Part III: Business Tools

“Better, Faster, and more Functional”

This is your business and keeping yourself organized and efficient will make it all run more smoothly, from where ever you are.

You may already have apps, systems, or software that you like to use, by all means continue with what works! I am going to share our tools for success.

 

 

Budgeting:

YNAB (You Need a Budget) Our award-winning budget interface helps you get off the financial roller coaster. Break account balances into meaningful categories, save for longer-term goals, and quickly determine if that impulse purchase will affect your finances adversely now and down the road.

I personally use YNAB and love it! Highly recommended.

Mint.com Get a handle on your finances the free and fast way. Mint does all the work of organizing and categorizing your spending for you. See where every dime goes and make money decisions you feel good about.

 

Calendars:

Google Calendar is a great online application for tracking your meetings, phone calls, posting deadlines and all other appointments. It has features like being able to send alerts, share events with others and create a recurring series.

Personally I use the shared events a lot. I make my meetings with advertisers on Google Calendar and invite them. Then it also gets added to my personal iCal.

iCal  in Mac OS X provides the tools you need to keep track of your schedules, appointments, birthdays, reminders, and other important events. Learn how to set up various events in iCal, subscribe to other people’s calendars, and set up your iCloud account in iCal.

Personally my work and personal life, the schedules of my children, husband and our family would come to a standstill without iCal, our whole family loves it. The most useful is having color coded calendars for different categories like Moms for Moms, versus kids afterschool schedules, to Mike’s work, etc. Then you can subcribe to other family members’ calendars to see how they overlap with yours (very helpful for kids activities!)

 

Client Management System: **Janine’s TOP PICK! And its FREE!

Highrise: Being well prepared makes a huge impression. Knowing when you last spoke with someone, and what you discussed, makes a big difference. Highrise prepares you to do business. *See screen shot where to click for FREE account, its in the small print 🙂

After a year of being in business I was going crazy trying to keep all my emails, contracts, notes and phone calls straight for my advertisers and community contacts. I tried file folders and binders for contracts, folders inside my email account to save emails and a notebook to write down conversations, and iCal to schedule my posts but my information was all over the place! Highrise has been amazing for me to organize every piece for each contact all in one easy place. I highly recommend it! Highrise is FREE for up to 2 users (perfect for yourself and if you hire a Sales Manager) for up to 250 contacts, that’s a lot!)

highrise signup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit Card merchant accounts enable businesses of any size to accept credit cards.

Paysimple. Join thousands of small businesses using PaySimple to collect payments anywhere, send invoices in seconds, and manage customers effortlessly — all easily in one award-winning software.

I have been using PaySimple since January of 2011 and the feature I love most is recurring billing, it saves me so much time and I don’t have to think about what needs to be charged each month. I also love the reports feature. It does have a $35-40 monthly flat rate plus other fees, so its not cheap…

PayPal Like most credit card processors, we charge a fixed percentage and a transaction fee on every sale. What makes PayPal different is that there are no extra fees for setup, downgrades, statements, withdrawals, or cancellation. Those hidden fees can really add up.

Intuit Online Terminal accepts all major credit and debit cards, processes payments easily from any web browser, has low monthly fees, cancel anytime, and FREE USB reader plugs into your computer

 

File Organization!

The secret weapon. Those who can find their files first win! Having a file organization structure is so important to staying sane and efficient I am covering it first. Please do not move on to exploring the other apps until you have cleaned up and planed out your file system.

Lifehacker offers a quick tutorial and tips on getting your computer files organized!

Here is a screen shot of my “Moms for Moms” Folder –> “Advertisers” –> “Advertisers_Active” –> CCAH –> all the CCAH files. 

Snap 2014-12-15 at 13.32.33

 

File Storage:

Ok, so now your files are organized, but where are you storing them?

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again!

 

Flyers – Digital & Online!

Smore – Design beautiful online flyer and publish instantly. Smore helps you design flyer you will be proud to share. (This app is in beta at the time of this posting.) I created my car For Sale flyer and its amazing and super fun. As hyper-local communities with our members walking around our towns in person, I still recommend posting real flyers all around town, but I also recommend sharing your flyer online to spread the word even further.

Printing:

Vista Print is an online supplier of printed and promotional material as well as marketing services to micro businesses and consumers. Create and customize affordable marketing materials for your business…business cards, websites, postcards, banners and more.

