There are literally thousands of tools and apps online that can simplify the way you run your business. I always say that great tools help you work ON your business and not IN your business. There is a huge distinction there, especially for small business owners. The last thing you want to do is spending your valuable time doing tasks that could be easily automated using a particular tool!
One thing I want to clarify though. It’s that all the tools in the world won’t make a difference in your business if you don’t already have a process and a solid strategy in place. Many think that tools are magical buttons that you can press to transform your business. I believe that the only role of tools is to save you dollars, time and improve what’s already working. I used hundreds of tools along the way, but only a handful were really business and life changing for me! And since I know that many of you would be interested knowing which tools I exactly use to run my business, I thought I write this post to help you uncover what tools are contributing to my business the most!
That being said, here is a list of tools I use to run my business!
Note: some of the links below are affiliate links. I only include them in tools that I’ve been using for a very long time and that I know can hugely benefit your business.
1- Tools I use to Run My Website
Since I started this blog in 2011, I’ve been using some of these tools to run it. It’s been a great journey so far and I’m really thankful for these companies because of the exceptional services they provide.
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the web!
It’s simply the most amazing content management system I have ever used, and the best thing about it is that it’s FREE!
As of March 2012, It powered 72.4 million websites online (I bet this number is way higher now). If you intend to start a website, then I can’t really recommend anything besides WordPress.org. It’s free, reliable, secure and I haven’t had to look at any other platform since I started using it!
One thing I should mention is that there is a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The first one allows you to host your website on WordPress servers for free, but your domain name will look like this: yourwebsite.wordpress.com. I don’t recommend this for businesses because you need to have a website on your own domain name, not on a third party one.
The option I recommend is WordPress.org, which is basically a software you can install on your own domain name + host so your website will look like this: yourwebsite.com. If you have a business or intend to start one, then use this option because it gives you more control over your website.
Bluehost is the company I use to host all of my websites. There are literally hundreds of hosting companies online, but I didn’t look back since I started using this company because of the exceptional service they provide. I found that their customer service is second to none and their platform is really reliable if you’re thinking of starting a website.
Bluehost is also one of the largest hosting companies on the web hosting almost 2 million domains. They offer many options including shared hosting, VPS hosting and dedicated server hosting. So whatever you’re looking for to host your website, you’re going to find it with Bluehost!
This is what I use to create all of my domain names. This company powers 3,000,000 domain names. Their dashboard is super easy to navigate and they offer many solutions including: affordable domain names, domain transfers, SSl certificates, FREE DNS…etc.
The theme I use on this website (called the Epik Theme) is provided by StudioPress. No matter what industry you’re in, you’re going to find professional themes that suit your business. All of their themes use the Genesis Framework which simply makes it very easy for business owners to build secure, mobile responsive and search engine optimized websites even if they’re not tech savvy!
E) Amazon S3
I use this service to host all of my training program‘s videos, audios, PDFs…etc. It’s not an option to host big media files like videos on your webhost’s servers because there is no way they’re going to outperform Amazon’s beefed up and super fast servers. If you’re using videos in your business and you want a super reliable and affordable hosting solution, then I recommend Amazon S3.
2- Social Media Marketing Tools
These are tools I use to help me promote my business using social media. I’ve used tons of tools in this category, but I only ended up with a handful!
If you’re not using Bufferapp to schedule your tweets, then you’re missing out a lot. This is the simplest and most powerful scheduling tool you can find online, and believe me when I say: I tried a LOT!
If you’re sharing any type of content on social media, then I recommend you use Bufferapp.
Hootsuite is basically a social media management platform. I’ve been using it for a long time to manage my social profiles as well as my clients’. This platform is really practical and will save you tons of time because it puts everything you need in one single tab. You can manage every activity on your social profiles without leaving your browser tab.
3- Tools I Use For Email Marketing
Email is crucial for your business growth. It’s less crowded, it converts better and it will help you get more customers and clients for your business!
A recent email marketing industry census by Econsultancy showed that email is the highest performing medium when it comes to ROI!
I’ve been using Aweber for years now. I use it to get leads for my business for a chance to convert them later into paying customers or clients. It has great features including the ability to create pre-scheduled autoresponder series, send broadcasts, setup automated blog broadcasts, create optin forms and popups in addition to other very useful features.
OptimizePress is a very powerful tool for creating sales pages, squeeze pages, launch funnels, landing pages, webinar registration pages, membership portals and pretty much any type of marketing pages your business might need. It’s what I use to create optin pages for my ebooks, videos, reports…etc. I also used it to create my latest membership training program.
This is basically a plugin for creating high converting popup optins. Many businesses don’t like to use popups because they believe they’re going to annoy their users. However, the ones PopUp Domination allows you to create are user friendly and you can customize them to appear at specific times, when a user tries to leave the page or when they click a link…etc. There are many other popup plugins in the market, but I really like the functionality this one provides. In addition to all of that, they constantly introduce new updates and themes for free that you can use to improve your lead generation efforts.
4- Membership Websites
I only started using membership websites recently when I created my training program “The Social profit Blueprint“. As I said before, I used OptimizePress for my membership website, but there is another cool plugin that I use to secure the content pages so only customers will be able to access them.
Digital Access Pass is one of the best plugins I have ever found. It is so sophisticated that I was blown away with the amount of features it provides compared to other competing software in the market. Also, I have never seen in my life an exceptional support like the one Ravi and Veena provide. Their platform offers hundreds of features including: a content dripping module, an email autoresponder, a shopping cart plugin, a built in affiliate module in addition to lots and lots of other super useful features.
5- Tools I Use for Client Work
This category is all about the tools I use to work with my awesome clients
If you’re providing any type of services to your clients, then this tool is a life-saver!
FreshBooks is simply a cloud-based accounting solution that is used by over 5 million small businesses. As I told you before, if you’re doing any client related work, then you need to be using FreshBooks!
TimeTrade is an appointment scheduling tool that will help you create new sales prospects and accelerate your services process. I mainly use it to automatically schedule either paid consultations or free strategy sessions for my prospects. If you’re providing any type of consulting online, then this tools will save you lots of time!
6- Payment Solutions
I’m sure that most of you are using PayPal already and I found that it’s the easiest, fastest and most secure way to pay and get paid online! No need to say more
If your business operates internationally or you have employees, service providers or freelancers working with you from all around the world, then Payoneer is a great solution to send or receive money. To be honest with you, it’s because I found this company years ago that I have this type of business today. While many other payment solution have restrictions when it comes to international users, Payoneer is probably the only company that removes all of those geographical borders.
So those were some of the tools that I believe my business can’t run without. If you’re using any other great tools, then make sure you include them in your comment below!
Image Credit: linusb4