When you run a small business, there are a lot of tools that will make your life so much easier and over time, you will learn which ones work for you, because something I have learnt is that this is a very personal thing.
However, with that in mind, I wanted to share the Top 5 Digital Tool that I swear by. So here we go.
Digital Tool #1
Canva: For when you are definitely NOT a Graphic Designer
Every time I open up Canva, my Graphic Designer boyfriend dies a little bit on the inside. That’s not to say Canva isn’t a great tool – it absolutely is – but it is definitely intended to used by those of us who are not Graphic Designers and that is okay!
Canva means that I don’t have to hire someone to whip me together a graphic for every social media post.
No, graphics don’t look as great as they would if a professional Designer had done them but it saves me time and money.
Whilst I wouldn’t recommend Canva for things like logo design (trust me, I’ve tried this and it very rarely looks as great as you should be getting for something as important as your literal brand image), Canva is an excellent tool. It is easy to use and very easy to learn.
Digital Tool #2
Penfold: For the freelancer that wants to plan ahead
When you have an employer, it’s easy to take for granted that you will be contributing to a private pension because it comes straight out of your salary. However, when you run your own business it is crucial to make sure you set up your own and that you contribute to it.
What I love about Penfold is that they will move your existing pensions for you without the hassle and if there are any problems they keep you informed (I had an issue because my old pension was still in my married name but this was quickly sorted).
I also really like that I can change the amount I pay each month, giving me full flexibility to match the ebbs and flows that come from running your own business.
Digital Tool #3
Trello: For managing your life and projects
When I tell you that I manage my life using Trello, I am honestly not joking. Back in 2016, I used Trello to manage my wedding planning, from tracking wedding invites and RSVPs to organising what needed doing and when.
I have used Trello for so many aspects of my business from organising the creation of the new website at the end of last year to brain dumping the packages I would offer.
I personally find Trello to be excellent for brain-dumping ideas and things that you need to do. It’s not necessarily the best tool for actual time management in my opinion, but for project management, it’s worth having a look at.
Digital Tool #4
Grammarly: For EVERYone
Grammar Nazi. Call me what you like, but I am still a huge believer that good spelling and grammar help us to look professional. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can make typos just like everyone else, but perhaps the best Digital Tool that I have found is definitely Grammarly.
After a lifetime of using Spellcheck on Word, Grammarly has really opened my eyes to what spellcheckers should be doing. It is so much more intuitive and I just love it.
Digital Tool #5
Mailchimp: Not just for Newsletters
This seems like an obvious one if you run a regular newsletter, however it’s also incredibly helpful for any business owner.
First, it’s handy if you want to send an email to a large number of clients; perhaps sharing an offer or an event that you’re running. Maybe you’re moving premises or changing your working hours, so want to make sure your regulars are kept in the know.
With Mailchimp, this is now so much easier than adding every client individually to an email in Gmail or Outlook. Plus, once your clients are loaded to Mailchimp (this can be done by uploading details from a spreadsheet), you can add tags allowing you to segment who you are emailing. This is great if you have different aspects to your business as it allows your emails to be hyper-targeted.
Not only that but if you run a website, particularly an e-commerce one, it is possible to create automated emails to target visitors to your website and potentially draw them back to it.
So those are the 5 digital tools that I use the most. Which tools do you swear by to make your business and general life easier?