30 Tools Our Business Couldn’t Live Without

When you first started your business, did you know all of the tools you would need? I certainly didn’t! In the last three and a half years I’ve come to rely on quite a few different tools to keep my business running effectively – I’ve also come across quite a few I no longer need or use, but I’ll save that for another time! Running a business that is completely virtual and relies solely on technology is an interesting concept, but not that uncommon nowadays and certainly much easier with all of the amazing tools and apps at our disposal. I suppose the harder question is how to know which ones are right for you? Trial and error has definitely been a large part of our journey so far, and I don’t think that will change. What has changed over time though is the fact that I now take more time before I invest in any new tools to understand exactly what I need it to do for me, my team, our clients and the business.

Here’s a list of all of the tools we currently use at MOMENTUM, my thoughts on them and links to the best ones!

Must haves:

  1. Phone – We use a handful of different phone lines, all of them virtual and all of them directed via our mobile phones.
  2. Laptop – Of course!
  3. iPad – Great for travelling and meetings on the go.
  4. Email – We use a whole host of different email providers, depending on those used by our clients, but for us it’s GoDaddy. They have fantastic customer service, are very reasonably priced and haven’t let us down once so far. We access emails online, via apps and through Outlook.
  5. Microsoft Office – In particular we use: Word; Excel; PowerPoint (could not live without PowerPoint!)
  6. Adobe / PDF
  7. Business Broadband – (I would have no business without it.) It’s definitely worth investing in a powerful router if your business relies heavily on internet connection. I use a Draytek Router and it does the job perfectly.
  8. Google Calendar – The easiest and simplest calendar we’ve come across, not to mention completely free!
  9. Printer, Scanner and Copier – All in one. We actually have two as admin plays such a significant role in what we do. It also enables us to separate costs for our clients if we get more than one paper-based project at a time.
  10. Anti-Virus Protection – An absolute must for any business is Anti-Virus protection. The stronger the better! I’m not sure which one is the best, but have been using Norton’s strongest business version for a few years now.

General day to day and Management:

  1. Skype – A great way to make the world smaller, especially when you’re providing services virtually.
  2. DropBox and GoogleDrive – Both great tools for sharing files, internally and with our clients.
  3. Free Stock Photo Sites – We use quite a few and these come in very handy!
    https://unsplash.com/
    https://pixabay.com/
    https://www.pexels.com/
    https://openclipart.org/
    http://www.vecteezy.com/
  4. TeamWork – This is a new one for us. It took me 4 months to find the right tool for managing our workflow, and this one really ticks all the boxes for a very modest fee.
  5. Toggl – Whilst we have stopped using this now, after finding TeamWork, I still wanted to mention it as we have used it for the last 3 years. It’s a brilliantly simple (free) tool for keeping track of your time.
  6. Xero – Very new to us as we have been using Excel spreadsheets to manage the accounts thus far.. More through laziness and not wanting to change (familiar?) than anything else, but a real necessity for a growing SME. (I’ll let you know how it goes!)
  7. Philips Dictation App – Great for capturing thoughts on the go. Even better still, you can email them to yourself or anyone else directly from the app with very little effort.

Marketing:

  1. Social Media Accounts – One of the best ways of marketing your business. Forget numbers (vanity) and just be authentic, consistent and engaging. Would you rather have 100 organic followers, all potential new customers – or 10,000 ‘paid for’ followers, none of which will ever be customers? In particular, we use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (personal and company page) and Pinterest.
  2. MOMENTUM Social – This is our very own latest venture. A social media scheduling platform specifically for SMEs. It saves so much time and is free and upgradable. We use MOMENTUM Social for our own social media management.
  3. HootSuite – Another scheduling tool. It takes a little longer to master and requires additional budget and understanding for the analytics, but great if you manage a significant number of social media accounts.
  4. MailChimp – Brilliant for all your email marketing needs. I know there are lots of others out there, but I have been using Mailchimp for years and their simplicity is fantastic.
  5. SurveyMonkey – A modest but very scalable insight tool. Great for basic or advanced survey campaigns.
  6. WordPress – I used WordPress to build our website and continue to use it for updates. If you know what you’re doing it’s a really great tool and makes ‘coding’ and building websites easier. But, whilst I have managed to build ours (no prior knowledge), this is definitely a lesson learnt and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you know what you’re doing. It took me 6 months – Hire a professional!
  7. Google Ads – Another good marketing tool, but again would recommend seeking advice. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can cost you a fortune for a small return.
  8. Facebook Ads – Will Facebook let your page grow any other way?? (A discussion for another day!). Similar to Google Ads, have a chat with someone who knows a little something about using these. They definitely work, but only if you get it right.

A few others:

  1. Video FX – Let’s you make simple but effective videos of various types.
  2. Openbroadcaster – You can live stream or record your screen for webinars and various other uses.
  3. Video Converter – Turns your live streams or recordings into usable, sharable videos.
  4. Random Name Picker – Very basic, but great for competitions!
  5. Word Cloud Creator – Another funky tool to help visualize key messages.

I’ve tried to remember everything and I’m sure there’s some I’ve forgotten! But hopefully this will help you on your business growth quest. If you use or know of any others, please share them with me via makeithappen@mbsmih.com and I’ll be sure to keep the list updated!
Mikki
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