Five Biz Tools I Can't Live Without

 

If you hop in any business based Facebook group, you're going to see a number of posts asking others what tool they use for XXX task in their business. There are new tools almost daily, some paid and some free, and all with varying features. You're going to get mixed reviews on all platforms because, well, we all function differently! While these tools have become my favorite, I know there are others out there that work great for other people too!

Asana

Asana is designed to help teams track their work. It is essentially virtual project management. Teams can be created, with each user having their own account, and tasks and projects can be assigned to each individual.

I have an account for myself with various projects and tasks. I have even added my daily workout plan for 12 weeks, this way each day is like a mini-win because I get to "check" off that I did it! I have my own personal account, where it is entirely private, so I can add a variety of tasks in any category. I then also have a linked account that is attached to each client, therefore they can assign me tasks and see my progress. Team members can leave comments and descriptions under each task, which makes for easy collaboration and communication. 

Aside from the pure awesome-ness, they have a phone application, a website, and a Chrome plug-in!

 
Asana Screenshot

Canva

Canva is a free graphic-design tool with an easy to use drag-and-drop interface. Within the platform the user has access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. Many people use it to create simple graphics for social media, but it is capable of much more. Ebooks, infographics, brochures, and print media can all be created within the platform and showcase a professional look.

Canva is available both on the web and with an app, but there is a lot more features available on the web platform. 

Canva Screenshot

Word Swag

Word Swag turns your words into text designs which can be placed over photos, either from your own camera or from their album of stock photos. This app is awesome for quickly creating something visually appealing for Instagram and much more. I personally use it to up-level my Instagram stories. When plain text isn't quite enough, you can snap a photo and use Word Swag - with a preset size - to add your text before uploading to your story. 

Word Swag App

And.co

Ever small business owner has their favorite Invoicing/Accounting platform. Once you stumble on one that you enjoy, it's pretty hard to convince you to switch over to another. I did a few free trials on different platforms before finding And.co. 

Features include:

Task Manager, Invoicing, Payments, Contracts, Expense Tracking, Time Tracking, & Reports

Accept payments globally through PayPal & Stripe, send invoices in different languages, supports multiple currencies 

With the paid plan, you get access to your own personal Chief Operator, who is a real human available via chat 18 hours/day.

Set recurring expenses and the app will automatically file them into your expense report. 

Lastly, they provide physical demand letters. If you ever encounter a client who doesn't pay, they will help send a real demand letter right from the app. 

And.co Screenshot

Planoly

Any blog post regarding Instagram will tell you that you need consistency, authenticity, and a physically attractive "theme". 

Planoly allows you to upload heaps of photos that can be stored on the app and scheduled out over a period of time. You can plan your layout and see what it is going to look like in grid view. The app also allows you to add all 30 hashtags, and gives you analytics on each hashtag you select. 

The analytics are helpful, including followers, following, likes received, and comments received - per week, month and year. It also gives you numbers of the last week vs the previous week. Lastly, you get analytics on all top posts by likes and by comments. 

Nothing has been better for my sanity than planning out my posts ahead of time. I am able to step away from my phone instead of contemplating what photo to use and what to write in the caption each day. Occasionally I will go on the desktop platform, upload new photos, update my grid, and create captions for each post. This really helps with the authenticity and ensures that my content has value and depth. 

Planoly App Screenshot
Planoly Screenshot

Bonus: Harvest

I have only been using this tool for a few weeks (under the free trial option) and so far I am loving it for it's time tracking options. The only issue I am having is committing to the paid version JUST for this feature, as my other platforms - of which I am very happy - offer the same features as Harvest. The tool is downloaded on your desktop, as well as used on the web. On a Mac there is a small icon at the top of the screen where you can click + and add a task, then pause and play as you are working to keep track of the time you are spending on this task and for which project and/or client.

Harvest Screenshot

What's one tool you use daily that you can't live without? 

Do any of these top the list? There are new apps and services being introduced daily, especially in the world of online business and social media - it's sometime's a task just to keep up!

xx LJ