If you are starting a new business or growing your existing business, more often than not, one of the biggest challenges is time management and prioritising your tasks to ensure you have time to dedicate to growth rather than just servicing your existing clients. A great way to grow, automate and streamline your tasks is to implement online software such as project management, CRM, accounting software and marketing tools. We’re discussing our recommendations for the best tools including those at different price ranges to suit all business types and stages.
Project Management & CRM
Whether you are a solo-preneur or have a team, if you have a growing list of clients and projects, it can be difficult to stay on top of communication, deadlines and progress updates. By implementing a project management and CRM software, you will be able to plan your projects and pipeline, track progress, schedule and manage the team’s time, allocate resources, track budgets, communicate and collaborate with your team and clients, analyse reports, store documentation and files, and of course improve your results for clients.
Depending on your business and personal preferences, there are different types of project management tools available. If you are in the market for a simple and easy solution, Trello and Monday.com are the best options. Trello has customisable views including lists for an overview of upcoming tasks, timelines to manage projects and schedule tasks, and boards to assist with workflow. You can also automate routine work with their forms and templates to save time. Trello offers a free plan with up to '10 Boards' which makes it a great solution for budgeters. Monday.com provides similar functionality, however, also offers customisable views including Kanban, calendar, Gantt, and maps which are available on both desktop and mobile with the ability to integrate your other software like Dropbox, Shopify, Excel and Google Drive so you can add it to your existing workflow if you prefer. Monday.com offers a free trial with their basic plan currently starting at $11 per month.
For more comprehensive project management and CRM tools, we recommend HubSpot and ClickUp. HubSpot has platforms for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service which can be integrated and used together for a one-stop-shop solution for everything from lead generation, marketing automation, analytics, meeting scheduling and customer feedback to SEO recommendations and website themes. HubSpot’s starter package currently costs $76 per month for a bundle of all of their services. ClickUp is used by some of the biggest organisations in the world including Google, Airbnb, Nike and Uber. It combines to do lists, project management tools, documents and wikis, spreadsheets, emails and chats, events reminders, goal tracking, time tracking, screenshots and recording, and time management. It’s another one-stop-shop option that is completely customisable for your business. It also integrates with other software including Zoom, Dropbox, Google Drive and Calendars to improve efficiency. ClickUp offers a free plan with unlimited tasks and members with their Unlimited package currently only $6.41 per month (if billed annually) for full access making it an extremely cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes.
Once you have developed your branding and marketing strategies, a great way to stay consistent, produce high quality content, reduce tedious tasks and grow is to implement marketing tools for your newsletters, social media, graphic design and more.
Building owned media like an email list is extremely important with the ever-changing algorithms and capabilities of social media. Software like Mailchimp and Klaviyo assist you to create engaging newsletters and emails with their design tools and customisable templates, learn about your audience with audience management tools, automate your marketing with customer journeys and automated messages that are triggered by customer actions, and insights and analytics to help you improve your efforts for better results. We recommend both Mailchimp and Klaviyo, however if you are an ecommerce store, we would opt for Klaviyo as they have more capabilities when it comes to integrating with Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce. If you are a new business wanting to grow an email list, Mailchimp is free up to 2,000 contacts with paid packages currently starting from $9.99 per month and Klaviyo is free up to 250 contacts with paid packages currently starting from $20 per month.
Creating content, scheduling, managing and analysing social media accounts can require a lot of work, especially if you have multiple platforms. Here at Evie Studios, we use SocialBee as we can schedule for all platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google My Business, conduct our hashtag research right on the platform, analyse the performance of posts and create evergreen content saving us time in future. SocialBee has packages currently starting at $19 per month with a 14-day free trial.
For the graphic design element of your digital marketing, if you are a beginner, Canva is a great resource to create professional images as they have thousands of templates and you can even purchase templates to upload which are specific to your industry or business. Canva has a free option which is comprehensive, however if you want to collaborate with a team and have access to all functionality, they have recently introduced Canva Pro which currently starts at $17.99 per month. If you are more advanced at graphic design and photography, you may prefer Adobe Creative Suite as it will give you complete creative freedom with professional editing and creation tools. Adobe’s pricing depends on which software you purchase, however for graphic design, we recommend either Photoshop or InDesign which currently start at USD$20.99 each per month. They do have bundles available if you plan on purchasing more than one.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. To ensure you remain profitable and keep your bookkeeping up to date, we recommend investing in an online accounting software. The benefits of it being online is that your accountant will be able to access it remotely in case you do need assistance, however they are extremely intuitive and step-by-step instructions are available to ensure any business owner, regardless of your finance and accounting background, can keep on top of their finances. If you are a solo-preneur, freelancer or small business with only a few employees, Wave Accounting provides most of its services for free including invoicing and transaction management, accounting and payroll to make your life easier. We recommend Xero for a comprehensive accounting software as you can pay bills, claim expenses, connect the software to your bank account for simple bank reconciliation, accept payments, track projects, payroll, GST returns, reporting, invoicing, quotes and more. Current pricing starts from just $27 per month with their most popular plan costing $52 per month.
We hope you find these tools helpful, let us know in the comments below if you currently use any of these software programs or if you will implement them into your business’ processes. If you are looking for a marketing partner to assist you with growing your business, feel free to get in touch with us at email@example.com, we’d be more than happy to chat to you about how we can help.
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