5 Must-Have Tools for Successful Entrepreneurs

During these bizarre times of COVID-19, I started looking at all the tools I use that help me be more successful (and productive), it really only boiled down to 5.

I thought it might be helpful to share them with you, especially because all these tools just happen to be tech tools. And a lot of us are now confined to working from home, with the exception of me, I’ve always worked from home since I own my own business. (And FYI – I’m a Mac person – former PC user.) And hopefully, you know some of these, if not all of them, and maybe even using some!

1) Evernote – This is THE tool I absolutely LOVE! I’ve been using this note-taking tool since 2010 and it’s totally changed my life.

Before 2010 –

Events – Whenever I’d attend events, I’d take notes in my notebook, and then it would go on a shelf, and I’d never look at it again.

Clients – The only notebook I kept on my desk, was my client notebook. And after I met with my client, those notes needed to be transcribed into to-do lists and then most often typed into my computer.

After 2010

I started implementing Evernote and it changed how I attended events AND, how I worked with my clients.

Events – I now always take my iPad with me and use it to take all my notes at events. I can also take photos of the slides at events and put them right into my notes. THEN, I can SHARE those notes with friends and colleagues. How cool is that?!

Clients – I create a notebook for each of my clients. And every meeting we have, I simply create a new note. In that notebook, I also create a note titled IMPT Tools/Links – that I put all the links and logins for that client that I need.

The best thing about this tool is that it syncs to ALL your devices. And it has an amazing search tool. I could go on, (I’m in their beta test group, that’s how much I love it!) and if you have questions, please reply, or send me an email and I can share more.

It really isn’t just a note-taking system. You can put graphics, share notes, insert photos, etc. I’m way more organized than ever with it in my toolbox. They have a no-cost and a paid version. I use the paid version and well worth it.

2) Slack – This is an awesome app, and a terrific way to keep all your client and employee/contractor communications organized and in one place. I’ve virtually stopped email. It was getting crazy.

Having a lot of clients, created a lot of emails that would then get lost. By implementing this ONE tool, I basically have cut my email down by 90%.

I create a channel for all my client’s projects and we keep all our communications, links to web pages, projects, photos, etc. all there in one place, easily searchable, and I designate who has access. They have a no-cost and a paid version. I use the paid version.

3) Zoom – Terrific all-purpose video meeting and webinar tool. Most folks know about it now. I like having my own meeting room ID that I use every week with clients. I don’t like creating a new ID every week. And I really like its webinar capabilities too.

Easy to record and save calls and share with folks too. They have a no-cost version, and I opted for the paid one as the no cost version restricts your meetings to 40 minutes.

4) Google Docs and/or Dropbox – these are two different tools and I haven’t managed to get rid of either one. Google docs is terrific to share docs with clients and edit them together. And Dropbox is awesome to put a bunch of big sized files and share with folks who need them. No more emailing big sized files.

5) Timeular – Love this little gadget and app tool for my Mac. (And there’s a version for PC.) If you ever want or need to track your time on projects- THIS is the BEST tool.

They snail mail you a time tracker gadget that you can personalize. So I have my business on one side, my coaching clients on another, answering email on another, coffee break, etc. You can put up to 8 things on the gadget to track. And when you flip it, it starts tracking. (Way better than me trying to remember to write it down!)

Their app is really cool too. You can really see where all your time goes with it’s tracking ability. I don’t have any clients that pay me by the hour anymore, just by the project.

I wanted this tool because I was curious about how much time I spent on projects and to see where my time goes. It was pretty eye-opening. It wasn’t expensive either, $49. They have a more expensive version that integrates the app with time tracking systems for employees.

6) Bonus Tool – Grammarly – I do a TON of writing. And I was a little leery about getting this. I actually saw an ad on Hulu for it. I signed up and have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

It actually catches so many grammar and spelling errors (and also annoyingly lets me know each week how many I make that they correct – lol).

Plus, it goes through all my copy and suggests different phrases, words, let me know when I’m repeating words and suggests others. It’s like having my own personal editor. I’d highly recommend it.

It’s an app, and also an extension you can put on Chrome and in Word. I thought it was really reasonably priced with all the writing I do. Around $140 a year. There’s also a no-cost version. Fun Fact – It caught 18 errors in this post!

That’s the scoop on my top tools that are keeping me more productive. Please reach out if you have questions, or leave me a comment!

And if you want to take this opportunity to ramp up your productivity – Check out this article, it will help – promise!

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Are you singing the recession blues?

Well I sure hope not, because as an entrepreneur and business person, you need to be focused on how to increase your business. You need to get your head out of the sand and not use the excuse that the economy is in a recession and that’s why your business isn’t doing well.

I just went and saw the most motivating and inspiring marketing mind ever. His name is Dan Kennedy. He’s so many light years ahead of businesses because of how he thinks, it’s a little bit scary. He’s the one that’s said many times, if you’re smart and you know how to market and who to market to, you can make money in any economy and you know what- I agree with him and I am doing it!

I had the pleasure of being able to see Dan Kennedy live, last week in New York- for FREE. This was a rare appearance and I have to say if you have the opportunity to see him speak, go see him, he’s so refreshing and has such a fascinating outlook on business. He was speaking at an event and promoting his new book, No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent: The No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners Guide to Getting Really Rich. He focused his talk around if you’re not doing well right now, it’s not because of the recession, it’s because you’re not getting people excited enough about buying and doing business with you. He also said it could be because you’re not as agile to change your business with the times. I’ve said this numerous times before- in a recession, you need to shift who you’re selling to- focus on the people who are least affected by the recession and that would be the mass affluent. I also had the pleasure of speaking with him at the break and it was a real treat for me and inspired me to make some much needed changes in my own business.

In this crazy world of business you need to be agile and ready to able to move with the world, however it turns- tragedy vs. opportunity. He also said a number of other fascinating things that I want to share with you-

  • The number of competitors in a market place doesn’t matter. You simply need to craft a business with over laden with value and marketing services. Create a unique market place and niche- promote your key benefits to your niche.
  • Done for you is best- gone are the days of teaching people to fish- give them the fish- now!
  • Price is controlled by value of the product to the buyer. A good example is if you’re selling one of a kind jewelry pieces- ensure you’re going after the customer who values and appreciates this unique factor.
  • Business isn’t bad- it’s just that follow-up really sucks.

Lastly, before I go- I had to share these with you- Here are the 6 secrets to increasing your profits in today’s recession-

  1. Always have good, better and best categories- give your prospects 3 tiers to buy from. They will always buy according to emotion, not logic.
  2. Raise your prices now- we all are not ever charging enough for our products and services. Plus in a recession you can make up for the loss of volume by increasing your prices.
  3. Target better customers- go after the mass affluent- sell to people who rarely make their decision based on price.
  4. Never do what everyone else is doing- 99% of businesses do things a certain way and it’s always usually wrong. Be part of the 1% to break out and do things differently.
  5. Have immediate up sells when you get a customer- e.g.- sell them a tie when they buy a suite, etc.
  6. Multiply your customers with post sale follow-up – send a thank you letter, or send a thank you and up sell later. Always, always follow-up with your clients and customers.

So take these 6 things all the way to the bank. Put away the newspaper, in fact, stop reading or watching the news altogether. Focus on the positive aspects of your business and your life and work towards being incredibly successful and happy! [digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/Are_you_singing_the_recession_blues]

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