If you run an online business, chances are you’ll use various tools to get things done and save time by doing things efficiently. Remember back in the day when you went to the computer shop, spent like 100 quid on some software and then waited an hour whilst you installed it off a CD? Nowadays it’s all about the monthly subscription. There’s good points and bad points to that – of course it makes things a bit more affordable each month so you can use them, but if it’s stuff you’re going to need for like, ever then it will end up costing a lot more than Ye Old CD. Which is why my first recommendation is:

Appsumo

If you haven’t already, go sign up to this. They do serious deals on all sorts of things, from marketing to accounting software – and usually around the $40 – $50 mark for a lifetime subscription. A lot of the products are up-and-coming things so you can run into some lacking areas for features or have to wait for improvements on an ongoing basis, but on the whole you can save some serious money. A few of the things I use below are through AppSumo so I’m happy with the deals I got.

Canva

Been using Canva for many years for free – but as the business grows and Canva has developed I’ve recently upgraded to the paid version. That way I can add all my branding (colours, fonts, logo etc) and Canva nicely pulls it in to use in whatever graphic I’m creating. You can also create a graphic and then get it magically resized for various social media channels. Nice.

You do have a monthly fee but at the moment I’m trying to move away from the Creative Cloud subscription charges which are getting daft-crazy!

Buffer

Many social media schedulers out there, but I’m in camp Buffer. There’s a Chrome extension so you can schedule content from your browser, and you can pull in RSS feeds of your choice to Buffer any relevant posts for your business.

Billy

Cloud accounting is super-useful, but I always seem to have a bugbear – and the monthly cost is usually pretty steep. Billy does everything I need it to without bankrupting me! As a UK user I can’t currently sync my bank account, but should be able to within the next few weeks or so. And thats going to be a game-changer.

Salesflare

Most CRMs are rather confusing and have a few too many features for the small business owner. Salesflare is pretty cool and allows you to quickly see where you’re at in terms of sales.

Asana

To-do list extraordinaire, and it’s free too. Organise tasks into projects, view in a list, calendar or notice-board-type-thing. Fill it full of tasks and try get at least a proportion of them done.