8 Tools To Help Run Your Business Effortlessly

You’re a small business owner with too many things to do and too little time to do them in.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way to do things automatically and find more time in your day?

Lucky for you, we’ve found just the apps that can do that and more. Run your business – and your life – more efficiently in 2013 with help from the 8 apps we’ve rounded up for you:

Get Organized

Organization is key to running any business smoothly – and saving your sanity.

Keeping all of your notes, ideas and favorite links in one place makes it easy to access them right when you need them. Storing virtual copies of your business receipts makes it easy to categorize everything at tax time. Tracking all of your finances at-a-glance can save you from a lot of spending headaches.

These tools will help you keep everything in order:

Click to see full-size screenshot.

Evernote: Keep Your Ideas Organized
What it is: A virtual notebook for saving anything and everything.
What it does: Are you a chronic bookmarker, saving links for later? Do you have to-do lists scattered everywhere and Post-It Note reminders all over your workspace? Do you get brilliant ideas while you’re out somewhere and don’t have anywhere to jot them down? Evernote saves, stores and organizes all of these for you through virtual notebooks:

Evernote has apps for your computer, smartphone and tablet, and syncs your notes across all of your devices, so you’ll always have the information you need right at your fingertips.

Click to see full-size screenshot.

Shoeboxed: File All Your Important Papers Online

What it is: A virtual filing cabinet for your receipts and other business documents.
What it does: Saves you from hunting down paper receipts at tax time and gets rid of that big stack of important business papers. Shoeboxed lets you either mail or scan receipts and other documents and organizes them for you in an online account. You can get rid of all that paper, save some drawer and desk space and still have access to everything you need.

Click to see full-sized screenshot.

Mint: Track All Your Finances In One Place
What it is: A personal finance and budgeting tool.
What it does: Mint lets you track exactly where your money is going, set budgets and financial goals, and see all of your bank accounts and credit cards at one glance. Their mobile app makes it easy to check your finances on the go.

Create and Share Content

Content creation can be a chore that you don’t always have time for. Tracking down ideas to write about, including eye-catching images and getting more eyes on your blog posts and emails can take a lot of effort.

These tools are to help you get inspired and share your content more easily:

Click to see full-size screenshot

StumbleUpon: Find Great Sites To Inspire You
What it is: A web browser extension that discovers new websites for you in categories you can specify.
What it does: StumbleUpon is like channel surfing the Internet. You can choose a category to “stumble,” and StumbleUpon will show you random sites listed in that category. Try “stumbling” categories related to your industry the next time you need a flash of inspiration to see what others are writing about.

Click to see full-size screenshot.

Pixlr: Edit Photos On The Fly
What it is: A suite of online image editing tools
What it does: If you need to jazz up an image for a blog post or an email, Pixlr has you covered. The site offers a full-featured editor that’s similar to Photoshop, a more basic editor for making simple adjustments, and a “fun” editor for adding Instagram-like effects to your images. Pixlr also makes their online editors available as apps for Android, iPhone and iPad, so you can edit photos when you’re away from home, too.

Click to see full-size screenshot.

Click to Tweet: Get Others Tweeting For You

What it is: A tweet generator that makes it easy for other people to share your content on Twitter.
What it does: Click to Tweet lets you write a tweet for other people to share. You write a blog post with some tweetable stats or quotes. You want them shared on Twitter. Use Click to Tweet to write out what you want the tweet to say – with a link back to your blog post – and copy and paste the link they provide right into your post. Anyone who clicks the link gets redirected to their own Twitter account with your pre-written tweet ready to send.

Automate To Save Time

While organization is the key to running your business smoothly, automation makes it run effortlessly.

The more things you can schedule in advance to happen automatically, the more time you can save and focus on other areas of your business.

These are tools you can use to stay active on Pinterest and share things between different online accounts with hardly any effort on your part:

Click to see full-size screenshot.

Pingraphy: Schedule Pins In Advance
What it is: A web app to preschedule Pinterest posts.
What it does: Pingraphy is like Hootsuite for Pinterest. You can schedule pins in advance to keep your Pinterest presence active without falling into the time suck and distraction that Pinterest can sometimes create.

Click to see full-size screenshot.

IFTTT: Automate Smaller Tasks
What it is: An online app that can automate almost anything.
What it does: IFTTT (short for “If This Then That”) connects your online services together to automate some of the smaller things you do throughout the day. Have images with a certain hashtag from your personal Instagram account post to your business’s Facebook page. “Star” articles in Google Reader and have them autopost to Hootsuite. Save important events from your calendar to Evernote. IFTTT can save you a lot of time on little tasks.

Save Time With Your Email Marketing, Too

Email marketing is highly profitable tactic for marketing your business. [link to ROI stat] But if you’re both the owner and marketer for your business, finding time to create messages can be a challenge.

Luckily, AWeber has two tools that automate your email marketing, saving you time while keeping you in touch with your customers:

Click to see full-size screenshot.

