As the lighter night’s approach, you might be feeling energised and have decided that THIS month will be the month you will give your business a spring clean!
I’m here to help. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you 5 FREE tools that will help you to organise your business and run your business more smoothly.
I use all of these tools in my own business, as well as my clients’ businesses so I can certainly vouch for their usefulness.
These tools will help with your organisation, social media and email marketing – 3 key aspects of a successful business!
So, let’s get started…
Trello is a simple project management tool you can use to:
- Organise your ideas and projects
- Create checklists
- Assign tasks to members of your team
- Set deadlines
It’s a free tool, although there is a paid plan available but, as a small business the free version should be fine.
What can you use Trello for?
Any project or task you have to complete, whether it be at work or home!
For example, if you’re moving house you could use Trello to list all of the jobs you need to do:
a) before you move
b) on moving day, and
c) after the move
You can organise and delegate each task to be done.
I use Trello to keep track of my monthly marketing tasks, client projects, changes I need to make to my website, etc.
How does Trello work?
Think of Trello as a noticeboard with post-it notes stuck to it to remind you what you need to do.
Now, imagine you could dive into those post-it notes and grab everything you could ever need to complete that task.
That’s basically what Trello is.
This is how it is laid out:
Boards | This is your noticeboard – you can have up to 10 noticeboards per Workspace on the free version.
You can use one board for lots of projects – for example, my ‘business’ board contains a List (see below) for: 2022 Goals, Monthly Marketing Tasks, Monthly Admin Tasks, New Website Updates, Completed Tasks and Useful Links & Info
Lists | This is a column on your Board – you could have different Lists for different clients, or team members, or projects – how you organise your Board and Lists is entirely up to you!
Cards | These are your post-it notes. You can name Cards, add Checklists, delegate tasks, attach images and documents, set deadlines, add notes and comments, and more!
You can also invite people to your board so if you’re working on a project with more than one person, you all have access to the same information and can tag each other within the board!
Trello integrates with hundreds of third-party apps that they call Power Ups, like Google Drive, Microsoft Teams and Slack so you can literally access everything you need right from within the one app!
Oh Canva, how did small businesses cope before Canva!?
Whilst there is a free version of Canva which allows you to create fab social media posts, flyers, posters, invitations, certificates…the list goes on., I have to say that the Pro version is an absolute game-changer and let me tell you why:
- Stock Images – the amount of time I save by not having to search around for decent free stock images alone is worth the annual price of Canva Pro!
- Brand Kits – add your brand colours, fonts and logos to your Brand Kits and easily apply these to your templates.
- Background Image Remover Tool – this is so useful for social media posts and use on your websites.
- Magic Resize Tool – quickly and easily resize your templates so they fit perfectly across your social media platforms (see my previous blog post for the importance of correct image sizing on social media!)
- Social Media Scheduler – now, I haven’t used this myself so I can’t comment on it just yet but knowing how impressive Canva tools have been so far, I have a feeling this could be epic.
What can you use Canva for?
Social media posts
Flyers and posters
How does Canva work?
Canva is very user friendly although I would always recommend using it on a desktop rather than on your phone as it can get a little fiddly on a smaller screen.
All you need to do is create a free account and click on Create a design.
A list will appear for you to choose from or you can enter your own dimensions.
Whichever type of design you choose, it’ll open as a blank design and on the left hand menu you’ll see a range of options.
Templates is a place to start – search for whatever it is you need, e.g. testimonials, infographic, this or that and you’ll see a list (big list if you have the Pro version) of templates you can select. Then, just replace the text, add your colours and away you go!
You can even share designs with colleagues, clients and friends and the template will appear in their account.
3) Google Drive
On 31st March it is World Back Up Day and a great way to back up is by taking all of those files stored on your laptop or computer, and pop them on to an online drive.
The biggest advantage of storing files on the cloud is that they are available anytime, anywhere. So, if you spill coffee over your computer or you accidentally drop your laptop down the stairs, you can still access your files using a different device.
Google Drive allows up to 15 GB of storage for free.
What can you use Google Drive for?
Storing and sharing documents, photos, audio, and videos.
One of my favourite features of Google Drive is its integration with the Google Suite – Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. If you can use Microsoft Office, you can use Google Suite.
How does Google Drive work?
First, you need to create a free Google account – this will also give you Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Meet and Photos.
Once you’re in Google Drive, you can upload all the files you have currently stored on your laptop or desktop computer. Simply click on the + NEW button and select the files or folders you want to upload.
You can also share files with other people, and create links to files which is really useful when you have a lead magnet that you want people to be able to download (more about that in the next section).
If you’re anything like me, growing your mailing list is something that just gets put to the bottom of the neverending list of jobs to do within your business.
But, nurturing relationships through email marketing is not something to be ignored. And it isn’t super difficult. Especially with a free email marketing platform like Mailerlite.
Even if you don’t have a mailing list, get Mailerlite set up and start encouraging people to join your mailing list through your socials. Trust me, it works.
What can you use Mailerlite for?
Keeping in touch with your audience so you stay fresh in their minds.
Announcing news about your business.
Nurturing the relationship by sending them valuable content.
Promoting new products, services, courses, memberships, etc.
How does Mailerlite work?
Ok, being honest here. Mailerlite is going to take you the longest time to set up out of all of my 5 favourite free tools mentioned in this blog post.
But, if you can set aside a few hours to do this (or hire me to do it for you), it pretty much runs itself.
You’ll need to set up an account first – the free account allows you to have up to 1,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails a month. If you want to send more than that, you’ll have to pay.
Once you’ve got your account, I’d recommend doing the following:
- Creating a branded email campaign template
- Importing and organising your contacts (if you have any already)
- Setting up your lead magnet and sign up form
- Creating an automation for your lead magnet
And then, once you’ve started it is vital to keep an eye on the performance of your email campaigns so you can tweak them where necessary!
If all that sounds a little complicated, don’t worry. I am currently creating a Mailerlite for Beginners Course where I will talk you through each step and show you exactly how to do it. Click here if you’d like to go on the VIP list to find out more about when this course is launching.
I know I harp on about this a lot but I really feel that if you’re putting time and energy into your social media, and any marketing activity, that you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t track its performance.
I have created this super simple social media insights tracker which allows you to keep track of how your social media platforms are performing.
Why do you need this?
Think about it, you’ve spent 2 hours a week coming up with and posting social media content for the last month.
Was it worth it?
How do you know if you’re not checking your insights?
You may just have wasted 8 hours of the month that could have been spent doing something productive for your business.
At the end of each month, I fill in this tracker and I can see at a glance the areas I need to work on across all the social media platforms I post on.
What have you got to lose? Download your free copy here.
(This will also show you what I mean by linking your lead magnet and sign up form to Mailerlite – click on the link above and follow the process. You can easily set this up for your own business.)
There you have it, 5 FREE online tools to help you organise your business this Spring!
To chat about how I can help you with any of this, book in a free 30 Minute Discovery Call here.