Last week I talked about the three strategies I use to avoid getting overwhelmed with everything on my plate. I talked about focusing on priorities, empowering my team and using systems. Fortunately, it’s getting easier and easier to implement those strategies thanks to a toolbox of web apps that are available.
I thought you might be interested in seeing the tools I’m currently using for my business. Some of these will also be applicable in ministry settings. In some instances, though, there are better ministry-specific solutions available. Here are…
12 Tools I Use to Run My Business
- Asana — This is what my team uses to track all our projects and tasks. We’ve created templates for projects that reoccur. We can deletage tasks to fellow teammates and follow the progress on each project. This drives the conversation in our weekly traffic meetings. (HT to Phil for introducing me to Asana.)
- Bidsketch — This app creates all the proposals we send to potential clients. It syncs with Highrise to track when proposals are created, sent, viewed and accepted. The best part, though, are the templates that we set up so that we don’t have to recreate the wheel every time we generate a new proposal.
- Expensify — This is a great app for creating travel expense reports. It imports expenses directly from the credit cards. You can also use the SmartScan feature using the mobile app to import receipts into reports without typing anything. It almost makes expense reports fun.
- Google Drive — This is how my team shares documents. Every church we work with has a shared folder. Every document that’s generated through our consultations is dropped into the folder. Google Drive makes it easy for our entire team to collaborate without having to send large files through email.
- Google+ Hangouts — We use the Hangouts for our weekly traffic meetings. It’s great for video chat and screensharing is built in. I’ve also started using it for coaching with church leaders when we’re not able to meet face-to-face.
- Highrise — This is our client database. We use it to track every person, church and consultation. We also use it to log every email message and phone conversation we have. If I’ve talked with you, there’s a note in Highrise with your name on it. This is a great solution for small businesses. For churches, though, I recommend Church Community Builder, my strategic partner on the Leisure Suit Series.
- Intuit Online Payroll — This is the solution I use to make sure my team gets paid and the government gets all their taxes. (By the way, the government makes it as challenging as possible for small businesses to add jobs. It’s ridiculous.)
- LessAccounting — It’s accounting for guys like me who have only had a couple of college accounting courses. Similar to Mint for personal finances, LessAccounting pulls in transactions automatically from my business checking, credit card and PayPal accounts. Once a week I go in and make sure all the transactions are coded accurately. We also use LessAccounting to handle all the invoicing. My tax accountant loves this solution, because the reporting makes life easy for her.
- MailChimp — Are you signed up for our monthly newsletter? This is the solution we use to manage our email lists and send out the ever-popular monthly newsletter.
- PayPal — Yes, there are other options that are cheaper for accepting payments for services, but PayPal integrates with all the solutions I use and it’s the standard that everyone knows and trusts. My favorite feature is the subscription solution that I use to handle all the monthly coaching network payments.
- TripIt — I’ve upgraded to the PRO version to track all my travel itineraries. TripIt grabs all the travel confirmations from my email inbox and automatically creates the itineraries and makes sure all those details get on my calendar. I used to create “trip folders” every time I traveled. Now it’s all right on my phone.
- Wufoo — It’s simply one of the best web applications available. Wufoo is what we use to capture information in forms on our website. It integrates with Highrise, so there’s no data entry to update our client database. We also use Wufoo for our online surveys that are a part of the ministry health assessment we offer to churches.
Do you see anything in my toolbox that’s missing? If so, I’d love your recommendation. Join the conversation by sharing your comment.