I have been using vista print since March 2010 for printing business cards, banners, hats and other items. They usually ship quickly and the system is easy to use. You can use Vista Print by uploading your logo and the branded templates provided by MfMC and use them for printing, as well as designing your own logoed swag like totes!

Rolodex:

CardMunch Take a picture with the app on your iPhone and a business card is converted to a contact automatically. It will also show you LinkedIn profile information and connections you have in common.

I LOVE CardMunch! I had a gigantic stack of business cards and could never find the one I wanted, and the cards just sat there, I never entered them all into my phone. Well here is your brillant answer! Take a photo of the business card and the program uploads the image and all the info and transfers it into your contacts. Then you can search by business name if you can’t remember their name! Brillant!

 

Screen Capture Tools

Taking snapshots, screen shots and full window shots are a very effective and powerful way to show what your site can do. Its also a very handy tool to document campaigns you have run on your site.

Grab for Mac is easy to use, but it doesn’t allow for full window capture below what is visible on the screen. Grab defaults to .tiff when saving, and our Ning sites don’t accept .tiff so I always have to open the .tiff image and export or save as a .jpeg to convert it, then upload.

Duck Link is a free download that allows lots of options for screen capture, including the full page. I keep it on my app toolbar for easy access.

If you use Google Chrome for your Internet browser I love their screen capture app that you can add to your menu bar. This app saves images directly to .jpeg which we can upload straight away to our sites – easy peasy! And once your image is captured the simple tool bar lets you circle, point and highlight parts of the image.

Social Media:

Buffer. “The easiest way to publish on social media.” Surfing the web and come across an awesome article you want to share? Think of a good question you want to add your Facebook audience? Don’t let all these articles and thoughts get away!

Buffer is a queue of status updates or articles that you want to send out to all of your social media accounts but that don’t need a specific time stamp. It’s like a publishing lineup of things you come across or think of that you want to share.

1. Sign up for free at Buffer by logging on with your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account and accept permissions to use one of the social networks with Buffer. Click the icons to add additional social media accounts.

2. BufferApp offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari so you can add posts to your Buffer from any web page.

To Do List:

Toodledoo. Having a single place where all your tasks are permanently stored and easily accessible will allow you to relax, knowing that you won’t forget anything.

Personally I love the priority feature and being able to sort to-dos by category – but that’s my over organized side speaking again!

 

Ah-ha Moment?

Please share what apps and software you use in the Comments. I want to keep adding to this business tools list so it becomes a resource for us all.

 

Next Step:

Conclusion Module 2: Set Up!

Leave A Reply (8 comments so far)

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  1. MelissaUtley

    Thanks for all the resources! Some of these I have not heard of before so I will definitely delve more into these as I take over KMfM and find out what my needs are. When Andrea and I meet this week I will ask her about what apps and programs have worked best for her.

    Instead of Dropbox I use OneDrive.


  2. LauraMeyer

    Wow! There are so many great resources here, thank you for making it so easy to access.

    Janine Reply:

    These have all been so helpful to me over the years. As a RFV Owner you will be added to the shared Highrise account for Client Management. Please remind Kelly to give you a tour of how the Owners use it, it is a vital communication tool. You’ll learn more details in the Revenue Module as well. You will be added as a User and Kelly removed, I’m no longer on the account so we’ll have to work together to make the transition…


  3. VirginiaEdelson

    Thanks! I also use Evernote (note taking/management) and Square (credit card processing). I use quickbooks for accounting.


  4. IaFaraoni

    I love iCal in Mac… I have used Paypal Merchant account before but switched to Intuit with my other business… I like the Intuit Payment account and easy that it links into my Quickbooks Online and i can take payments using my phone with the GoPayment app and easy to import into my Quickbooks…


  5. AndreaOwens

    I have a file box for papers. I use pay pal for invoicing and do a monthly word doc. to keep track of when to take down an ad, who has paid, etc.


  6. SiennaSolberg

    I tried highrise… but it’s telling me I have to pay and only giving me options for three 6 user + plans. Any suggestions?

    Janine Reply:

    Hi Sienna, They use really small print under the 3 main payment choices, making it hard to find! I took a screen shot and uploaded it here in the lesson so everyone can see. Click the link to Highrise again and sign up 🙂