5 Must Have Free Business Tools
There are endless programs, services, apps, hacks, widgets to provide solutions to streamline communication, organize files, collaborate with clients or co-workers, and create your own social images.
With so many options, how do you decide which tools to implement? Here is a list of five of my favorite FREE business tools I couldn't live without.
I have Dropbox installed on every device I own.
One of my clients is a real estate agency and their independent brokers. By utilizing Dropbox's file hosting software, I work closely with the firm's photographer who allows me access to their listing photos. This streamlines the process of updating the company's website and social media accounts.
I especially like Dropbox for photography purposes. There is nothing (slight exaggeration) that drives me crazier than a beautiful photo you can't use because the photo has been resized for email but is now too small to use online. Dropbox allows me access to the large, beautiful images that I can optimize for web without degrading the image quality.
*Note: Dropbox is free, but I highly recommend paying to upgrade storage. Especially if you're working with photographers, graphic designers, or anyone sending large files.
There aren't enough wonderful things to say about Trello.
Trello is one of the greatest collaboration tools out there. In a previous marketing job, I used Trello to communicate, collaborate, and share files with the company's graphic design firm. We both enjoyed the software so much that the graphic designer began to use it with her other clients!
If I was looking for a file I couldn't find, needed an advertisement or marketing piece fro a previous year updated, or creating material; I would create a Trello board for the designer and we could discuss each topic separately and assign priority. Trello increased our productivity and reduced unnecessary back-and-forth communication.
In a team format, you can create boards for different projects, assign tasks to team members, and even have a personal board for yourself to keep your projects & tasks organized. Like I said before, there aren't enough great things to say about Trello.
Scheduling meetings used to be the bane of my existence. I have used a lot of choice words in the past when trying to schedule a meeting only to find out a co-worker's calendar isn't up to date or the endless back and forth emails of "Whatever works best for you." Which isn't just annoying, it is a waste of time (but I'll save my email etiquette suggestions for another blog post).
Enter Doodle. This headache saving website allows you to create a poll with multiple times and dates for your business (or social) occasion. Doodle provides the creator of the poll with a link to share via email, text, social media, carrier pigeon, the rooftop, ect. allowing your participants to select the various options that work for their schedule.
I once was a social media manager for three Facebook pages, two Twitter profiles, and two Instagram accounts for one organization, this was in addition to copywriting, email marketing, running the company's donation program, blogging, web maintenance, and more. When it came to the week's priorities, going out and taking pictures for Instagram was low on my list.
When I finally, and very late to the game, stumbled upon Repost for Instagram I was thrilled. I was able to share user generated content promoting the company while also fostering relationships with our engaged Instagram users. Not only did this app take a large weight off of my shoulders, it also allowed me to interact with our fans who were thrilled to have their images featured, with credit of course, on our Instagram page. To say it was a win-win is an understatement.
Repost for Instagram app is available for FREE for both Apple and Android users.
I love Adobe Spark. I sing this praise for this software loud and proud to anyone who will listen to me. When I found this program, the one-sided love affair that ensued increased my productivity, creativity, and passion,
I cannot say, scream, or sing this enough...it is challenging to constantly be creating content for social media. There is a reason why people are specifically hired to perform this task and there is a reason why successful social media managers have calendars and schedules for their posts (more on that in a different post).
There are many features to Adobe Spark, but by far my favorite, is the ability to quickly add text to a photo that can be resized for a variety of social platforms. Enter your text, select your picture, tweak the colors and typography and get to posting!
Do you use any of these FREE (or inexpensive) business tools? What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments or on social media.