There’s a simple reason why entrepreneurs are such big fans of systems - they save time. As my entrepreneurial spirit animal April Ludgate so eloquently put it,
“Times is money, money is power, power is pizza, pizza is knowledge…”
I mean, apart from the pizza part, it’s all true. Time is money in the business world and you can’t afford to waste any time mucking about in tasks that can be streamlined and systemized.
In order to create those systems, it’s essentials that you choose the right tools for the right job. Here are a list of my entrepreneur must haves for online tools.
CRM - Customer Relationship Manager
A CRM is where you organize all of your customers, both existing and potential. Think of it like a database on steroids! My favorite CRM (and the one that I use for my own business) is 17hats. I signed up for their free trial and was hooked by their easy to use interface and helpful features. 17hats allows you to create contracts (complete with personal branding), create custom quotes, organize lead generation, deliver invoices, and so much more. My favorite feature on this tool is the ability to create workflows.
If you know anything about me, then you know I’m a big believer in whiteboard planning and workflows. So having the ability to automate a steady workflow makes my entrepreneurial heart all a-flutter.
The place a lot of entrepreneurs fumble is by trying to use their CRM to do project management. Can you setup your projects in your CRM, absolutely! But as far as delegating tasks and setting up timelines, a project management software is where it's at.
There’s a lot of controversy out there on which project management tool is best, but I am all in on team Asana. Asana allows you to easily setup a project and delegate tasks (and even subtasks) within. You can set due dates right down to the minute and even set up recurring tasks!
Bonus - unless you want to unlock some of their finer features, it’s completely F-R-E-E.
Using a quality finance software makes tax time a breeze, even if you’re a solopreneur. I am a big fan of Quickbooks Online as my finance tool. Not only is it really easy to use, but it has a price tag that is hard to beat! If you’re self-employed then the basic plan is a measly $5/month!
My favorite feature is that Quickbooks integrates seamlessly with Turbotax which makes both quarterly and year end taxes simple.
Email marketing is hands down my favorite way to reach people. It’s more personal than social media and you have much more control. I mean, how many times has the algorithm changed this year so far? And that’s only going to go up! Picking an email service provider is extremely important when it comes to your business and setting up your systems.
My go-to email marketing tool is Active Campaign. It’s easy drag-and-drop automation interface makes setting up sales funnels and autoresponders easy as pie!