Online tools can help unleash your business superpowers, but when you are starting out – or even if you’re kind of new to tools – it can be hard to know where to begin and what tools might be right for you and your business.
This is something I see many of my clients struggling with, but *disclaimer!* I am a TOOL JUNKIE! So I thought I would take some time to write out a quick guide to give other vegan entrepreneurs insight into the best tools I have found. These are tools that I use in my business, and some that I frequently recommend to my clients. Like I said earlier, I’m a tool junkie, and I’m always on the lookout for a great new business tool, so if I find a new goodie, I will definitely update this page.
This list is created with the small business owner in mind. As a result, I have chosen tools that provide a big bang for the cost, or that offer some type of free-to-paid option so you can grow into them. Keep in mind, I don’t recommend getting EVERY tool on this list. Depending on the stage of your business, you might need only a few of them. So, to get started, find the biggest pain point in your business, and see if one of the tools below can help you fix it.
Note: I’m a big fan of spreading the love, so I include affiliate links for anything I recommend. That means in some cases, I will receive a commission if you decide to sign up for a service. This helps me to cover the cost of the free services we offer at Vegan Mainstream, but be assured, I only recommend things I use and love.
File Sharing: Dropbox
BENEFITS: Easy to share large files with anyone, organize your files across multiple devices (e.g. phone, desktop and laptop)
Invoicing: Due, Harvest or WaveApp
BENEFITS: It’s time to get professional…no more email attachment word invoices. Send digital trackable invoices to clients with your logo, reminders and the ability to track due dates.
Credit Card Processing: Stripe (online) or Square (offline)
BENEFITS: Paypal isn’t bad, but these tools are just so much better. The major advantage they provide is allowing you to collect credit cards during events, and without customers leaving your website (online).
Client Relationship Management (CRM): Nimble, Insightly or Hatchbuck
BENEFITS: Build rapport with top clients and prospects. These tools provide the opportunity to turn marketing and sales into a conversation instead of a “buy now” request.
Email Marketing: Mailchimp
BENEFITS: I can’t get enough of the data and testing I can do with Mailchimp. It helps me complete head-to-head tests with different designs, offers and subject lines so I know what’s working in my business. I can see who opened my emails, and follow up with those who are most interested in my services.
Accounting: Wave App or Xero
BENEFITS: Get a handle on your finances by using an online tool to track all income and expenses in one place. Never let a month pass before you know if you are in the red or black. The best part is Wave is FREE.
Password Management: 1 Password
BENEFITS: So you can stop using your pet’s name as your password.
Ticketing Systems: Tickera or Event Expresso
BENEFITS: If you sell tickets for cooking classes, events or training sessions, it’s great to have software that can do it all for you, from sending confirmation emails and making printable tickets to a check-in mobile app, setting venue limits, and more.
Web Hosting: Liquid Web
BENEFITS:→ It’s all about the customer service. If you have trouble, they help you. So you never feel alone and don’t need to be a coder to get your site up and running.
Domain Registrar: Namescheap
BENEFITS: You can buy your domains anywhere; however, I really like how easy it is to order, reorder and get help when you need it with Namescheap. Also, they charge very moderate renewal fees for domains.
Listing Building: LeadPages
BENEFITS: This tool is truly an investment, so only use it when you have a handle on your lead generation process. But if you can afford it (and create a killer implementation strategy) LeadPages will blow your mind (helping build the list you thought you would only ever dream of)
Social Media Management: Buffer or Sprout Social
BENEFITS: NEEDS CONTENT
eCommerce: BigCommerce or Shopify
BENEFITS: Pretty and functional, these tools provide the best ways I have found to sell products online. Both are easy for customers to use, and will not only make your products look beautiful, but help customers enjoy the experience of buying them from you.
Screen Recordings: ScreenFlow
BENEFITS:Perfect if you do a lot of training videos where you need to record your computer screen with a voiceover.
Native App: Good Barber
BENEFITS: Do you wish you had an App for your business?This tool makes it easy to set up your own mobile app without hiring a coder or dealing with all that technical stuff.
BENEFITS:You know those ads that follow you after you’ve left a website? This is the tool that will let you do that, and stay top of mind for customer who have recently visited your website.
Mailmuch – List Building
Cart66 – eCommerce
Google – Google Analytics
Need help determining which of these tools is right for you? Or want help adding one to your business process? Book a 1-1 consult with me, so I can help you get set up with tools that make sense for your business. Click below to find a time that works for us both!