Business Tool Essentials

You’ve taken the leap to finally go it alone! Well done you! 

But what now? Where do you start?

You’ve decided on a name, registered with HMRC (a must!!) created your social media pages, and are left wondering what happens next?

Here's our list of must have apps & websites to help you run your business!

Accounting Software

Unless you're a wiz on Excel, manual bookkeeping is a thing of the past. There are a number of different online accounting software's available, with both free and paid options. Most enable you to view your transactions on the go, upload receipts straight from your phone and produce invoices using templates with the ability to upload your own logo etc! Our favourite free account is Wave, but there are other paid options with free trials such as Xero, ClearBooks & Sage.

Design Software

Frankly, I couldn't live my life without the wonderful Canva! There is a pro version, but the free version is more than sufficient for most of what you need. Where do you start?? You can create a logo, business cards, flyers, posters, documents, workbooks, invoices, social media posts... even Christmas cards! There are literally thousands of preset, editable themes to choose from! There is a desktop website and a smart phone app you can download too.

Creating Content

If you're selling a physical product, you have many options of how to create your social media posts. Unless there are any important announcements, special deals etc, you can largely just use images of your products, although it is important to remember to keep your photos clear, crisp and bright. Vary backgrounds occasionally, where possible use natural lighting and you can always edit the images later to make them brighter, or even crop parts out. If you are a service based company (like myself!) it can be harder to create valuable content alongside images, which let's face it, grabs people's attention more often than words do. There's a few paid and free options out there, but Unsplash has literally 10,000's of copyright free images for you to use on any of your marketing materials, social media or website.

Scheduling Future Posts

It's a good idea to plan your social media as much as you can. This can either be for the month ahead, or even just for a few days. There's lots of websites that list all of the 'national days' as well as the usual bank holidays & celebrations etc, but there will be a few industry specific to you - why not create a special post or competition for these events! Facebook itself allows you to schedule updates, however the other platforms don't have this capability. A few websites & apps you can use to allow you to create and schedule your posts across your various platforms are Hootsuite, Buffer, Later or Recurpost.

Printing Services

Once you've designed your marketing materials, you will of course need them printing! Canva has started to offer their own printing services, but some products are still only available in the US. For high quality printing services we recommend using Moo. They have a number of different shape & sized business cards and the process is really easy.

Storage & Sharing Files

We are a huge advocat of Google Drive. You get a large amount of storage for free, but there are paid upgrades if you require more. It's so simple to use, uploading files and managing different folders etc. It also has the ability to share with others either inside or outside of your organisation, deciding whether you want to enable them to edit or simply view the file, sharing via a link and specifying whether it is public or to remain private.

Simple Website Solution

Any reputable business these days has a website. No matter what stage you are in your entrepreneurial journey, it makes you look professional, established & reliable to your potential customers. If however, website creation is new to you, don't worry! Wix is a fabulous starting place. It's simple to use, with a 'drag & drop' system which is similar to creating a Word document, you simply choose your text box then edit fonts & styles etc, it allows you to upload your own pictures or use one of wix's 100's of free options, you can create animations too, such as titles swooping in from the side or sliding up the page. Although it is simple to use, it also has the capabilities for blog writing, appointment booking & product selling to name a few!

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Download our FREE Social Media Calendar to help with ideas & inspiration of how to maintain your business through lockdown.

I have been fortunate enough to have been on board with this exciting new venture right from the beginning and it’s wonderful to watch it grow. There are so many inspiring women out there with fantastic stories to share too.