There are so many programs and apps available to help you run your online business that it can be confusing to decide what you actually need and what you don’t. Ideally, you should put a system in place that can grow with you and doesn’t cost you a small fortune. Check out this list to learn what you should have in your tech stack when you first start your business.
A note taking app, like Evernote, is a great tool to use to help you organize your thoughts and keep track of meeting notes. But you can use it for more than taking notes. You can use it to save information you find online to review later. You can also use it to create a “swipe file” of ideas for topics you want to discuss in blog posts or videos, design elements you want to place on your website, and specific wording you liked in emails and sales pages so you can refer to them in your own projects later.
It’s important to have a way to track all of your email communication with your clients, but when your inbox is full, it’s easy for things to get lost along the way. A customer relationship management (CRM) system eliminates this problem completely.
Not only does it keep track of all email communication between you and your clients, most systems also allow clients to book time on your calendar and let you set up workflows to automate portions of your onboarding, billing, and offboarding process. For example, you can set up a workflow that automatically sends your client the contract and first invoice once he or she accepts your proposal, which is a necessity for freelancers. This way you don’t have to manually do this with every client you sign.
Cloud-hosted storage is an essential part of any business tech stack. After all, you need a place to store your work, the content you create, photos, and videos for your business. Google Drive gives you free cloud-hosted storage and it also allows you to create documents, spreadsheets, and slides, which you can share with your clients, contractors, and/or employees with a few clicks of a button.
Keep in mind, the more cloud storage you need, the more money you spend. So instead of storing everything in your Google Drive, consider adding a second cloud-hosted storage option to the mix. Use a service, like Dropbox, to store photos, videos, and other documents that you don’t need to access on a regular basis.
Project Management Software
Project management software makes it easy for you, your clients, your team members, and contractors to see exactly what needs to be completed on each active project you have. There are several options available, like Asana, Trello, Monday, and Airtable, and you should choose the option that fits your business needs the best. If you’re a more visual person, Trello may be a good fit. If you prefer checklists, Asana is a good option. Airtable combines both visual and checklists formats so you can choose how you want to use the software.
Ultimately, the apps and SaaS programs you choose to integrate into your business should always add value to your process. Adding too many options tends to complicate things, so you want to keep your tech stack as simple as possible. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider making a list of all of the tasks you complete daily and different files you need to store for your business. Then choose the software that makes those processes easier.