As the year comes to an end, we spend time reflecting on what worked, what didn’t, and how we will move things forward for our business in the new year. With these thoughts comes a long list of tools to consider using to accomplish or organize these goals. After all, there is almost always an app for that!
But discovering which of those tools is the best one to use can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re sharing 10 tools we used in 2021 that we can’t live without in 2022.
Our list of must-have tools have changed our work lives for the better. These tools have saved us and our clients time. They’ve kept us organized in how we share and receive information. They’ve helped our processes be more productive and efficient.
Here are our top 10 favorite tools we think every business leader should use –
This graphic design tool for non-graphic designers can be your best friend! Canva is a cloud-based software, so there is no downloading of special software that you can only access from a single device. With Canva, you can access your designs from anywhere as long as you have internet.
The Pro version unlocks things you can’t have in the free version but you can accomplish a lot in Canva without paying a dime. You can make graphics for social media or emails, banners for your website, flyers, postcards, presentations, infographics, and SO MUCH more. Canva has predefined sizes and templates so you can choose what you want to make and for which platform with little effort, then save your brand’s colors, fonts, and logos so you look and feel the same in every design.
If Canva is for you, check out our online course Graphic Design Basics to Beautify Your Brand (with Canva) to get started designing like a pro today.
Scheduling meetings has never been easier! Going back and forth with someone to pick a meeting time can take multiple emails. Throw a third or fourth person in the mix and it can take days. All of that hassle was solved when we started using Calendly.
Calendly links to your calendar so it knows when you are/aren’t available. It does take a little calendar management on your part to block off when you are not available to ensure you don’t double book yourself, but it’s worth it. When you send your Calendly link to someone, they will see the times you’re available and choose one that works for them. Once they book a meeting, it pops right onto your calendars. You can even set up a questionnaire for them to fill out before the meeting, automate confirmation emails, or integrate Zoom so they get a meeting link without you lifting a finger.
No one likes to be surprised at the end of the year when it comes to what is owed to Uncle Sam. Quickbooks Self-Employed is designed for the business owner who wants to be aware of what they owe in real-time for taxes.
With Quickbooks Self-Employed, you can tag expenses so when they occur again, they get categorized automatically as a business expense, operating expense, travel expense, etc. With every transaction, it updates your expected taxes so you stay in-the-know about what you owe based on the type of expenses you made. This takes the guessing out of the “is this something I will pay taxes on” question. Knowing what you owe also means you can keep that in your tax account and cut a check at the end of the year with little stress.
Honeybook offers a project management tool and invoicing system all in one. We use it exclusively for invoicing even though Quickbooks Self-Employed could also send invoices. Here’s why:
Honeybook allows you to manage all your current and prospective clients along with their projects, including making custom contracts that both parties sign. You have the ability to log hours you spend and the hourly rate for that time so you have an accurate total of what the client owes at all times. As well, you can enter tasks and their due dates so they show up on your daily to-do list. Having a way to track tasks, time, and send proposals, contracts, and invoices from one place makes it easier to keep track of your clients and your workflow.
Google Workspace offers just about everything you need to help manage your business. Formally called G Suite, the revamped Workspace gives you and your team access to a digital collaborating space. On top of the more well-known features such as Docs, Drive, Calendar and Gmail, you also get Meet, Chat, Forms, Sheets, Keep, and more.
Google Workspace apps are all accessible from the cloud so you can login from any device, including your cell phone if you’ve downloaded the app. If you are a lover of lists (like we are), using Google Keep to track your thoughts on the fly is helpful, and then being able to share those notes with other people is an added bonus. We could go on forever about all the ways to use your Workspace but we’ll sum it up by saying this suite of apps is an inclusive solution for most businesses.
If you have a team with multiple people and several conversations happening at once, then Slack is probably for you. Although you can use Google Chat to “ping” a coworker, what we like about Slack are the different “channels” that help organize topics or projects.
As an agency with multiple projects happening simultaneously, and sometimes with more than one person working on different parts of a project, Slack allows us to name channels for the proper conversation, inviting only the people who need to be in that part of the conversation. This helps keep relevant conversation in one thread so you can find it and reference it later. It also alleviates losing things in your email (which happens to the best of us!). New in 2022, you can now send video chat in a thread for more complex conversations.
A lesser known tool just a few years ago, the pandemic has made Zoom a household name. Zoom has capitalized on the opportunity to make it easy to meet anyone, anywhere which has helped millions of people stay connected virtually.
You can do similar things via Google Meet, but what we like about Zoom is its various functionality inside and outside of meetings. You can schedule meetings that people can register for ahead of time and get their link sent to their inbox. You can create “breakout rooms” with your attendees to make a larger group smaller for periods of time. You can put on captions for the hearing impaired. There are many more features, but we think Zoom is the leader in virtual meeting software.
It’s 2022 so the chance that your business is on social media is high. If it is not, please change that. We would not do our due diligence as a marketing agency if we didn’t encourage you otherwise. That said, one of the things we hear a lot from people struggling with posting to social media is that they get busy and forget. Buffer takes that out of the equation!
Buffer allows you to create your social posts ahead of time and schedule them for a time/date to publish automatically. Being able to schedule in advance allows you the time and freedom to create a post, then walk away (or go on vacation) and let Buffer send it into the world. You can manage up to three social media channels for free. The paid version gives you added perks and more ability to schedule further out, but the free version will get the job done if planning a couple weeks of content ahead of time is your goal.
Don’t forget to pick your hashtags! Get 10 Need-to-Knows About Using Hashtags for free today! Click here for the downloadable PDF.
On the topic of social media, hopefully you are also using Stories on Instagram. If so, you might have noticed that some people have pretty fancy Story layouts. You might have also wondered how they did that. It could have been the InStories app!
InStories has templates designed for Instagram and they add new and seasonal ones all the time. The templates are modern, sleek, and customizable. You can change colors and fonts, add your logo, and adjust elements as desired. Perhaps one of the coolest things about InStories are all the animations. You can make text fly across the screen, create slide shows that combine photo and video, and many other things that stimulate engagement. This is a paid app, but we think your Stories need InStories in their life.
InShot is a video editing app you can use on the go. Record a video on your phone, open the app, and start editing. This is a paid app and requires you to use Mac products at iOS 11 or later, but it’s worth the expense if you use video content at all on your social media.
InShot makes your videos look professional without using complicated software made for professionals. It allows you to choose the size you want your video to be, whether it be for YouTube, TikTik, or Instagram so they are the perfect size for your chosen platform. You can also add captions, logos, or your brand’s colors, and add special backgrounds, emojis, and other fun elements.
That rounds out our top 10 favorite tools for 2022! We hope you discovered a few new ones you need in your life.
Click here to learn How to Choose the Right Social Media for Your Business.