One of the questions I get almost daily is, ‘What are your must-have business tools for entrepreneurs?’ I looooove finding out tools that are not gimmicks or fluff, but that actually helps make your experience as an entrepreneur an easy one. Below are 15 of my favourite must-have business tools. They are user-friendly, easy to use, and I have used them myself at one point in my business life.
I recently discovered this platform and was over the moon; it exists – the new way to seek legal advice from the comfort of your own home! Goodlawyer is the fastest, easiest, and most affordable way to connect with lawyers in Canada. Goodlawyer is an interactive online service that makes it quicker for clients to find and hire legal help solely based on their preferences. Note: use discount code KBRIONES and save $50!
Ownr is the simplest, most convenient way to make your business official in minutes. Ownr makes starting easy, so you can focus on what you do best – your business. Open a sole proprietorship or incorporate – in minutes! Incorporating can be a bit more complicated, but what Ownr does is assign you a consultant via a chat box that can help you incorporate, answer questions and provide information as you are filling out the form. I have tried this, and not only makes it easy for you, but it is also extremely affordable.
I’ll be honest here: I hate searching for insurance, getting quotes, negotiating and, well, just everything about the insurance process. However, as a business owner, you need to protect your business and yourself from unforeseen events or circumstances. There are many types of insurance available for business owners, but thankfully Zensurance makes it suuuuuper easy to help business owners get the coverage needed – quickly and painlessly. Wait; what?! Yes, my friend, an ENJOYABLE way to seek insurance – they provide you with different quotes and everything is done via their platform – seamlessly. Hallelujah!
There is a famous saying by Benjamin Franklin’ failing to plan is planning to fail’. As an entrepreneur, going “shoot, ready, aim!” – is like taking a walk in a maze with a blindfold on. Putting pen to paper to develop a one-page business canvas gives you a full picture of your business. You will also spot which segment you need to improve with ease as you scale up your business. Regardless of how big or small your business idea is, developing this one-sheet plan sets you on a great path.
5. Accounting and Financial Software
To succeed in business, you must learn to follow the money. Better yet, have a good idea of your numbers and grow your revenue. There are many apps one can use to budget expenses, but I prefer using either Wave or QuickBooks Online. With Wave or QuickBooks, you can keep track of your invoices, payments, payroll, and expenses. And, it takes away the hassle from preparing your books for tax season. A MUST for everyone running a business regardless of the size!
Canva is a must-have tool to improve your marketing platforms. It enables you to create beautiful designs and content for marketing – social media and website content. Canva is free, but you can subscribe to Canva Pro and Canva Enterprise to have additional capabilities and access to more variety in templates and stock photography (among other things). You can even design your own logo, business cards, posters, flyers, presentations – no more using Word!! Ever wished you could have a graphic designer work on your startup stuff? You can definitely do it yourself and have it look professional and fun.
7. Cloud Storage System
Cloud storage is a secured storage system where you save your documents and files that can be accessed by you or your team. A few cloud storage options come to mind – Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud and Google Drive. But, Google Drive stands out as it gives you free access to a 15GB storage drive. With Google Drive, you can use different tools such as google docs, sheets, slides, forms and more. It’s free and simple: all you need is to open a Gmail account and access it from anywhere.
8. Note-Taking Apps
Ever had an idea you need to jot down? Unfortunately, you don’t have a notepad with you or a pen to scribble on a napkin, if any. But, you most times have your mobile phone with you. Using a note app comes in handy in more ways than one. You could jot down notes as ideas come to you. Take note of customers’ feedback on the go or an important message you will like to address later. Mobile apps that come to mind are Google Keep Note, Evernote and Apple iCloud Note.
Karla, how do you manage all the businesses you have and stay on top of things? I have to say; I owe a lot to this tool. I have tried aaaaall kinds of organizational tools: digital, apps, etc. Somehow, I ended up going back to the traditional pen-and-paper route. Panda Planner is my go-to planner to help keep track of activities on paper. With this planner, you can take back time from being busy to being productive and happy.
Hey, this is the 21st Century. You need a website, period. A website is the online version of your office, shop or store, concierge and media platform. Owning a website helps your prospects or customers to access you at their fingertips. But, there are different platforms best suited for various purposes.
If you intend to operate an eCommerce website, Shopify or Esty is best suited for you. If you want to own a handmade, vintage or craft supplies business – then Esty.com is the best option for you. If you need an online store – Shopify.com is what you should consider.
Are you an aspiring blogger, web designer or freelancer? WordPress is the content management system you need to grow your business. WordPress is a free and open-source content management system you can use to create a beautiful website unique to your business. You are reading this blog on a WordPress platform.
11. Automatic Calendar Bookings
Calendly is an online scheduling tool that allows you to automate your schedules. This has been my saving grace when trying to coordinate booking meetings with clients. Sign up, you get your own link that accesses your digital calendar, and your clients can book you based on your availability you provide in your own schedule. It sends them reminders and automatically invites them to add the meeting to their schedule. A dream come true! No more missed meetings! You can use the free plan and upgrade as your business needs grow. It is easy to use and integrates with calendars, websites and emails.
I get hundreds of emails per day; keeping track of who sent what sometimes is hard to manage. The number of emails in my inbox decreased as soon as I implemented Slack. Slack is a communication tool used as a messaging app for teams and colleagues at the workplace. It’s the one platform I use as an instant messaging system and file sharing. No more sharing files via email – we share information, chats, documents all through Slack.
13. Video Communications Tools
Thanks to social distancing, communication apps have evolved into a must-have tool. And, like everything with technology – we have options. Yet, three are much easier to use due to its free plans and somewhat preferred for everyday use. They are Skype / Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Zoom. Remember to turn your video off if you are in a situation you don’t want to share with the world! 😉
Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what work is going on and who is working on given tasks. It is insanely flexible, easy to use, and it’s free. It’s the digital project management tool that takes you from idea to action with ease.
For bloggers, content creators or digital course creators, this one is my favourite tool. ConvertKit is an email marketing and automation tool. Like MailChimp but with a more robust group of features, such as templated landing page creation and integration, a sales feature and the ability to create email sequences and funnels. You can start on a free trial or subscribe to the free plan and upgrade as your business needs grow.
Starting a business requires planning, strategy and patience to grow. With technology, tools like the list above, taking you from idea to growth has never been easier. However, I repeat, it requires patience.
What business tool do you use, or are you considering using? Jump in and drop a comment below to help fellow Immpreneurs in Canada.