Running a small business is a whole lot more work than when you initially come up with your business plan. Thankfully, there are some other small businesses that are now much larger businesses that have created tools to help you with your business! Below are some of the tools that we feel are some really important ones to help you with your business. Some of these are software and apps that we ourselves use and some are ones that we have been recommended by other professional friends.
1. Client Management Software
You’ve got clients coming in that you are ready to serve, but tracking invoices, contracts and communication can become overwhelming when you go from 10 clients to 35 clients and then 70 and more. The more success you have the more there is to manage. There are some awesome client management software options out there, several even geared towards photographers. Our personal favorite is Dubsado (Save 20% with code – ivorydoor). A few other popular options that you can look at include Tave, Honeybook, Studio Ninja, Iris Works, ShootQ, ShootFlow, Sprout, Pixifi, 17 Hats.
In our society, launching a business without a solid website makes it very difficult to be taken as a legitimate company. Surprisingly, launching a professional website is both affordable and relatively easy to do. We use Showit for all of our websites. A few others that we recommend considering are Squarespace, WordPress, and Good Gallery.
3. Cloud Storage
Perhaps this differs on what line of business you are in but backing up all of your business files is a really smart idea. You don’t know when something is going to happen to a harddrive and it can be thousands of dollars to have the files attempted to be retrieved, and that doesn’t even guarantee you will get them back. So for a bit of peace of mind and assurance we recommend looking at Carbonite or Backblaze.
4. Video Conferences
Working with clients who are not within driving distance but want to have a face to face meeting? You’ve got this! Check out Zoom for an easy breezy conference call. This is especially a great option if you have multiple people in different locations.
5. Social Media Management Software
Nowadays running a business means being a full time social media manager as well. If you do not have employees to help you with this, don’t worry, you’re not alone! This was why social media management software options were created. A few of the most popular options are Buffer, HootSuite, Tailwind, Later, Meet Edger, Planoly. Most of these companies will have free trial options, so jump in and take them for a test drive & see what works best for you!
6. Business Phone Number
Don’t worry, you aren’t going to have to go buy a second phone! We absolutely love Google Voice. Not only is it easy to use, y’all… it’s free! You will be able to have a second number that is exclusive to your business and will ring through to your private cell phone through an app. You can receive texts, calls, and voicemails easily with clients and prospects.
7. Staff Communication
If you have enough people working together, it may be worth it to look into a group chat communication platform such as Slack. It’s a simple interface and will keep everyone connected without sending tons of emails and texts back and forth. Asana and EverNote another great communication platform allowing clients to track and work on projects and assignments together.
8. Accounting Software
Snooooooze. Knowing your numbers is pretty much one of the most important things about running a successful small business. But, let’s be honest, sometimes that’s a bit boring. So keep it simple and get some software such as Quickbooks to keep track of your finances. Bonus? Your accountant will be thrilled!
9. Email Marketing
Keep in contact with your past, present and future clients through email newsletters. Your clients will want to be a part of your email list for first access to limited edition sessions and be the first to hear about discounts and sales. There are a ton of options out there, some are geared towards larger companies and some smaller. Two of the most popular ones are MailChimp and Constant Contact.
10. Mileage & Expense Tracking Apps
Tracking things such as your expenses and mileage will help you when you compile your annual taxes for your business. With today’s technology, this is easier than ever! Two popular expense apps are Expensify and Shoeboxed. And MileIQ can keep track of the miles you travel for work.