Small Business Toolbox – February Twenty Five

Each week I like to post useful tools and resources that you may be able to use for your business.  The resources I post here are either free or available at a low cost.

I don’t go into much detail here, so feel free to check them out yourself and let me know what you think.  If you know of any great tools and services that will help small business owners, please share them in the comments below.

SohoOS – A free service that gives you everything your business needs.  From contacts, invoices, inventory, payments, SohoOS wants to be the virtual business dashboard for your small business. – Build a free and easy personal profile page.  Sleek and simple design for hosting your own online “Virtual” business card.  They currently have a deal with where you can get some free, high quality business cards.

Have questions about the best tools to use for your business?  Contact me with your questions and you can rest assured you will receive a response!  Contact me here

How To Build An Email List For Your Small Business

Are you building an email list for your small business?  If not, you're missing out on a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship with your customers.  Done right, email marketing can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.

Too many businesses let their customers come and go, never knowing when (or if) they will return.  Wouldn't it be great  to be able to reach out to your best customers when you had important news to share, like a special sale or a new line of products that just arrived? Or to share tips and insights that can help you build a stronger relationship with your customers?  Well you could…..that is, if you had a mailing list.

Building an mailing list is a critical  marketing tool that many small business owners miss out on.  Whether you haven't started building one because you aren't sure how, or you feel like there's no time to do it, it's time to start putting a plan together today.  Building an email list takes time, but it's well worth the effort.  Below are some ideas you can start using today to build your email list.

Ask customers to opt in at the time of purchase. Offer an instant discount if they sign up on the spot or tell them they'll get coupons sent to them for a future visit..  Train your team to ask customers for their email addresses at the time of purchase and selling the benefits of receiving it.

Create a dedicated sign up page on your website.  Signup forms for your email list should take prominent position on your website.  In addition to the main sign up form on your homepage, you should have additional sign up opportunities on your site, such as on your about and contact pages, as well as during the checkout process if you offer online purchases.  Also, having a dedicated lading page for your signup form allows you to market it in different ways, such as:

  • Creating a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign to drive people to your signup page with discount offers
  • Using Facebook and other social media to drive people to your dedicated sign up page
  • QR codes that, when scanned, lead to your sign up page.  Just be sure your signup page is optimized for mobile as QR codes are used almost exclusively on mobile devices
  • Do some guest blogging on other websites and add the link to your email signup page in your author bio

Partner with other local businesses to build your mailing list.  Working with other businesses with a similar customer base is a great and fast way to build your email list.  On a recent local promotion I did with another business, I had the business owner promote an in store giveaway where they  offered a chance to win a $250 gift certificate for my business if the signed up for the promotion, leaving their name and email address.  I collected over 150 emails from that lone initiative.  Besides contacting the winner of the promotion to let them know they won, I also contacted everyone else on the list and let them know that they won second prize, which was a $20 gift certificate for my business.  So far, about 60 new customers came in and used the offer, many of them becoming repeat customers.  Repeat this with several business and you'll quickly build up your email list as well as drive new people into your business.  I've found other businesses a much better source of marketing than traditional methods such as newspapers ads and direct mail campaigns.

Use your emails to build your mailing list.  If you're offering valuable content and offers for your customers through your emails, encourage them to share those offers with their friends.  At the end of every email you should have both a call to action to share the email with friends as well as a call to action for those friends to sign up themselves so they don't  miss out on future emails.

What you shouldn't do………

Optin people without their permission.  It may annoy your customers as well it's against the terms of service for most mail delivery services like Mailchimp and Constant Contact.  Be sure to let people know what they are signing up for

Buy an email list.  Almost always a bad idea. While some companies that sell email lists are legitimate and deliver some quality leads, many gain emails through less than honest means.  If people are on your list, they are on dozens of lists and are receiving spam by the bucket load……you don't want your business associated with these types.

Overdue it.  You want to send news and offers that are relevant and at a pace that your customers are comfortable with.  People hate it when they receive numerous emails from a business that provides little to no value to them…..over and over again.  Whenever you create a new email, be sure you're adding something valuable or people will quickly route your future emails to the junk folder.


