Kim’s Tried and Trusted Tools for Small Businesses
My friend, I care about you and your business’ success. I truly do. Unfortunately, I have seen too many entrepreneurs go hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt purchasing tools and courses they didn’t need. I don’t want this to happen to you.
Through my work in my own business, as well as in my work with 6-7 figure business and life coaches, I have learned thich products I absolutely LOVE (and which I don’t). Let’s not talk about the don’ts, lol.
I am honored to share below the list of my favorite business tools. I have personally used — or am currently using — all that are listed, and I wouldn’t include them if I didn’t know, like and trust them.
Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, and I may earn commission if you purchase through an affiliate link. You are not charged more for these purchases, but the commission I am paid allows me to share additional resources and freebies (like this) in the future.
Marketing Tools for Small Businesses
Keap (formerly Infusionsoft™)
So much of my business runs within Keap, from my email marketing to my podcast flow, my membership site permissions to my payment processing for all my digital products. If you’re wondering if Keap is the best product for you and your business, please contact me. As a marketing automation expert, I work with clients day-in and day-out to choose the products which best fit their business.
Leadpages is one of the simplest tools I have worked with when it comes to setting up sales, landing and thank you pages. Their templates are tried and tested, the integration with Keap is relatively painless, and the statistics are extremely easy to read and understand.
Sign up for Leadpages HERE.
PlusThis is the #1 must-have tool I recommend for all of my Keap clients, and I use it in my business as well.
Some of my favorite features of PlusThis are:
- Seamless GoToWebinar and Zoom webinar registrations when using a custom landing page
- Add people who opt-in for an offer to a custom Facebook audience
- Smart Links – direct people to a certain page depending on how they answer a question on a web form (or what tags they have)
- Countdown timers on web pages and emails
- Offer one-click upsells (which is otherwise somewhat difficult to set up within Keap)
Click HERE to try PlusThis for free.
Simply put, MeetEdgar saves my team and I DOZENS of hours every month. Unlike other social media tools, with Meet Edgar you can load your library with content once and (as long as you pay your bill) it will continue recycling your content FOREVER. If you have a blog, podcast, or lead magnets, this is especially amazing. Load your evergreen messages for Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn, set your schedule and… there you go!
Note: When you add new messages for a blog or podcast episode you will want to make sure to shuffle your content or the newest posts will go out back-to-back.
Click HERE to try MeetEdgar for free!
While I LOVE MeetEdgar for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, Tailwind helps my team and I out with Pinterest and Instagram. Rather than having to pin to Pinterest in real time or get numb fingers punching long Instagram captions in our phones, Tailwind GREATLY simplifies the process for both!
- Recommended schedule: Tailwind tells me the best times to post based on my audience’s engagement.
- Pinterest scheduling, weeks in advance! I can spend a couple hours on a Saturday perusing the internet, and by the time I’m done I have a week or two of pins scheduled and ready to go. I’ve already set the board the pin will be pinned to, and the website has been verified.
- Instagram posts made easy! While I post all the life images myself (using Tailwind), my team helps me out by creating the quote graphics and adding them to Tailwind. After the photos or graphics are added, I go in, add the caption (on my computer!), and schedule the post. While I could use Tailwind’s hashtag helper, I prefer to add my own list as the first comment after the image posts, so I do not use that feature.
Sign up for Tailwind HERE.
Podcasting Tools for Small Businesses
I use Libsyn to host my podcast, and they make every single step of the set-up and release process EXTREMELY easy. With one simple click, my podcast is automatically released to iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, iHeart Radio, Google Play, Amazon and more! While this does take a tiny bit of initial set-up, it is well worth it!
Learn more about Libsyn HERE.
When I launched the Positive Productivity Podcast, I knew I wanted an easy way for people to listen to episodes on my site with a player that looked good. The moment I found Smart Podcast Player (created by Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income), I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. All I had to do to show the most recent episodes on the Podcast page was add a shortcode ONCE. And to display the player on individual episode pages, again, all it takes is a shortcode.
Design Tools for Small Businesses
I have a design background and constantly have Adobe Illustrator and/or Photoshop open on my computer however… Canva is constantly open on my browser. To me, it’s God’s gift to easy and great design.
