Tools are everything. And not just for business. We use tools for the yard, for fixing our car, and for cleaning the house. I need tools for my hair to get it to look a certain way. Bare with me gentlemen for just a minute. If I did not have tools and just left my hair as-is after the shower, you would see a stringy, kinky mess of hair. But with my tools I am able to present my hair as having volume, shine, and softness. I need styling cream, a hair dryer, a curling iron, and hairspray. Without those tools, I would not get the desired result.

Your online business works much the same way. I have specific tools that I use on a daily basis to help my business run as effectively and as smoothly as possible and to get the desired results. Here are my 5 essential tools in no particular order:

  1. 17Hats-17Hats is a business management tool for solopreneurs. I can send invoices, create quotes, emails, to-do lists, sync my calendar and so much more. This is essentially my CRM at this time and for what I need it for, it is perfect. There are a few features that it doesn’t have that I wish it did (integration with Wise Stamp for email signatures and the ability to add a team member) but it does the job.
  2. Sprout Social-Sprout Social is my longest standing social media relationship. I have been with them for over 4 years and will probably never break up. They have an awesome dashboard that allows me to schedule on just about any social media platform. I use it for Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Sprout Social has amazing metrics and will allow me create branded 30, 60, and 90 day reports. My clients love them and I do too. It is also very intuitive to use and now has a content calendar feature that is very helpful to see what you have scheduled.
  3. Canva-Oh Canva. A graphic designer’s nightmare and a graphically challenged professional’s best friend. Canva has allowed me to make simple, yet professional looking graphics with very little effort. Yes, there is a learning curve and I can spot a Canva DIY graphic a mile away. But if you put in the time and perfect your skills you really can learn to make nice looking graphics without the expensive design programs or hiring a graphic designer. *Caveat: I still use a graphic designer for the big stuff. Canva is great for the day to day posts but banners, and really nice things should be handed to a professional.
  4. PayPal-I do not like checks. I do not like PayPal fees either but it sure makes invoicing and getting paid easier.
  5. Slack-Another one of my favorites! Slack is a communication tool between team members. I use Slack with clients and within larger teams that I might be a part of. I have also used Slack when attending large conferences or networking events such as @social media marketing world. Great tool to talk to one another and so much better than email when needing to discuss multiple items.

What about you? What are some of your favorite business tools?