In the interest of being completely transparent I can confirm that I have no affiliation with any of the products I am going to be talking about today… I just LOVE using these five apps for my business.
I recently read an article that explained in 2011 there were approximately 150 technology based support programmes for businesses to use to help design, promote, finance and run themselves. By 2017 this had dramatically increased to over 5000 applications.
On a daily basis I am being introduced to new apps from people on Facebook, suggested apps in the Apple store and people trying to sign me up via LinkedIn.
But there are 5 pieces of software that I remain loyal to. They have provided all of the functions I need, they are user friendly and best of all they are completely free to use up to a certain point.
Below I will go into more detail about each of these apps, why I love them and what they can do.
Thinking about my clients’ journey, I will take them in the order I tend to use them:
So let’s dive in:
This amazing little app has been used to design everything in my business from social media posts, headed paper, presentation slides to invitations, banners, brochures and photo collages.
This programme is so user friendly you can either start designs from scratch or use one of the 60000 free templates created by professional designers.
You can add text to photos – uploading your own photos or using one of 1000’s of stock photos available – and upload your favourite font or use one of over 700 font styles available.
What I love most is that you can either download your creation ready to use later or share it straight to social media.
You can even set up a team to share designs easily amongst colleagues.
There is an option to pay a subscription and upgrade it to the Pro Version which does open up even more functions to save time, simplify workflow and stay on brand but as yet I have not found the need to do this.
The time tracking app that changed my life.
Whenever I start working with a new client, I set them up with their own profile on this app and throughout the month I will use so many of the functions available.
Create Projects and Tags – So many of my clients ask me to do a variety of different tasks throughout the month so being able to add a title and description to each time entry as well as allocating it to an individual really helps me stay on track.
Run reports – periodically and particularly at the end of each month I like to run the reports to see how I am tracking against deadlines and expectations. These reports can be downloaded into easy to read PDF files which I will send to my clients alongside their invoices.
As my business grows and I bring in a team to support me, I am also able to create team profiles so I can see what they are spending their time on, how they are progressing with projects and where time can be managed better.
The ultimate organising tool, not just for business but for my life. With easy to use to-do lists, there is no excuse for not getting things done.
So every time I start with a new client, I set them up with their own TRELLO board. This can either be used just by myself as a way of tracking what they need doing, or it can be shared with my team so that tasks can be delegated, tracked and completed. I can also share it with my clients, so that they can track what I am working on, how projects are progressing, add ideas and suggestions, create new tasks and generally improve communication.
Each task/card can have checklists, labels and due dates, you can add pictures and videos as training tools or examples of work required.
This app really has been a game changer for me.
Well I guess the name says it all with this app. This very user friendly invoicing app makes light work of creating invoices, tracking expenses, setting up reoccurring invoices, chasing late payments and providing a clear and easy to read overview of your businesses financial situation.
Every business owner needs a reliable and easy to use CRM and Marketing provider and for me, that’s MailChimp.
This product has allowed me to market my business in a smarter way, with faster results. With tools like reporting and analytics, email marketing campaigns, template creation, contact management, Facebook Ad management, newsletters and marketing recommendations, you can’t really go wrong.
Quickly learn how your marketing campaigns are performing, get alerts when you have new customer activity and monitor your audience dashboard with the handy mobile app.
Now, all 5 of these apps have got paid versions so some functionality may be restricted, or you may be limited from the number of client profiles you can create, but as mentioned before, I am yet to find the need to upgrade any of these apps and I have been able to do everything I wanted to do on the free version.
So that’s my top 5, what’s yours?
Having used these apps both for myself and for my clients, I would love to see you get the benefit from them too. So if you need help or advise or simply want someone to do it for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today!