Building an email list does take time and certainly alot of effort, but it can become a valuable long term marketing tool that you can use over and over again… a minimal cost.  It's also a smart idea to use a dedicated email service such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact (I use both) to track each email campaign as well as ensuring your emails are getting delivered.  If you haven't started building your list yet, grab one of the ideas above and just get started.  Most of the time, getting started is the hardest part.  Have questions about email marketing?  Contact me here, I love answering my readers questions!

Pinterest is Hot, How Can I Use It For My Business

The media has christened Pinterest as the ‘hot frontier' of social media. It's ‘the cool new kid' on the block. And every small business needs to be hanging out with that cool kid. After all, the cool kid's parents can buy all the stuff you’re selling.
But seriously, Pinterest is an increasingly important social sharing destination that’s driving more traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.  If properly used, the site could extend your brand into a new demographic, facilitate link-building, bring you places Google won’t and allow you to better share your visual content.

What is Pinterest?

First things first: Know the medium and know the audience. Pinterest is built and designed for visual candy: photos, cool designs, infogaphics, art — almost anything that strikes your visual fancy. This is not a space for images of your ugly PowerPoint slides or the crappy logo you built in MS Paint late one night. In the company’s words: “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.” To put it simply: If it ain’t pretty don’t post it and don’t pin it.
Keep in mind, Pinterest’s US users are predominantly women (around 80 percent of them, in fact). If your product is designed for women, or under-used by women, this is a perfect opportunity to cater to your target market. Even better, if you’re a retail-based small business, Pinterest is the top driver of traffic for retailers. As an early-adopter of Pinterest, you have a window into a very specific, and potentially lucrative demographic.

using pinterest for your small business

Boost Your Brand, Improve SEO

As a visual and social medium, Pinterest offers you enormous potential to extend your brand and build links. There’s a link behind every Pinterest post, which means every time someone pins your content, you’re building credibility and stronger SEO. And if people really like your stuff, it has the potential to go viral after a pinning frenzy. Pretty soon, you’ll have entire boards, or user-created sections, dedicated to your brand!

Plus, you can do a bit of anecdotal market research. Who’s pinning your stuff? What else do they like? Pinterest allows you to get a sense for other brands your customers are into and other products they might be interested in. Say you’re a boutique coffee shop. Curiously all the people pinning your stuff are also pinning vanilla-frosted cake. Something tells me you’ll be offering vanilla-frosted cake next week.

Stay Active

The key to getting the kind of attention and recognition your brand deserves is to be an active member of the Pinterest community. Pin, re-pin, set up your own boards and interact with people who might be interested in your product. But don’t just promote your own product. The ‘social’ in media goes both ways. No one’s keen on self-Pinterest, so don’t use the site to shout your brand in people’s faces. Instead, allow your beautiful content to catch their eyes, and allow your own pins to attract the like-minded. You must be active on Pinterest by liking, pinning and re-pinning. Also, encourage your employees to become active Pinners and show interest in things other than your coffee shop. Try to build a community.

Make it Easy For Your Fans to Find You

Don’t forget to make it easy on people. Build pin-it buttons into your website. Make boards connected to your brand and beyond. Link to Pinterest boards from Twitter. Share your pinnings on Facebook. Take photos exclusively for Pinterest. Design infographics and pop them onto your page.


Guest Post provided by Matt Puettmann.  Matt blogs about social media trends and veterans’ issues for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leading provider of VA loans.


Small Business Toolbox – February Nineteen

Each week I like to post useful tools and resources that you may be able to use for your business.  The resources I post here are either free or available at a low cost.

I don’t go into much detail here, so feel free to check them out yourself and let me know what you think.  If you know of any great tools and services that will help small business owners, please share them in the comments below.

Slidebomb – A fun and creative way to create a slideshow.  Easily add content from the web like video, images and links.  Create, share and embed your slideshows for free.

10 Paper Airplanes – Sometimes you need to take a break from your work and  do something that will take your mind away from the stresses of running a business.  A great way that I find to unwind is to create paper airplanes!  This simple site gives you easy to use instructions for creating 10 different airplanes.  The “Moth” is my favourite.

Have questions about the best tools to use for your business?  Contact me with your questions and you can rest assured you will receive a response!  Contact me here

5 Effective Tips for Creating Productive New Hires

Let’s face it, even in a booming economy, what company has the time to hire, train, and dedicate resources just to do it all over again in six months and for the same position!! Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes company’s need to part ways with an employee that is just not working out. Below, however, are five tips that I have learned throughout my career as a hiring manager, which have increased my new-hire retention and got the candidates I wanted.


