When you think of owning your own business, you think of doing what you love, setting your own hours, being your own boss… sounds just wonderful, doesn’t it?
And it can be. It really can be a wonderful fantastic experience. Many business owners I know swear that they would NEVER go back to working for someone else. They absolutely love being in charge.
That having been said, odds are these people knew what they were getting into when they started on their journey. Owning a small business isn’t always fun and games. The reality is there is a lot of work that goes into it… and work that you don’t get paid for. Luckily, there are many different tools that can help you with managing your business.
Here are some you’ll want to research NOW!
A good Content Management System (CMS) for your website
I really, really hope your business has a website. If it doesn’t, you need to build one, yesterday. With any luck, your site will be built on a platform that makes it easy to edit the content, add pages, move content around, build your blog and more.
With a good CMS, you’ll be able to spend less time coding your web pages and spend more time focusing on top-quality content!
Social Media Management Software
Assuming you’re in charge of your business marketing efforts, you’ll probably be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. at least once a day, if not more.
Social media is essential for any business to keep in touch with its customers, but keeping on top of all those different channels can be exhausting and overwhelming. Luckily there are a few awesome tools to help you schedule posts in advance, monitor comments, and even read and reply to direct messages on multiple platforms and accounts—all with one login!
Much like a CMS, Social Medial Management tools are available in all shapes and sizes, and you’ll want to find one that suits your goals and tech-savviness. Two tools that you’ll at least want to consider are Hootsuite and Buffer.
Need more info on social media? Check out this post: Social Media for Beginners
Project Management Tools
The lists… the lists!
It can take a while to find a good project management software that will actually save you time and not add to it! But once you find that software, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
A good project management tool will work with you, not against you. The best advice I have is, look for one that doesn’t feel like work. If you’re a very organized, list-driven person who already writes everything down, then something like BaseCamp or Microsoft Project might be right up your alley.
Again you’re not short on options here. Most of these tools are free, or if they’re paid you can at least get a trial version to test them out. Give yourself enough time to truly evaluate these types of programs. Commit to one for at least a week or two before you make up your mind!
Email Service Provider
You probably use Outlook or Thunderbird for your business emails, and that’s just fine. What many small businesses don’t use, is an email provider for their regular client communications like newsletters.
While most aren’t free, most email service providers can be very inexpensive depending on your list size and can save you SO much time. What’s more, an email provider will protect your business emails! Especially when you send out content such as newsletters, there’s always a chance your email will be flagged as “spam”.
Now if you follow best practices this is extremely unlikely, but it can happen to anyone. If you use your regular business email to send out newsletters and (God forbid) your newsletter is flagged as spam, there’s a very good chance that your regular one-on-one client emails will start going into people’s “junk” folders without you even realizing it.
For a small business, this can have devastating financial consequences.
For that reason alone, I strongly urge all business owners to create an account with an email provider who can help you send out quality newsletter content to your email list, safely. Some of our favorite providers include MailChimp, Emma, and StreamSend.
I love Microsoft Excel… it’s awesome. But Excel alone can’t help you with your business accounting. Unless you’re a genius, do yourself a favor and invest in a good small business accounting software. (You might want to do yourself an even bigger favor and at least pay an accountant to help you set it up!).
Trust me, it’s never too early to start with this one!