The Essential Digital Tools I Use to Plan and Run My Business
Posted on 25 May 2021
Running a business is a lot like a swan gliding across the pond. On the surface, it is serene. The products appear on the website or in the stores and customers buy them and love them. However, to achieve that glide, the swan’s feet are furiously working away under the water. In business terms, this is the equivalent of all of the planning and organising that goes on behind the scenes. And that process could not happen without some essential digital tools that I use to plan and run my business.
I’ve written a couple of blogs already about building your brand, but I thought in this month’s article I would delve into the realities of running a company like Afrotouch Design. Let me tell you about the essential apps and plugins that keep my business moving forwards. I hope this helps you find the right digital tools for you too.
My Essential Digital Tools
Shopify is one of the biggest names in ecommerce for a reason. The platform has everything you need to run an online business, as well as helping you if you sell on your website and in retail stores too. You can manage your inventory easily and assign products to your stockists easily using the simple dashboard.
I also love how it helps with the business backend functions by allowing me to drill down into the data that I need to maintain momentum. I can look at sales transactions and analytics to better inform the decisions I make for Afrotouch Design. The way it seamlessly integrates into my website is a real bonus too. It feels like I really own the store, rather than it seeming like a third party function to customers browsing the site.
There are so many productivity apps, but for me Asana is the one. It is designed specifically to map out your tasks, making it perfect for project management and for keeping various different team members in the loop with what is going on as a whole, as well as with their specific tasks.
It is a space for us to communicate when we are all in different locations and working on a variety of timescales. It cuts out emails and keeps everything in one place for all to see and to refer back to when needed. We can share files and documents with ease and collaborate when we need to.
Google Workspace used to be called G Suite and is one of the key essential digital tools. Although it is fantastic that there are so many different apps to help with business available out there, having them all in one place is extremely handy.
It means that my email, calendar, documents, forms and more are all integrated and that makes everything seamless when working. This time saving potential of Google Workspace is a major factor for me, trying to juggle my day job, family and a growing business and I cannot recommend it highly enough if you are in a similar position.
Not everyone can be a design whizz, but Canva allows anyone to create beautiful designs to make your marketing pop. The Pro version comes with all manner of templates to use in creating stunning images, as well as stock photos that you can use and so much more. If the thought of tackling Photoshop fills you with dread, then Canva is very much your friend.
Even better, it is adding new features all the time and the new Content Calendar is a great tool for plotting your social posts. You can even post directly to some of your channels through Canva too.
The mobile app is also a real selling point of Canva. It used to be very basic and difficult to use, but they recently upgraded it and you can pretty much do everything you can on the desktop version from your phone. Very handy.
On a social media tip, I can’t talk about essential digital tools and not mention socials. They are so important for spreading the word about the business, engaging new customers and building a community. At their best, social networks can truly bring people together to find new and exciting shared interests and that’s what I love about using them for my business.
Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are the main channels I use to market and interact. If we are not already connected on those networks, go give us a follow or a like!