Every entrepreneur and small-business owner knows that you have to wear a lot of hats. Running a business means doing the thing you’re good at—the thing you’ve based your business around—plus handling a hundred other things that just need to be done. You’ve got to manage your task load, communicate with your clients and contractors, exchange files, and so much more.
At the heart of all of this, it’s incredibly helpful to have a running log of all of these tasks and communications. You want to have a kind of virtual message board where people can go to see what’s happening and interact and leave their own messages or files. It helps to keep everyone on the same page.
Fortunately we live in an era of many many online business tools. I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the tools that I use and how I use them.
Basecamp is my project management savior. As the name suggests, this platform serves as a jumping-off point for most of my projects. Each client gets their own folder where they can message me, leave files, see the files I’ve created, and more. It’s just good for me—and them—to know that this is where everything goes. There are so many moving parts in what we’re working on, it’s good to have an overview of them all in one place. And we also know that if we need a specific file, or we just need to refresh our memory about some messages we exchanged, we can find it in Basecamp.
HubSpot has a ton of sales and inbound marketing applications. I use it primarily to integrate my “service requests” with my to-do list, and then follow each request through to its conclusion. When a client uses the contact form on my website, HubSpot generates a “task” on my calendar. From that task, I can respond to the client with a pre-written confirmation email, and then communicate more specifically as I work to fulfill their request. As I’m doing these things, HubSpot moves the task along a step-by-step progress bar until it’s completed. It lets me monitor where I’m at on any specific job, and it keeps me on track so no task falls through the cracks.
CloudCampaign is my latest social media management tool. It puts all of my clients and their multiple social media accounts in one place, and provides an intuitive process for creating and scheduling posts. It provides extensive reporting tools and even lets you add your own categories for tracking various types of posts. On top of that, CloudCampaign is fully integrated with Canva, my preferred graphic design tool, so all of my photos and designs are easily accessible for social media posts.
What tools do you use to keep your business running smoothly?