Step 1 –Evaluate the job description. Just like anything, things change. However, most companies keep the same job description (JD) for years. The hiring manager should evaluate JDs before posting. A few suggestions:

  • Does the JD start with a description of your company? Ask yourself: if you didn’t know your company, and were looking at a job there, would the description inspire you AND get you excited about the company? Most of the time, this is an employee’s first introduction to the company. The description should not only explain the purpose of the organization and the mission, but the accolades, accomplishments and goals of the organization as well. Remember, you are seeking talented individuals (hopefully) and want to “sell” the company, just like you want the individual to “sell” him or herself to you.
  • How specific is the JD? The first 2-3 bullet points under job duties, responsibilities, functions (whatever you want to call it) should be the most important. Then the rest should be listed in order of priority. These duties should be clear and specific so no surprises await the employee once they start.
  • Does the JD list core and leadership competencies? I’ve seen many JDs that list the functions of the job, which is important, but fail to mention competencies. These are the attributes and personality traits that a manager and team members can often get frustrated with a few months into the job. Look at your ideal employees. If you don’t have employees yet for the specific role, write down what attributes that ideal employee would possess. These can be qualities such as: reliable, team player, political savvy, problem-solver, organized. After you compile your list, you can even write a brief description next to the competency. Here’s an example:

Accountable/Dependable – Must take responsibility for timeliness of schedule and breaks.

This ensures that not only can the candidate perform the job but they are easy to work with and easy to coach.

Step 2 – Have a working interview. At one of my former employers, we would first have the human resources department phone screen the potential employee. Then, if they liked the candidate, we would bring them to the office for an interview with various other managers. If the interview went well, we would then check references, collaborate, and offer the position. As you could imagine, our turnover was extremely high. I started to incorporate what we called a “final, working interview”. The candidate would get to see “a day in the life” of the position before they were brought in for another round of questions (which can be completed on the same day). We would have the potential new hire shadow an employee that was successful and looking for leadership opportunities. This part is a great way to assess the candidate’s professionalism, level of engagement and overall enthusiasm about the job (not to mention a great way to also develop an existing employee). It also paints a realistic picture of the role and allows the candidate to truly know what they are committing to. Expectation setting is everything. Employees produce better results when they know what is expected of them, both on paper and in reality. At the end of the shadow, take the opportunity to assess the candidate’s thoughts and possible concerns about the position.

Step 3 – Set a probationary period or give a small project/assignment before offering full-time employment. I recognize that this will not always be possible for every role. However, this really helps create hard-working, productive employees. When an employee really has to “work” to get the job, the last thing they want to do is leave it. Once, while interviewing potential new hires for an administrative position, I had candidates submit an assignment using Excel. For sales positions, we set the expectation that a permanent position would be awarded after the candidate completed their training and sold a specific dollar amount during the probationary period. This created focused, determined employees right off the bat and weeded out the under-performers or those with the attitude that any job will suffice.

Step 4 –Introduce the new hire to the company. The first day on the job can be just like the first day of school, exciting and intimidating all at once. Aside from orientation and training, the first day on the job can really solidify the new-hire’s experience and level of production. Give these things some thought to ensure a great first day and future: who greets the new-hire? Will someone give them a tour? Is the work space ready? Do they know where the bathrooms are? Do they have business cards, a name plate, a welcome card and anything else creative to make them feel like part of the team? This leads me to step 5.

Step 5 – Assign a mentor (preferably someone with leadership desire). A mentor can help with the above things in Step 4, but ultimately a mentor will serve as another level of support for the new hire. The mentor usually wants to grow their career, and can handle accomplishing their own tasks, while taking on additional responsibilities. Mentorship also helps take some of the simple, “newbie” questions off the manager’s plate.


Many have experienced hiring what they thought were a strong candidate and found themselves frustrated six months later due to lack of performance. Following the above steps improved my new-hire performance ramp up time 50-70% and ultimately contributed to the decrease of employee turnover.


