part of your projects and makes a really beautiful, intuitive communication platform between you and your clients. Collect info from clients, get invoices paid, have contracts signed and get approval sign offs on work, this is a really feature packed software and VERY reasonably priced. You can easily replace 5 other business apps just with this one software. They are constantly adding new features too. (If you use code ‘pioneerplaybook‘ at checkout you’ll get 20% off your first month or year!)
If you aren’t using an accounting software yet then I highly recommend you start now – your future self will thank you. The fact is you’ll need to use one eventually and it’s a lot easier to start early than to try and transfer everything at a later date! I’ve tried Quickbooks and Xero and a few smaller companies too, but I always end up coming back to Xero, it’s very intuitive, easy to use and has a nice clean design.
If your business has to deal with multiple currencies I highly recommend getting a Transferwise account. It allows you to receive funds in a multiple currencies, all into the one account, and when you want to convert it they have the lowest conversion rates by far. (You get a free transfer if you use my link above to register).
When it comes to online payments the biggest thing you want is reliability. Stripe is widely recognized as being secure and trustworthy, but on top of that I have yet to see it malfunction or have any issues. Payments can take a while to be deposited into your bank, but it’s easy to set up and it just works.
If you need to take payments in person, Square is your best bet. Their card readers are small and pretty and square actually have a really comprehensive EPOS system which is totally free to use. Plus funds from square are deposited into your account next day – which is quite rare. (Free processing up to $1000 if you use the link above to register).
Everyone knows Paypal, if this fits with your business then it’s a pretty easy option for taking payments. It does have limitations though. If you want to take recurring payments there are a lot more hoops to jump through. I have now let go of taking paypal payments, just to keep everything clean and easy, but they are definitely a good option if you want to use them.
I’ve been a big Canva fan for years and it has only gotten better and better. For creating any kind of graphics, posters, business cards, social posts, thumbnails etc it makes it so easy to create something professional and beautiful.
I really underestimated Google Drive for a long time and have really only adopted it into my processes recently. Aside from being great for storing notes and ideas, google drive has some pretty powerful creation tools for making PDFs, workbooks and forms. I use it for a lot of my client worksheets and assignments. Plus the share function makes it easy to collaborate on work.
Photo & Video
ADOBE PREMIERE PRO
Until recently I have been using iMovie, the free video editing software that comes on Macs. Honestly iMovie is a great software that did everything I needed for years. However, Premiere Pro just has a few more features and possibilities that I am enjoying using now that I am trying to make my editing a bit more advanced. It’s part of a few different Adobe packages, it has a pretty steep learning curve to be honest, but I’m enjoying using it so far!.
So much of a good picture is in the editing, you need to know how to bring out the best in the raw images you capture. I use a range of different editing apps, but by far the most used is Snapseed. It’s easy to make really professional edits without knowing a tonne about photography.
I used to do a lot of my editing in lightroom, and it is a great tool for editing, especially if you want to use presets, however I actually use it more now for storing and categorizing all my images. It’s great for keeping everything synched up across my devices and for finding what I’m looking for without having to save everything in folders on my harddrive.
You have a lot of options when it comes to social scheduling apps, for instagram I like Planoly. It allows you to plan out what your feed is going to look like, drag and drop and pre-schedule your instagram posts to autopost for you (a feature I desperately need due to my scatter brain). I also just like the aesthetic and usability of the app.
I use hootsuite for all my other social posts (not instagram). It’s not quite as pretty or as easy to use as planoly, but it gets the job done. I also like that it allows me to schedule posts for my groups, not just my facebook pages, and it gives a preview of what your post will look like on each platform.
When your social starts to get busy, it can drive you crazy trying to keep on top of all the notifications, and it’s too easy to miss something. Agorapulse collects all your notifications across all your social channels and puts them into one, convenient inbox for you. You can respond to things right from the app and mark them off as complete so you never miss things you haven’t yet seen. It’s not cheap, but if your brand is big enough to benefit from something like this then the time it saves you is well worth the money.
Websites & SEO
People are constantly asking for advice on what platform to build their websites on and my answer will be wordpress every single time. It has a steeper learning curve than these other sites like wix or squarespace, but the tradeoff is unlimited flexibility and versatility that the other softwares just don’t give you. WordPress will allow you to build anything you want with whatever features and functionality you want. If your business grows you’re going to want to move off of the other sites eventually, so save yourself the hassle later and learn wordpress now.
Not technically a business app but certainly technology – I’ve been using namesco for all my hosting and domains for years. They are a smaller company than the biggies you’ve probably heard of like bluehost and 1&1, but I find them to be far superior. For starters, the customer service is great, every time I’ve ever had a website issue I’ve got someone on the phone right away to help me and talk me through it – to me that’s the most important thing. The prices are good too and the control panel is easy to navigate.
If you don’t have an SEO plugin yet, go and get one – right now. Even if you don’t know much about SEO, Yoast will walk you through some really easy steps to get you started and this is super important for all stages of business.
A lot of people shy away from Google Analytics because they think it’s really complicated to use and to set up, but it’s nowhere near as tricky as it seems. It’s also probably the most important insight tool for your website and will tell you so many things you need to know like who is looking at your site, what pages are performing well and what should you do more or less off to improve.
Memberships & Courses
Thinking about dipping your toe into online courses? Teachable is a really easy way to get started. They do all the tricky tech stuff for you so all you need to do is upload your content and set your prices. There are limitations with design and layout, you have to stick to their standard formats, which is why I am now moved onto building my courses out myself, but if you just want to test the waters and try your hand at courses this is a great way to get going without the steep learning curve.
As I mentioned earlier about WordPress having way more versatility than other programmes, accessally allows you to build your courses and membership sites in wordpress, exactly as you want them, and then it provides the protection, access restrictions and gamification of courses and memberships. It’s not an ‘out of the box’ solution like teachable, you do need to have wordpress knowledge in order to make it work, but if you’re comfortable with wordpress it’s a great software.
Feed my Business App Addiction
Got a new suggestion for me? Let me know! I’m always hungry for new software and business apps to try out!
Need a solution that’s not listed here? I’ve probably tried something for that too! Let me know what you need and I can make some recommendations for ya!
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