Starting a new business is overwhelming. There are endless roles you have to play — CEO, marketing manager, accountant, customer service representative — the list goes on and on.
Prior to starting True Blue Creatives, I managed a digital marketing agency with a team of about 15 people. So I knew what kind of programs I needed to run my business, but I was suddenly working with a lot less budget. After many Google searches and endless reviews, I finally found my low-budget tool box that I would use to operate my business.
If you’re a new business owner and you’re looking for the most affordable, yet most efficient programs, to run your business, here are a few of my favorites.
When you’re working with clients, you need a platform that can manage proposals, contracts, and invoices all in one place. Indy does all of this and more. They have great templates to use for proposals and contracts for any type of business. You can also connect your account to several payment processors (PayPal, Zelle, Stripe, etc.) so your clients can conveniently submit payments directly through your invoice.
Once your business and team starts to grow, it’s important to get a project management system that keeps your team on the right track. While there are plenty of great project management programs out there, ClickUp is by far the most affordable while still keeping all of the necessary functions. Going into all of the capabilities of ClickUp can be an entire blog on it’s own, but to make this simple, here are just a few of the things you can do with it:
- Create task lists for each client
- Track time based on tasks or projects
- Track ad campaigns’ status and results
- Share documents to people based on projects
- Build dashboards for your entire team to easily find updates
- Set and track business goals
- Manage sales progress
- Track storewide inventory across multiple locations
This isn’t even half of it! Even though we’ve been using ClickUp for sometime, I’m sure there are functions that we don’t even know exist yet. While it might seem overwhelming, ClickUp offers hundreds of instructional webinars and video tutorials on their YouTube channel that make it easy to learn how to use the platform.
If your business requires scheduling sales calls or client meetings, this is the app for you. It conveniently integrates with your preferred calendar system and allows people to schedule time with you with the simple click of a link. You can create different types of events, each with their own unique URL.
The best part? All of these features are free! Of course, you can always upgrade to get additional features like customized text messages and email reminders to your clients or integrate with Salesforce.
Since using this app, I’ve seen much higher success rates with cold emails to potential clients. When you take out the inconvenience of going back and forth to schedule a call and replace it with a simple two-step scheduling system, potential clients are much more willing to book that meeting. Plus, Calendly handles the automated reminders to make sure that clients actually show up to the meeting. This changed the game for my sales strategy.
I’m going to be honest with you — I don’t even understand the full capabilities of HubSpot, but I will tell you everything I do know. For one, they have a free HubSpot Academy! Courses and certifications all about social media marketing, SEO, sales strategies, and so much more. (There will be more on this in a later blog post.)
I use HubSpot as my CRM. It integrates directly with your email to keep track of new contacts, when you last contacted them, if they opened your email, etc. You can link emails and contacts to potential deals and keep track of the entire sales process all through one app. My personal favorite function is the ability to set reminders to follow-up with a certain contact.
While these are just a few of the tools I use to organize my business, this is a great starter’s pack for those who are feeling overwhelmed by their new business. What apps are your favorite? Comment down below what your go-to programs are!