There are business tools that owners use because they feel they have little choice. Either there’s nothing else, or the pain of switching seems too great. But are there tools that you actually look forward to using? Which one have been most helpful in building your business, and what have you learned about using them that wasn’t immediately obvious?
If someone recommends a tool that hasn’t worked for you, feel free to ask the commenter how they solved whatever problem you had.
And, of course, if you’d like, you can also tell us which tools you’d never use again.
Snagit ... Not only can I take snapshots of any screen, record a conference call, create explanations with notes, and make videos with my webcam. It's just an amazing package that gets better all the time. I also purchase the add ons to enhance whatever I am working with. You can try it free and then decide if it's worthwhile. https://www.techsmith.com/store/snagit
Seamless.ai - An invaluable resource for anyone in sales. Quickly find contact information for practically any C-Level manager and below. Integrated with LinkedIn, too, making it easy to email someone you found there. Can't say enough good things about it.
I've been experimenting with and using "low code" platforms like QuickBase for a long time.
Even in the early days, these platforms were highly customizable and if you were patient you could figure out how to do things if you had the patience to figure out formulas and relationships in Excel or Google Sheets. But often, if you had big ambitions (or let yourself fall victim to "feature creep"), you'd end up hiring someone to build a more robust custom platform for your needs.
But today there's an entirely new generation of these "low code" and even "no code" platforms out now that can really transform your relationship with data and/or processes...and they're pretty easy to crack.
I currently use Coda, but I have experimented with Notion, Roam and others...they all have their merits and their devotees. The one thing that has really sold me on Coda is the community of users and Coda employees who will help you figure out how to do things...and the platforms are so simple now that unless you have wildly ambitious plans, with help from the online community you can figure out how to do almost anything pretty quickly. In the end, I think having that kind of online community of support available may be one of the most valuable features you should look for.
If you are the curious sort, make a pot of coffee one night and check some of these platforms out...or have a member of your team do it. You might be amazed at what can be built in a night, and how many insights and how much productivity you can gain from it.
Calendly to allow people to book meetings with me (awesome!), Backblaze for simple, automated backups of my laptop, and RoboForm for password management.
HubSpot, HubSpot, and more HubSpot. Compared to the behemoth SalesForce, using their Sales tools is like skipping through a field of lavender & sunflower. The Marketing pieces make life easier too and while we don't use the CMS, it's built well. The best part it's integrated from the ground up instead of patched together like other stacks.
Nothing like a good Excel spreadsheet for budgets and just general organizational charts. I have yet to find another product that replaces the concise simplicity of this program…and I agree that carrying a Moleskin beats an iPad any day!
Recently I have had a need to do discovery interviews. To truly capture all the details, I needed both the ability to record the interviews and transcribe them (albeit I am still summarizing them as well). If you use AWS, you can activate right in the suite of the google app system enabling recording of google meet. You have to reach out to your account rep to have this turned on. It works very easily and saves it to an immediate spot on your google drive. I like how seamless the integration is.
The tool that I am using for transcription I really like as well. It is sonix.ai. I was skeptical so I tried the trial at first but it really does do a good job. While it isn't 100% accurate the accuracy is definitely good enough and if anything that lack of accuracy is a result of the video capture quality.
For a few years now we’ve been using Slack to communicate with our students. We work with high school students and going back and forth on emails, insta dms and sometimes text was a mess. There was resistance at first, but since it was the only way we were communicating with them they got on board pretty quick. It was a game changer! It’s also been a great way to connect our teens from around the world. Recently we started using Trello. At first I was confused, but again, stuck with it and it has made a difference with how our team works and plans projects.
Followup.cc. Great tool to ensure I don't miss important actions. Its like having a personal assistant for a few dollars a month.
Hands down, most useful and long-lasting tool: Moleskine notebook. :)
I don't know if I have a favorite one. Over 2020, I've been forced to become fluent in GoogleMeet, Teams, and Zoom and conversant in at least three other communication tools that clients use. Of those three, Teams and Zoom seem to have the best quality but are slightly different in their functionality (e.g. breakout rooms). GoogleMeet is still having some video/audio quality issues, but it's improving.
I often use KanbanFlow for project management. I still use a paper planner (FranklinCovey) for Monthly-Weekly-Daily planning.