Starting your own B2B business is no small accomplishment. The mere idea of being your own boss, and all the demands that come with the job, is enough to drive away even the slightly faint of heart.
However, you were up to the task and now you're swimming in work and leads! That is good and bad. You need to maintain the business you already have grown, and yet you also want to continue to expand so that you don't stagnate. Now is the time to get organized!
With that in mind, I've gathered together some of the best apps and tools to use in your B2B small business. Whether you're just starting out as a small business, or you have a few years under your belt, you'll be able to use these tools to make your B2B business even better.
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Your Must-Have B2B Business Toolbox
You know that stash of notes you keep in your car, on your desk, nightstand, and kitchen counter? Well, Evernote replaces all of that.
It's a one-stop for gathering all of your thoughts, all of those articles you want to save for later, and so, so much more. By organizing your notes into notebooks, you can collect and sort through all of your ideas by topic. You can also share these ideas and collaborate with colleagues. Evernote also works across several devices, so it doesn't matter if you're at the office (which is maybe your garage), or hanging out at home in your favorite armchair.
The Evernote webclipper plugin allows you to save online articles and info to a notebook of your choice. It even allows you to move emails to a notebook!
The formatting is simple and easy to use as you can see from the screenshot I took of my own Evernote folder (Mac version):
By far, one of the most amazing organization apps out there. Much more than just a to-do list, the Berlin-based company gets how to organize your life.
Wunderlist was recently acquired by Microsoft, so time will tell what that will mean for Wunderlisters. However, I can tell you that my personal and professional life would be in chaos (more so than it is now) if it wasn't for Wunderlist.
Because I love my Wunderlist so much, and because it's easier to explain in motion, I've put together a screencast so you can see this app in action.
Pretty cool, right?
Perhaps one of the most overwhelming aspects of owning a business is knowing how to handle taxes. And more specifically, sales tax.
That's where TaxJar comes in. This tool integrates with the platforms you use, such as Square, to generate automated sales tax reports that calculate your totals by city and state. They will even automatically file your forms for you if you wish!
The tool has received attention on MSNBC as one of the best tools you can use for your business:
As a B2B business owner, you've probably noticed that a lot of your time is unaccounted for. You've been busy all day, but how much of that is actually billable time? With Toggle, you can track your time by client and project both on your desktop and on your mobile device.
In addition, you can add team members to your projects so that they can accurately manage their time as well.
Sortd is an email management tool that is currently in Beta. However, after using it, you'll be hard-pressed to imagine this tool isn't going places.
Sortd works a bit like Trello for your email. Create custom columns, such as "To-do", "Follow Up", or "FYI" -- the possibilities are nearly endless. Then, when an email comes in, simply drag it to the appropriate column. You can even set reminders, add notes, or change the title of the email. You can also set individual emails to "snooze" so that they are relegated to the bottom of your list until the snooze is over, at which point it pops back up at the top.
At this point, Sortd only works in Chrome, and it only works in Gmail.
As a B2B business owner, you no doubt recognize the importance of social media marketing. However, finding the time to post, comment, and actually find out if your efforts are paying off, may, in reality, be on the back burner.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule up to 350 posts across 100 platforms. It also supplies with you enhanced analytic reports so you don't have to guess whether or not your efforts are being rewarded in revenue.
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You may have heard me rave about Canva before, but it is seriously worth another mention. This free online graphic design tool doesn't get much better. Graphic designers often charge hundreds of dollars for templates. However, with Canva, you can design your own for free!
Here's a re-run of my screencast tutorial on using Canva:
Insightly is a tool that combines CRM and project management software into one. It keeps track of all your contacts, leads, and tasks in one spot. Good news for sole proprietorships - Insightly offers a free version if you only need 1-2 users.
10. Quickbooks Online
Quickbooks is an oldie, but a goodie. This accounting software is now mobile, so you can check balances, send invoices, and receive payments wherever you are.
You can also include the option for customers to pay you online through Quickbooks. However, I would recommend being cautious about this service. Quickbooks puts limits on the amount of money you can receive. They also may withhold funds if a transaction looks suspicious. Ordinarily, funds should be deposited in your account within 2-3 business days. The alternative to this is to allow payments through Square, which is now integrated with Quickbooks. Funds are deposited to your account the next business day and there are no deposit limits.
Do you feel smarter and more capable now that you're armed with a few more tools? More than that, I hope you'll be able to use them to make your life a little bit easier and to make your business grow!
Growing Without Drowning
Growing your small business requires that you make the most of your skills. Of course, you probably wear many hats right now. You may be the customer service, marketing, billing, and sales department combined!
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