Valentina “Val” Ries is the owner and founder of Brava Coaching, LLC. Val has started two successful businesses and is an active member of many local business organizations She has dedicated her life to empowering others and helping businesses define their path to success. She has trained, inspired, and led multiple teams and managers to optimal production. Brava Coaching, LLC provides leadership, direction and support to business professionals and front-line managers. Brava Coaching’s goal is to increase companies’ overall profitability and employee retention through leadership development and coaching. Val has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Masters of Business Administration and is a small business counselor for SCORE


Using SWOT Analysis For Your Small Business

How often do you perform a checkup on the health of your business?  If your like most, not often enough.

As business owners, we sometimes get so busy trying to move things forward that we often forget to stop for a minute to make sure we are still on the right track. Conducting routine checkups on your business in the areas of marketing, operations, human resources and finances can go a long way in keeping your business out of trouble.

Whether you are creating a new marketing plan, making a key hire, or evaluating current market conditions, a SWOT analysis is a quick and effective way to get a clear picture of the situation.

What is a SWOT Analysis?

It's a strategic tool used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of a given situation such as a project or business venture. It's usually presented in a matrix format, like the image below, but can be written out anyway that makes sense for you.

using a swot analysis for your small business planning

When and how often should you conduct a SWOT analysis?

Every business has different needs, but I would suggest you conduct a SWOT analysis at least once every 6 months, or whenever a significant decision is to be made for your business or external factors are looming, that can impact your business.  The nice things with a SWOT, is that you can use them to evaluate pretty much anything.  Just a few examples are:

  • Current state of your business
  • When forming your marketing and operational plans
  • Making a key hiring decision
  • Making an important decision that will impact your company
  • When evaluating current market conditions

Elements of a SWOT Analysis

Strengths – The things that give your business an advantage in the given situation you are evaluating.  This may be your product/service, key employees, market position or any number of things that give you an advantage over others.

Weaknesses – The things that place you at a disadvantage in relation to others.  It's the same as your strengths, but you will be listing your limitations here.

Opportunities – External factors that can come into play that will give your business an advantage.  An example would be a customer trend that is moving to your advantage.

Threats – External elements in the environment that could be disadvantageous to you.  An example would be a housing market crash in your region that could potentially adversely affect your business.

As you can see, the Strengths and Weaknesses are internal factors, while Opportunities and Threats are external factors that can impact your decision making.

Tips on conducting an effective SWOT analysis

Get your team involved. Try and get others involved in the process, especially if they will be the ones affected/implementing the decisions that will be made.  Brainstorming as a group will bring ideas, and expose potential threats that you may not have seen.

Brainstorm. Don't just list out the best ideas……list all of the ideas, no matter if they seem a bit off the wall.  The important thing is to get all of the ideas on the table and then edit the list as a group to bring out the strongest points.  Sometimes that odd ball suggestion will lead you down the path to an awesome breakthrough you never thought of before.

Bring in an outsider.  Bringing in someone not as close to your business can give you a fresh perspective and help you avoid inadvertently trying to sway the analysis towards your bias.  Another trusted business owner, your accountant or attorney are great people you can bring into the mix, depending on the situation you are evaluating.


As you can see, a SWOT analysis is a quick and easy way to create a well thought out plan for your decision making.  By bringing your entire team into the process, you can create an environment of open communication and idea exchanges that can open up opportunities not seen before.  If you'd like a template for creating your own SWOT analysis, you can download it here [Free SWOT Analysis Template]

Small Business Toolbox – February Eleven

Each week I like to post useful tools and resources that you may be able to use for your business.  The resources I post here are either free or available at a low cost.

I don’t go into much detail here, so feel free to check them out yourself and let me know what you think.  If you know of any great tools and services that will help small business owners, please share them in the comments below.

Hootsuite – Free web service that lets you create an online dashboard to manage your social media accounts in a single location.  Syndicate content to multiple accounts, schedule content posting and get analytical data on your social media traffic.  They also have mobile apps for all of the major platforms.

Otipo – Online employee scheduling tool that offers a free version for 10 or less employees.  Gather employee availability, automatically create a work schedule and publish online for an easy way to handle your staff scheduling.

Have questions about the best tools to use for your business?  Contact me with your questions and you can rest assured you will receive a response!  Contact me here

Choosing the Right Customer Help Desk Software for Your Business

This is a guest post by Sarah Peterson, you can find out more about her at the end of the article

In recent years, help desk software has been responsible for transforming many small businesses and making them more efficient and customer friendly. As with any software package, the trick is choosing the right one to fit a company’s needs.

