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10 essential business tools for small business owners

As I’m sure you can imagine, there are lots of things that need to go on in the background to run Women Unlimited.  But our team is small!   The Women Unlimited Team consists of myself, Jayne, our content manager and Kizzy our social media bod.  And we all work part-time! So we need to pack a lot in to a short space of time.  

Besides creating and establishing clear activities and goals, we also rely heavily on a number of tools to get the job done.  These are the ones that I could absolutely not do without.  Most of them are free (gotta like FREE :D!  )

Dropbox:   Dropbox is a fantastically simple free tool which allows you to share files between team members and others by uploading your files to a central place ‘in the cloud’ via your computer.   We can set up project files and share these between us.

www.dropbox.com

Hootsuite:  Is an absolute lifesaver.  I am running multiple social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and through Hootsuite, can keep them all up to date via one interface.  It allows for 1 piece of content to be added to any or all accounts in one click.   I share my login details with Kizzy and we both work off the same platform.

www.hootsuite.com

Google Analytics:  If you don’t know what people are doing on your site you are flying blind.  Google Analytics is my favourite tool to get a sense of the number of visitors we are getting, how people get to the site, the pages they like, the keywords they’re using and if you’re using adwords, to tell you conversion rates.

www.google.com/analytics/

Eventbrite: Eventbrite is my event management tool of choice.  It is free for free events and you only pay for each ticket paid for via the eventbrite system.  The simplicity, ease, attendee management and reporting make the low cost absolutely and totally worth it. I wouldn’t have a business without Eventbrite.  It allowed me to have an easy booking system without having to pay any upfront costs.  The time it saves on administration and the ease with which my customers can book, make it a no brainer.

www.eventbrite.com

Go to Webinar: We run webinars and conference calls with some of our courses and this is the easiest and simplest way to do this.  The quality is consistently good, the price only goes up incrementally based on the number of people on the call and it is easy for people to register and manages all the reminders.  I have looked at other webinar systems, and just found Go To Webinar the easiest and best one to use.

www.gotowebinar.com

WordPress:  Women Unlimited would not exist without WordPress.  It is a blogging platform that has turned into a content management system and I have used to it to build multiple websites.  And we teach others how to do the same in our Simply WordPress course.  It’s incredibly flexible, has fantastic designs, it’s intuitive and has a lot of amazing functionality. And 90% of it is free. We love it!

www.wordpress.org

LinkedIn:  LinkedIn is our online business networking platform of choice.  It’s a great way to connect with old friends and colleagues, meet new professional contacts, build relationships with suppliers and partners, find recruitment prospects AND build a community (check out the Women Unlimited LinkedIn Group with over 4500 members!)

www.linkedin.com

Xmind: I’m not a list maker, but I do really like to organise my thinking and Xmind is how I do this.  It’s a fantastic (and free) mind mapping tool which can be used to break down key ideas, structure your thoughts and free up your ideas.

www.xmind.net

Teamviewer: This is a screen sharing tool and I use it A LOT to help out clients and our WordPress delegates with their websites.  It allows both of us to share a screen and both to make updates and show what we are doing.

www.teamviewer.com

Skype:  Skype is my watercooler, family video platform,  mastermind platform, client management tool, team communication tool and file sharing tool.  Life would be a lot more lonely and clumsy without Skype.  As a communication tool, it really is second to none.  And the free price tag can’t be beat. Communication.

www.skype.com

What are your favourite tools that you couldn’t live without?  Share in the comments below.

Share this article if you found it useful! And leave a comment in the box below. We hope to connect with you soon.

About Julie Hall

Hi, I'm Julie Hall, the founder of Women Unlimited. Which is my 4th business. I've had a business as a headhunter, a consultant, a new media agency and now finally Women Unlimited. I've learned lots of lessons - many of which could have been avoided. I hope you find the articles and stories on this website useful, and feel free to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you.

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13 comments

  1. Hi Julie – I agree completely with you about these tools. I use them all apart from Teamviewer which I’m now going to check out. Thanks for sharing these.

  2. Great selection of tools. My favourites are dropbox, wordpress and hootsuite. WordPress is my cms of choice and a definite if you are thinking about setting up your own website. Plus try Tsohost for web hosting here in the UK. Thanks Julie.

  3. Great list Julie – I will be sharing this on FB. Thanks. Carole

  4. Great list. I use about half of these currently, although I use teamviewer more to access another desktop on my home network to save time (and save space to not use an additional monitor!). Google analytics is an invaluable tool to monitor progress, goals, and keep things running smoothly. I haven’t used hootsuite yet, I’ll have to try it to save some time with social networking!

  5. This is a great list of tools and I use many of these both for my own work but also when I’m setting up systems for use with clients.

    Some others that I find super useful are Freshbooks (for time tracking and invoicing), Evernote (don’t know how I ever lived without this! Brilliant for making/sharing notes and capturing web pages) and Timetrade (great tool if you schedule lots of appointments) There are tons more too, but I won’t go on! (I do a tool of the week on my blog if you want to find out more).

  6. Julie,
    I use most of these tools. WordPress is a great medium for DIY websites. I recommend it to people all the time who are needing to create a website with a small-budget. LOVE Dropbox! My clients can just ‘drop’ photos in and I can grab them at a later time for posting on their social media networks. Currently putting together a 5-session webinar, so I will look at GoTo Webinar and TeamViewer, Currently use Join.me for small attendance meetings, but thinking it may not be the best for recording a live webinar. Want to minimize glitches. Thanks for the helpful tools to review!

  7. Good list, For SEO I truly recommend Google Analytics. It can bring you a clear idea of how your business runs.

    Keep on updating!!!!!

  8. Great.
    These tools are very important.
    I always use dropbox for getting any file in anywhere when it important for me.

  9. Dropbox is very useful although it does have its vulnerabilities. But having a free account to store, share and have plenty of opportunities to increase the space is a plus point. One new tool that I am seeing mentioned a lot is the online presentation software, Prezi ( prezi.com ) – simple to use and can be used remotely for showing snazzy presentations.

  10. These are very interesting tools to use. The most useful for me among these are the skype and dropbox.

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