My team uses Canva to create all our podcast and blog graphics, and I use it almost exclusively to create slides and lead magnets.
The Pro account provides much more capabilities than the free, and for only a nominal monthly fee, this is one expense I would never consider cutting from my budget.
Try Canva HERE.
I get tired of seeing the same (free) stock images all over social media, however I also don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to purchase royalty images.
Shutterstock is an affordable option for purchasing royalty-free images.
My plan allows me 10 downloads a month (yes, images I have downloaded in the past can be downloaded again), and, most months, I have no problem finding 10 images I need/want for myself or my clients.
Try Shutterstock HERE.
Finance/Bookkeeping Tools for Small Businesses
My team and I use Harvest to invoice and track time for clients who are not on a regular, recurring monthly plan. While I had previously used a different invoicing software, I switched to Harvest because it allowed me to invoice clients for a retainer up front, and then track hours against their retainer.
While Harvest is not as robust as Quickbooks (at least not how I am currently using it), and doesn’t provide P&L reports or track my business expenses, it makes the invoicing process so extremely easy that I can’t NOT use it.
Get $10 off your first month when you use my link HERE.
[UPDATED 9/2/19] While we have been loyal Harvest users for several years now, the need for streamlined accounting rears its head every year at tax time. 2018 was the first year we had all expenses automatically pulled from our accounts into a proper accounting system (Quickbooks), and, boy, did it pay off!
We are now in the process of moving all our invoicing to QuickBooks as well, and look forward to having all money-related-activities under one single platform.
What we love about QuickBooks:
- You can set rules for transactions so that every time a similar transaction comes in, it is automatically approved.
- We can issue retainers to clients, and then use the built-in team tracker, team-wide, to track time against the retainer.
- Our (remote) accountant can log-in and verify all transactions.
- It’s not a discombobulated (and very confusing) Google sheet that nobody understands except Kim.
- Reports, reports, reports! We can see everything we want — as soon as we figure out what that is!q
Save 50% on Quickbooks when you use my link HERE.
Website Tools for Small Businesses
After more than a few issues with my previous web hosting service, I moved all my sites to WPEngine hosting. The migration was fast and painless, and the comfort of knowing my sites are constantly protected and regularly backed-up — without any additional purchases or subscriptions — makes the slight increase in hosting fees 10000% worth it.
Learn more about WPEngine’s hosting services HERE.
I am not shy to admit that Divi is my preferred WordPress theme. I use it for all my company websites, and for ease of use recommend all my clients use it too. But this is just one of MANY themes Elegant Themes offers to their subscribers. Coupled with numerous plug-ins and other features, I strongly recommend their services to any web developer — novice to expert!
Learn more about Elegant Themes HERE.
Since the early days of my business, it has been important to me for me to build all my business assets on my own website.
Because I don’t want the company I am entrusting with my content to suddenly go bankrupt, leaving all my clients and customers in the lurch. (Pessimist? Maybe. Realist? I’ve seen it happen.)
When I found out AccessAlly would allow me to build a gamified course delivery system as well as an affiliate center with a dashboard AND it integrated with Keap, I said, “I’m in!”
Don’t be fooled by what other Learning Management Systems tell/sell you. Gamification is important, and if you want your students to make it through your programs, see results AND provide testimonials, YOU need to hold them accountable!
Learn about all the features of AccessAlly HERE.
Productivity Tools for Small Businesses
I have gone through multiple project management tools since starting my business, however when I found Teamwork, I was in love. It offers so many ways to streamline work into one single platform, which is a relief considering it’s not difficult for me to have 30+ browser tabs open at any single moment.
Please note: My plan allows for more than 2 projects, which I highly recommend if you work with multiple clients and/or on multiple internal projects at a time. You have the option to add specific people to each project, and the files/tasks in one project are private to the users in that project.
What we love about Teamwork:
- Built in chat for easy communication between team members
- File storage keeps us from using our inboxes as file storage
- Link (URL) lists keep clients from searching high and low for resources we mention
- Task lists can have subtasks, dependencies, recurring instances and more without paying for additional features
- Sooooo much more that we haven’t even explored yet!
- Project-based time tracking can be linked to associated project in Harvest. We will investigate linking to QuickBooks when that migration is complete.
Get a month of Teamwork FREE when you click HERE.