With the shape of today’s economy, small businesses need any advantage they can get. Help desk software can be extremely beneficial, but choosing the wrong one could end up costing the company money. Before choosing a help desk, there are several things that should be considered, as outlined below:

*Business mission – Before purchasing any software package, it is important to take a look at what is expected of the program and what the benefits would include. This should be documented so it can be referred to while the search is being conducted.

*Record specifics – Determine what the needs of the company are and how help desk will be expected to aid in them. Consider how the software will interact with customers and employees. What sort of information will it collect? If the business is looking to switch from one help desk version to another, make notes about the shortcomings of the software that is currently in use. If this is the first time buying such software, contact other businesses that are similar and find out which packages work for them. Make sure it is adaptable as the company grows.

*Budget and time – Decide how much can be spent on the software and how soon it must be implemented. There are free versions of help desk available, but they may not meet the needs of the business. They may also be lacking in technical assistance if something should go wrong. It is also important to figure out how soon the software needs to be installed and how long it will take to train employees.

*Make a shortlist – Narrow the search list down to two or three potential products that appear to meet the company’s needs, fit the budget and can be installed in the given time frame. Arrange some time to review them.

*Interview vendors – Have prospective vendors prepare demonstrations of the software on the shortlist, but make sure to set up the necessary requirements with them beforehand. Look for vendors that are the most proactive and seem open to solutions that suit a particular business.

*Make the selection – After the vendor demonstrations, select which help desk software best suits all the company’s needs and which vendor can make it happen. Negotiations can then begin. If all goes well, that should be the end. Otherwise, move to the next one on the list.

Help desk software has been a great invention to make small businesses more efficient, and as such has grown in popularity in recent years. Purchasing the right one can vastly improve a company’s operations, while the wrong one can be a waste of money and ruin the company’s reputation. Proper planning and careful research can help a business owner avoid any potential pitfalls.

Image credit:AlanClarkDesign

This is a guest post from Sarah Peterson. Sarah is a contributing writer for a website that provides help desk reviews and offers business owners advice on finding the best solution for their customer service needs.


Are You A Great Manager?

Being a successful business owner means you need to be a good manager.  That is, unless you want to forever be a one employee company.

Your ability to manage other people can mean the difference between being a slave to your business (you do everything, always), and having the freedom to use your time how you want (your employees mind the store).  I'm sure when you were first envisioning life as a business owner, you were dreaming of the latter.

If you ever want a chance at having time away from your business, or even expanding to additional locations (there is only one of you), you must be able to do 4 things that will make you a great manager.

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. ~Steven Covey

Hire the right team members

Most first time business owners may have managed people in the past, but few have ever actually interviewed and hired people before.  If you get this step wrong, the rest of the points below won't matter.  When it comes to hiring, as the saying goes, a leopard can't change it's spots.

The problem that most first time business owners make in this area is that they get impatient and frustrated with the slow moving pace of the hiring process (us entrepreneurs like to race through everything!) and eventually “settle” on someone, just to end the pain of hiring.

So what do you do?

Take your time. It may seem like an eternity but good people are out there.  Start the hiring process long before you will actually need someone to be sure you don't rush through the process and make a poor hiring decision.

Know what you are looking for, be specific!  Have a game plan before you ever post a job opening.  Do you know what the ideal employee looks like?  Do you know what skills and talents are required to be that super employee?   In the ground breaking management book, First Break All The Rules, the authors stress the importance of hiring for talent over experience, intelligence and determination.

Have a trial period.  I never simply hire a person, not until they have proven they can do the job with excellence and they work well with the rest of the team.  All new hires are on a 30 day trial period (with pay) with a weekly progress report on how they are doing.  You never know how someone will perform until they actually have to.

Have a proper on-boarding process.  Once you hire that great employee, make sure you make the most of it by providing a great initial experience for them.  The first few weeks is where an employee decides if this job will be a brief pit stop or a lasting career.

“The less people know, the more they yell.” ~Seth Godin

Communicate Clearly with your employees

Nothing breaks down the manager/employee relationship faster than not communicating with them.  Don't be the manager who only calls on their employees when there is a problem.  Lack of communication translates into lack of caring, and yes, your employees want to know that you actually care about them.

