Have you ever tried to cut a birthday cake with a spoon?
It’s possible, but it’s a hell of a lot harder than if you were to just use a cake knife.
We all know that not having the proper tools makes even the simplest tasks harder to complete. This fact is true when it comes to cutting a cake, putting together IKEA furniture, and most importantly, when running a successful online business.
As a successful business owner, you need to have a toolbox full of apps and websites that you can use to help make content creation and project management faster and better overall. Luckily, there are wonderful (mostly free!) resources available to streamline your processes.
These are the 10 Must-Have Tools to Run Your Small Business.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Tools for Coming Up with Content Ideas
Finding the time to come up with ideas, design posts, write captions, and put your ideas out in the world is a huge undertaking. Producing high-quality content consistently is frequently ranked among the top challenges for business owners and social media managers.
Here are some of my favorite websites and apps for generating new and relevant blog or social media posts for my audience.
Answer The Public
Answer the Public is a search listing tool used to gather keywords by finding out what questions your readers are asking. The tool listens to autocomplete data from search engines like Google then quickly cranks out every useful phrase and question people are asking around your keyword.
It’s helpful for finding content ideas that increase search potential and answer frequently asked questions in your niche, as well as for pinpointing relevant keywords.
Searches are free but the pro-version offers additional features such as an education package for $99-399/month.
Buzzsumo is a cloud-based platform that analyzes topics to find what is getting the most attention online.
Users can search and find which topics are popular and most shared on the web. BuzzSumo allows users to do a search for keywords, find out what is the most shared content for those keywords, then write great content based upon the findings. This tool can also help you identify the best platform for you to publish your content on and can even tell you the best time to post.
BuzzSumo offers a free plan with limited searches. Paid plans range from $99-299 a month and offer features such as unlimited searches.
HOTH’s Headline Title Generator
HOTH’s Headline Title Generator is a free plug-and-play content tool that allows you to develop ideas that fit your brand in a flash. It’s technically a blog headline generator, but it’s also a rich source of social media post ideas.
The tool asks you audience-specific prompts, such as “Enter a problem that is common for your target audience.” Then it pops out a list of ideas based on your content pillars. It’s free to use when you sign up with your email address.
Read more about How to Create Content Pillars here.
Tools For Scheduling Social Media Posts
Scheduling social media posts is one of the best ways to save time and stay consistent. There are dozens of different scheduling options, here are a few of my favorites.
Facebook Creators Studio For Facebook & Instagram
Creator Studio is Facebook’s built-in dashboard that simplifies publishing content. It provides tools to efficiently and effectively post, manage, track performance, and connect purposeful content across all your Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts. Creator Studio is available for desktop and mobile devices.
Content creators use Creator Studio for scheduling feed posts and stories ahead of time. Another popular feature allows users to manage engagement (including responding to comments) for all post comments, tags, and shares in the Creator Studio Inbox.
Tailwind For Pinterest
One of the most intimidating aspects of social media can be the recommended daily number of times to post. The recommended minimum for Pinterest is 3 Pins per day, with a maximum of 30 Pins per day. Add that to your other platforms and you have a full-time job and a serious time commitment.
Tailwind, a scheduling app, truly solved this problem for me. For Pinterest, I am able to batch create content and schedule 200 Pins in about two hours. Tailwind saves time, allowing you to instantly create multiple posts from a single design for Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Tailwind has a free plan and offers upgraded plans for $9.99-39.99 a month.
Read more about how I used Tailwind to Grow my Pinterest from 2K Monthly Viewers to 100K in 6 Weeks
Tools for Content Writing & Creation
Writing and designing content to share on your blog and on social media is time-consuming. Canva and Grammarly have made these two tasks much more manageable. Plus, Copyrights world helps safeguard your content from being stolen! Here is a breakdown of each tool.
Visually appealing graphics and videos are a must for content creators. Canva makes it so simple to create beautiful, on-brand designs — even if you aren’t a designer.
Canva offers multiple templates and fonts, allowing users to create quality social media graphics, videos, brochures, workbooks, and more. Its built-in library includes a variety of layouts, images, and photos, many of which are free.
Canva also has in-platform scheduling that lets you post directly to Facebook pages and groups, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slack, and Tumblr, as well as some messaging apps.
While Canva is free, premium stock photographs are available for $1 an image. If you are looking for more image, design, and storage options, Canva-Pro offers additional features for $12.99 a month.
I am a terrible self-editor, which is why Grammarly will also be a big part of my toolkit.
Grammarly is an app or extension for your browser that checks your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and more. All this is done in real-time on several different platforms including social media, web hosting sites, and Google Suite.
Grammarly also assists you with your delivery style and tone. It helps eliminate writing errors, allowing you to express yourself clearly and concisely. Using Grammarly helps you to write with confidence.
Grammarly’s free features include basic writing suggestions. Its Premium and Business Plans start at $12/per month. Some of the additional features offered with the paid plans are tone adjustments, style guides, plagiarism detection, and word choice.
Unfortunately, content theft is all too common and easy in today’s digital world. You are entitled to copyright protection the moment you create your work.
Without copyright protection, your content could end up being used by and making money for someone else. Copyrights World is a simple, quick, and safe-to-use platform designed to copyright, protect, and monitor your intellectual property.
Users upload files to a personal Vault where they are timestamped, encrypted, and securely stored. As soon as the files are uploaded they are registered as your intellectual property and a Certificate of Ownership is issued via email. Copyrights World’s infringement monitoring system reports back when someone uses one of your digital creations.
Original photos, videos, status updates, and blogs you create are also your intellectual property and are entitled to copyright protection. Use the #cwprotect hashtag on the content you want to protect. As with uploaded files to your Vault, you will receive a Certificate of Copyright Ownership for your copyrighted content. Once you know someone is using your content, you can ask them to take it down or license it.
The Intro Plan is free, which allows you to use the features you need to monitor your files for infringement right away. Upgraded plans are available which include additional storage, more extensive monitoring coverage, and other features.
Tools for Project Management
Automations are the biggest time-saving hack in business, and tools like Honeybook make it easy to set up systems.
Honeybook is a cloud-based client management tool that helps entrepreneurs manage their invoices, contracts, and project management in one place. The software gives users the ability to track and streamline processes all the way from initial inquiry to payment.
Honeybook automates workflows such as invoicing and payment schedules, plus it keeps track of where your leads are coming from and your financial analytics.
Honeybook’s starter plan is $9/month and offers you 6 months of support. This plan limits you to $10,000 in total transactions. Honeybook also offers an upgraded plan for $39/month which has no limit on transactions, offers unlimited support, and the ability to add team members to your account.
Make managing your content schedule and your clients’ project easier with Trello. I was using Google Sheets for a long time to manage projects, but I wish I made the switch to Trello much sooner.
Trello is a visual project management and team collaboration tool. One of Trello’s main selling points is its ease of use, which is designed to look and work like sticky notes on a whiteboard.
Trello organizes your projects into boards indicating what project is being worked on, who is working on it, and where it is at in the workflow process.
Specific people can be flagged for action and follow-up. Plus, users can use Trello via the desktop version, mobile app, or switch back and forth between them.
Trello offers a free version that includes a maximum of 10 boards. Paid versions are from $10-17.50 a month and include an unlimited amount of boards and other handy integrations not available in the free version.
Having the right tools makes managing a business easier.
Cyndi, Owner of Ascent StoryCraft
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