The Top 7 Business Tools That I Use Every Single Day

There are a TON (and I mean a ton) of free or nearly free apps out there to help you run your small business. But, are they all created equal? No. Here are the top 7 business tools that I use every single day and that make my life easy-peasy.

Last year, we wrote a blog about 11 Amazing Free Business Tools to Run Your Business the Easy Way. Quite a few of the below business tools are listed there, but some are new!

  1. Nutcache

LOVE this app! While it isn’t completely free, it’s well worth every penny spent.

Nutcache is:

Time Tracker + Invoice & Expense + Project Management

ALL-IN-ONE!

Nutcache Project Management Screenshot

Seriously, all-in-one. It’s pretty amazing and I use it all the time. I use it as a Customer Relationship Management system also, but it’s not quite as robust on that front as other options like Insightly.

  1. Grammarly

I can’t even explain how much of a life-saver Grammarly is as a business tool. For a writer, it is my saving grace and helps me maintain my sanity on a daily basis.

Grammarly is a web-based grammar, spelling, and basic sentence structure checker. I typically write all of my content in Google Docs and then paste it into Grammarly for review. This includes client content projects.

  1. Google Drive | Google Docs

There isn’t much that needs to be said about Google Drive & Google Docs. My business lives on the cloud within this web-based tool. Literally, lives there.

If you’re not utilizing the wonders of Google Drive as one of your daily business tools, you’re doing it wrong.

  1. Canva

I’ve written love letters to Canva before, and my feelings have not changed.

This web-based graphic design app is literally heaven on screen. I use it for everything from social media imagery to postcards and website graphics. Plus, they have a huge library of design tutorials to help you learn and get started!

Canva Tutorial Screenshot

I personally use the free version currently, but will be updating to the Canva For Work paid version very soon. Stay tuned for a blog detailing the difference between the two!

Interested in Canva? Read our blog: What Does Canva Mean to a Small Business.

  1. Pinterest

Primo inspiration, baby!

Pinterest is a GOLD MINE for all kinds of inspiration. I personally use it to stash content ideas and continued learning opportunities. Honestly, with such a deep well of content on Pinterest, you’ll be hard-pressed to actually consume everything that you pin. But, here’s to trying, right?!

Feel free to follow Ink.e Digital on Pinterest OR Follow me to share my inspiration.

  1. Pixabay

This website is an amazing partner for Canva. Although Canva offers a ton of really great free photos with their free app, sometimes you just need a more professional looking option.Pixabay Screenshot

Pixabay is a royalty free photography site that happens to offer some really high-quality stock photos. Although I’m a compulsive graphic asset hoarder, I still use Pixabay just about every single day for my own brand or for a client.

  1. Day Planner

Everyone has their own preferred method of organization. Me? I’m a COMPULSIVE list-maker. Seriously, I make lists of lists on paper, whiteboard and in my day planner.

Instead of using a disposable day planner, I use the M by Staples ARC system planner. It’s a scalable planner that offers a variety of different insertable pages and page dividers. They come in lots of pretty colors and have page refills and expander ring for just about everything.

The initial investment is a little on the higher end for a day planner, but after the first year, it’s only a few bucks to replace your pages.

Well, there you have it! These are my top 7 business tools that I use every single day to keep my business strong and healthy.

Do you have a really great tool that helps you run your business?

Book Report: Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Change The Way You Work Forever with Rework.

Remember how we said that Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk was the first book you should ever read in business? Well, then Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is the workingman’s (and workingwoman’s) bible. Keep it under your pillow. We do.

This book should be read, and read often. If you ever doubt yourself in your life or career, just open this book to any page and be enlightened. Seriously. We’ve read it three times through.

This is our review and outline of what makes Rework unique, and downright essential to every working person out there in the world. Below are the top 5 things that we learned from this fantastic book.

Untitled design

1. Embrace the Real World

Embracing the real world starts with understanding that the real world doesn’t mean shit. Honestly, when people tell you that your idea wouldn’t work in the “real world,” try asking them what the hell the real world actually is. Because honestly, it doesn’t exist. Crazy awesome ideas can thrive in a world where we previously didn’t think it could. That is called the present.

Do things that make sense to you, and start small. You don’t have to be a multi-national conglomerate to have a say and make a difference. If your idea is good, go for it. Shoot for the moon and do your best.

Efficiency is key when it comes to harnessing something that no one thought was possible. You need to prove that it works, and prove that in the simplest way possible.

2. Give In To and Grow Your Legacy

Your legacy is not just you. It’s not just your company or your employees. Your legacy is what you do with the time and the resources that you’ve been given. Be the change that you want to see. It’s that simple.

Figure out what you want to do or what you want to see happen…and do it. Sell what you’re proud of, because if you’re not proud of it that will seep through, and your customers will pick up on it.

Stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything. (This particular quote has a ridiculous lineage that’s nearly impossible to follow. We love it, but we can’t credit it.)

If you believe in what you do, it won’t be hard to stand on your own two feet without a crutch. You don’t need it. Just keep things minimal until you can afford those extra goodies. Now, we understand that sometimes this idea doesn’t work for certain industries, but there are ways to keep it lean.

But always remember that no matter your business or industry, you should always develop and invest in a commitment strategy instead of an exit strategy. It makes more sense to stick around and keep on chuggin’ along rather than try to skip town the instant the outlook changes. Don’t ever start a business with the intention to jump ship and sell. Start it to make a difference.Start it to be the change you want to see. The change you NEED to see.

3. Do Things. Don’t Just Meet About Them

Meetings are ToxicMeetings are toxic. Anyone that has ever worked in any type of corporate environment has learned this the hard way.

If you think that a meeting will solve your problems, first take 5 minutes to sit down and think about what you’re trying to accomplish first. You have to think about the time you’re taking away from the attendees and how that will impact your business. A one-hour meeting is essentially worth 6 hours of lost productivity if six team members are involved.

If you really have to hold a meeting… Think about the constraints that you’re working within, and build a meeting outline. Start with a solid central idea and build from there without getting lost in the details.

Remember… (and we love this quote) You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole. So, if you can make due with what you’ve got, for now, do it. Sometimes “fine” is just right.

4. Decisions Are Progress

Sometimes you just need to make a decision. Whether that decision is right for the long run or not, its still progress and they’re just right for right now.

But, don’t make decisions because that would be what’s expected of you at this stage in your development. Screw expectations. Seriously, screw em’ because they don’t apply to you. Always make decisions based on your business needs and must-haves. If you find that you’d be much more efficient with the addition of a project management software program to the tune of $50/month, then go for it. But, if you think you should get that just to save face and make yourself look more professional and more legit…don’t do it.

Do what you need to do to be efficient and effective. Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes what large companies don’t understand is that you can make things work without throwing money at them. Trust in your people; they will always have the answers.

5. Focus on You, Not Them

Focus On YouYour business is for you, not for your competition. Who cares what they’re doing.

When you spend too much time trying to outdo your competition, you end up letting your brand (and your image) fall by the wayside.

If people spent half as much time developing their own brand as they do obsessing over their competition, we’d have a lot more character in the business world.

Spend that time focusing on what makes your business different or extraordinary, and you’ll never be disappointed.

In Conclusion…

The above five points are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can learn from this book. Honestly, our copy of Rework is dog-eared, highlighted, marked and tagged beyond recognition. Yours will be too. Get your copy of Rework here.
You’re welcome.