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5 simply smart tools to rock your online business

 

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As you can imagine, I spend an inordinate amount of time online. Nothing gets me giddier than an exciting new app, tool, or social platform to try… but that comes with its own set of challenges.

It’s easy to get quite overwhelmed by all the tech we have at our fingertips. Not only that, but all of these tools designed to streamline our work, can actually have the opposite effect. Rather than saving us time, they offer us another opportunity to procrastinate.

Instead of hounding you with all the tools you “must try”, I’m going to encourage you to dial it back. Think about the bare minimum you need to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine:

Your website

Yes, I’m counting your website as a tool. Your site should be the main hub for your business, showcasing your offerings, your experience and your digital content. Your website does not need to be a wild, crazy, expensive-to-maintain extravaganza… it just needs to do the job.

If you want a beautifully designed, fully-functioning website fast, I recommend Jen Miller’s Ready Made Websites. For a minimal cost you get a gorgeous, drag-and-drop website, designed with business owners in mind.

Accounting software

There is simply no way you can run and grow a successful business without keeping an eye on the money.

Luckily for you, there are many tools out there designed to help you bill your clients and manage your accounts. I like Xero, but Wave is another great option (plus, it’s free!).

A project planner

Every single one of us goes into business with big dreams, and the more we work at it, the bigger those dreams get. To achieve these aims, we need some sort of tool to map out our actions, and keep on top of our progress.

It will come as no surprise that I’m going to recommend Trello. It looks good, it’s easy to use, and it’s free. You can also use it as a way to manage your team, and keep all project communication out of your inbox.

A social media scheduler

Social media is the great online equaliser. It offers one-man-bands the same marketing opportunities as global brands. And while I don’t believe you need a presence on every platform, I do believe you need a presence somewhere (preferably the platforms your clients enjoy).

Without a social scheduler, you’d probably spend half your day updating social media – I know I would. Don’t let yourself fall into that trap.

Buffer is a great option to get you started for free, but obviously I have ALL OF THE LOVE for my brand new Simply Smart Social.

An email marketing system

Social media growth can have an amazing impact on your business, but it’s not the be all and end all. Remember, if your platform of choice closes down, you lose those contacts for good. This is why the end goal should always be moving those followers onto your email list.

Your email marketing system is the tool that enables you to capture those leads, and keep in touch with them. It will also give you the chance to experiment with automations and nurture sequences – both of which can do wonderful things for your bottom line.

I use Active Campaign, because it does absolutely everything I need, but there are also slightly cheaper options out there, like ConvertKit and Mailchimp (which is free to start with).

Of course, there are other tools out there that will help you grow and run your business – a graphic design tool, some sort of video creator, a teaching platform, nifty templates… but these are the 5 must-haves.

For a sneaky peek at ALL the tools I use to run my business, grab a copy of the Simply Smart Toolkit below.

 

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The Lead Engine Training Series

Generate consistent, relevant leads on automatic with this proven system

It's free!