So what do you do?

Set expectations.  Let your employees know from day one what you expect from them.  Poor managers leave their people constantly “guessing” what is expected of them.  If you are very, very clear on what you want and what is expected (and remind everyone often), everyone will be on the same page and will know what is expected of them.

Give frequent feedback.  Don't wait until a quarterly evaluation to let your employees know if they are doing a good or a poor job.  Give feedback as things happen, as long as your being constructive and not critical of your employees.  Treat the positives as an opportunity to celebrate and mistakes as an opportunity to learn.

Be open to feedback from your employees.  Most managers will tell you “my people can tell me anything”, but if you ask their employees, almost all of them will tell you “You can tell him anything, as long as it's what he wants to hear”.  Be genuine in your wanting open communications with your employees, they know when you are full of it, even if you don't.

A manager's task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant–and that applies fully as much to the manager's boss as it applies to the manager's subordinates. ~ Peter Drucker

Motivate and develop your employees

Being genuinely concerned about the growth and development of your employees will earn you a world of loyalty.  Not only their development at work, but in their lives as well.  One of the biggest reasons employees are satisfied at their job is that they feel that they are always learning and growing as an employee and as a person.  It's your job as a manager to bring out the best in all of your people.

So what do you do?

Find out what your employees are good at, and develop those talents even further.  Like a good baseball manager, it's your job to find the hidden talents of all of your players and bring them out to the surface.

Keep the work interesting.  Nothing kills motivation (and productivity) more than boredom.  Boredom comes when you are not being challenged, when you are not learning something new.  Keep your employees engaged in their work by teaching them new skills, challenging them to do more than they are doing and to think creatively about their work.

Know what motivates them.  If you know what motivates them, what really gets them excited, you can use that to bring out the best in them.  Does your employee value more time off?  Award time off for that employee if they reach certain goals and milestones.  Others may want more money, another may want recognition….it's your job as a manager to find out and use this information as motivation.

Celebrate the little things.  Don't wait until something “big” happens, look for those little things your employees do as a reason to praise them.  Everyone loves to be acknowledged for a job well done.

Men and women want to do a good job, and if they are provided the proper environment, they will do so. ~William Hewlett

Trust your employees

Your job as a manger is not to get stuff done, but to get other to get stuff done.  You should be providing all of the tools, skills and resources so that your employees can do their best work and get the job done.  This means that once you have given them these things, you need to step aside and let them work.

So what do you do?

Don't micro-manage.  Everyone hates the manager that is always looking over their shoulder, so don't do it.  If you did your job as a manager (and everything outlined in this article), you shouldn't have to.  Managers that do this either don't trust their employees (didn't hire correctly) or are very insecure in their position as manager (I feel sorry for their employees)

Let them make mistakes.  They will make them, but that's the only way they will learn and grow.  Be there to give feedback (and re-training if necessary), but don't be the manager who always jumps in at the first sign of a challenge.  Your employees will never learn and develop if they never have to think their way through a difficult situation.  Don't let your employees form a dependency on you, you will never be free from your business if you do.

Give responsibility.  Let your employees make decisions, and be responsible for them.  Give them authority to make decisions, set  guidelines where they are allowed to show discretion in a situation, like giving a discount to an unhappy customer.  A terrible manager will make their employees responsible for things they have no control over.

Businesspeople will be responsible if they are truly given responsibility without second-guessing. ~Chuck Martin

Are you a great manager?

Are you a manager who does all (or most) of the above?  Is there another management trait that is missing here?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on what it takes to be a great manager!


Small Business Toolbox – February Fifth

Each week I like to post useful tools and resources that you may be able to use for your business.  The resources I post here are either free or available at a low cost.

I don’t go into much detail here, so feel free to check them out yourself and let me know what you think.  If you know of any great tools and services that will help small business owners, please share them in the comments below.

Gremlin – A social media tool for small business owners that lets you manage your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin accounts all from a single online dashboard.  Lots of other social media services can also be added.  A generous free plan with paid options for seasoned social media marketers.

Freedcamp – A free and robust project management and team collaboration tool.  You can customize your projects with dozens of apps and make communicating with team members a breeze.

Have questions about the best tools to use for your business?  Contact me with your questions and you can rest assured you will receive a response!  Contact me here