I’ve been running a small business for about 8 and a half months now. Perhaps the most delightful thing I’ve discovered about operating one is the amount of tools at my disposal to help make processes more seamless, especially when personnel are lean.
Here are 6 tools that I could not live without. They make my business run smoother, and allow me to do the work that many humans in the past would have had to do for me.
Freshbooks. (www.freshbooks.com) An amazing, comprehensive accounting and invoicing software and app. Freshbooks makes keeping track of accounts receivable absolutely seamless, and it takes about 15 seconds to create a new invoice. The days of spending 45 minutes on Microsoft word building an invoice are no more.
EverNote. (www.evernote.com) Between e-mail, Twitter, bills, notes from phone calls, website articles and talks I have to read and watch during the course of a day, there is a lot of stuff for me to remember. This app makes notetaking/listmaking and aggregating all the disjointed thoughts and ideas I have make sense when I look at them days or weeks after the fact.
TripIt. (www.tripit.com) In my business, I book a lot of travel, sometimes multiple flights per day. TripIt is the easiest way to keep track of everything. It’s something I use personally now for my travel in addition to my clients.
Basecamp. (www.basecamp.com) Created by the geniuses at 37 Signals, Basecamp is the easiest way for project collaboration that I’ve encountered. Whether it’s working with web developers or designers, speakers or conference planners, it’s a great way for a continuous dialogue, and mostly importantly one that doesn’t clog your Inbox.
HiFutureself. (www.hifutureself.com) This is one I have recently started using. It’s the last line of defense against my clumsiness and protects against human error. Essentially, you can text yourself at any date in the future a particular reminder. Want to make sure you remember someone’s birthday? Forget a lunch with a client? Hifutureself is a great final reminder, knowing that we all need to be told more than once sometimes.
MoonClerk. (moonclerk.com) MoonClerk takes what would be an ugly process of accepting credit cards and makes it wonderfully easy. Using the Stripe (www.stripe.com) API, it allows you to create custom landing pages with customized language and logos and encrypted software so clients can safely input CC info when paying for your service. Sure beats reading out the numbers over the phone!