Would you rather bury your head in the sand than tackle business organization head-on? Let me make it easy for you: pick up a few of the tools in this post and FINALLY get things tidied up!
Let’s be honest: keeping a business organized these days can be hard work.
Gone are the days of keeping everything on paper and filing it all away neatly. Today, the majority of your data and important information is housed online, spread between thirty (or a hundred!) different accounts, services, and resources.
There’s always some new productivity tool on the market vying for your attention and claiming to give you back hours of your day, too. It’s enough to make any entrepreneur want to bury their head in the sand!
If you’re struggling to get or keep your business organized, let me help you. I’ve built a system around some strategic resources over the last 2+ years that serves me really well and keeps me sane while running multiple businesses and my household, and today I’m sharing those resources with you.
Oh, and by the way: the majority of these tools are free, have free trials, or are relatively inexpensive. WIN!
My favorite business organization tools
1. CRM: Dubsado (20% off your first payment using this link, unlimited free trial)
If you’re active in the creative entrepreneur online space, you’ve almost certainly heard of Dubsado before. There’s a good reason why nearly everyone who gives Dubs a try becomes a raving fan: it’s seriously great!
Dubsado has a power-packed featureset, an amazing community, top-notch support, and a lightning-quick development team pushing out new features all the time.
I personally use Dubsado for contracts, invoicing, proposals, time tracking, workflows, and client proposals. It will really up your onboarding game: believe me! I’m a convert from another popular CRM (HoneyBook), and I’d never go back (even though I’m a lifetime HB member).
2. Project management: Asana (free version)
Oh Asana…I can’t gush enough about you! ?
Asana has SERIOUSLY changed my business. It makes it a snap for me to keep on track when dealing with multiple clients and simultaneous projects (two businesses, remember?). The ability to assign tasks to a project member, due dates, recurring tasks, and communication all in one place are my absolute favorite features of Asana.
I use Asana to keep tabs on my custom development projects (also nice for my clients, who can see exactly what I’ve completed at any time they want), to make sure I don’t forget any of my business admin work, and to serve as a storehouse for all of my ideas/things I want to implement in the future.
The only downside I’ve found to Asana is that you can’t buy an individual premium subscription (boo!), so if you have less than 5 team members, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for you to upgrade. Asana team, if you’re listening…us solopreneurs would REALLY like a single-account upgrade! 😉
3. Daily planning: inkWELL Press (get $10 off purchases of $50 or more using this link)
As much as I love Asana, I’ve found that all-digital just doesn’t work for me. I keep a tab open to Asana in my browser all day, but I get too easily distracted by my running task list and notifications from clients if I use only Asana for planning and task-tracking.
Enter my inkWELL Press planner! I use it to help me map out my week on Sundays, then follow it (as well as checking in with Asana) to stay focused on my most important tasks for each day.
I’m kinda a planner snob—I’ve been through several different varieties—and the IWP meets my high expectations. I’m on my second Livewell Flex right now and don’t see myself switching brands any time soon.
4. File storage: Google Drive (free with G Suite basic)
Google Drive is my file-sharing service of choice. Up to 30GB of storage is included with my G Suite basic plan, so it’s essentially a free perk for me. Woop woop!
Files are easy to share with clients, collaborators, or the general public. Drive also makes it much easier to access files from both my laptop and iMac and on my mobile devices.
5. Email: G Suite & associated tools ($5/month)
For branded email, I use G Suite. I used to run my own mail server or use my host’s email service, but I found that deliverability was MUCH better when I switched to G Suite.
I love Kiwi for Gmail for desktop email management of my multiple (4 ?) inboxes. I also use filtering, canned emails, and Boomerang to keep everything efficient and in its proper place.
a. Bookkeeping: Wave (free).
For a solopreneur or small business, Wave has all the features you need for bookkeeping and more. Most of its functionality is free (I don’t pay anything to use it), and you can give access to people who need it, like your accountant.
b. Budgeting: YNAB (free trial; $83.99/year after)
Without a good budget, there’s no way my businesses could have survived some of the leaner months (darn you, unpredictable self-employed income!). I use YNAB for both personal and business budgeting since you can have as many separate budgets as you’d like.
c. Planning: Profit First
Let me just leave this right here: Profit First is the reason I’m still in business right now. It taught me the right way to manage my business finances so that I was able to turn my business from being a money and soul sucking machine into something that works for me. If it weren’t for Profit First, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this blog post for you today.
7. Code storage/version control: git & GitHub (free for public repositories or students; $7/month and up otherwise)
Since I’m a developer, I had to throw this one in for those of y’all who also work with code! I’m still on the Developer plan ($7/month) and I’ve been using GitHub for over two years, so unless you need team/organization capabilities, that one will be just fine for you as well. I sleep a lot easier at night knowing that all the client work I do is backed up to a remote server somewhere in case of a disaster.
Finally get your business organized
Which of these tools do you think can have an impact in your business?
The only way to know for sure is to get your hands dirty! Try one of them out and see how it works for you. You’ll only get your business organized if YOU take action – all the learning in the world won’t do it for you. ?
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