Follow Up Emails: Send Emails Automatically
What they are: A series of emails that you can write in advance to send automatically when a new customer joins your email list.
What they do: Follow up emails save you time by sending emails to your subscribers automatically. You can write as many emails as you want in advance and schedule them to send at different intervals – daily, weekly, even monthly if you want. Follow ups let you stay in touch with customers at a point where their interest in you is at its highest, and continue following up with less effort through emails that send themselves.

Click to see full-size screenshot.

Instant Blog Newsletters: Turn Blog Posts Into No-Fuss Newsletters

What they are: Emails that send every time you publish a new blog post.
What they do: Blog broadcasts are another great time-saving feature. A new email gets created every time you publish a new blog post, which you can schedule to send to your readers instantly or as a weekly digest. Once you decide how frequently to email your blog posts, your messages will send themselves automatically to all the readers on your list. So much easier than duplicating posts from your blog on your own!

What are some other ways that you save time and keep your business organized? Share with us in the comments!

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19 Comments

  1. Great blog post. All 8 of these tools are tools I’ve never heard of before. But i guess that’s the value of staying on top of the marketplace – you learn new things everyday. Awesome.

    1/21/2013 10:40 am
  2. Good collection! For social media scheduling I connected Tweriod with Bufferapp to schedule posts to any sm channel with one click from my browser or cell phone. It rocks and saves a ton of time.

    1/21/2013 10:38 pm
  3. I am a newbie to AWeber and very very slowly learning the to internet business and marketing. This information will be profitable once I am able to internalize it. You will hear from me more often as my business takes off! thanks.

    1/22/2013 1:44 am
  4. Lew

    Great article on helpful business tools! In addition to Click to Tweet, you might like Linksy. It’s the same click to share concept, but in addition to sharing on Twitter, it allows your readers to share on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ as well — just with one click.

    1/22/2013 12:27 pm
  5. Thanks Rebekah. I don’t know though, these services seem like complicated examples of things we can do on our own with WordPress + Aweber.

    I’ve been building click to tweets manually for a while now, for example.

    How about more old school strategies to grow the list?

    1/23/2013 12:36 pm
  6. I love Evernote. It’s a great way to stay organized and jot down thoughts without having to carry around a notebook. I may have to try The Instant blog posts app. That looks pretty nice!

    1/25/2013 5:44 pm
  7. Hi Rebecca,
    This is indeed a very good list of tools!
    Perhaps you are interested into checking http://www.linktotweet.com web site, that does everything that clicktotweet does, with the addition of detailed statistics around the visits. I think that this adds a lot more value.
    Cheers,
    Zoran

    1/27/2013 12:09 pm
  8. This is a very great post! Very informative and helpful indeed most specially to newbies in business industries and email marketing.

    1/27/2013 8:57 pm
  9. With these points we will definitely get the traffic we need on our blog. Thanks for sharing this great content, I really enjoyed the insight you bring to the topic. Awesome stuff!

    1/31/2013 4:57 pm
  10. Marilyn

    Hi Rebekah,
    This is an excellent list. I personally use many of these tools myself, and I plan to check out some of the tools you mentioned. I also use Hootsuite for tweet scheduling. It’s a huge time-saver. Dropbox and Google Drive/Docs are also amazing apps for small businesses. I also use LifeTopix for personal and business organization. It brings in Evernote, Dropbox, Google Docs/Drive, Google Tasks, Toodledo Tasks and Notes, and Asana into a single organization app covering 12 life topics.

    2/7/2013 12:22 pm
  11. Rebekah, great list of tools! This is actually the first I have heard of Pingraphy and I am excited to try it out for future pins. One tool to add to the list is Pinion – http://www.pinionapp.com – it is a new app coming out that tracks and organized your time and where it’s spent, it provides graphs and charts similar to mint. The article here explains it well – http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/11/pinion-hopes-to-finally-get-ambient-activity-tracking-right-by-distilling-your-activities-to-an-essential-few/

    2/12/2013 3:14 pm
  12. DeAnna –

    Thanks for the tip! We did another round-up of tools last year that featured an app called Rescue Time, which is similar to Pinion. Time-tracking apps are definitely helpful!

    2/12/2013 3:19 pm
  13. Thanks so much for creating this list. I have heard of Stumbleupon but will have to check out the rest!

    2/18/2013 5:10 pm
  14. Barrington Bloomfield

    Thanks you! This list of tools seem so immpressive. We would do well with these tools.

    3/22/2013 5:24 pm
  15. I keep reading about Evernote but I’ve never tried it. Time to put it to the test!

    4/1/2013 2:34 pm
  16. TBL

    I think everyone should consider using evernote for their business. Great tool

    4/7/2013 11:04 am
  17. I’m a small business owner with too many things to do like you said and I was looking some tools to help my business and fortunately I found this post. Well I heard about evernote actually however I find it hard to use, but I’ll give it a try again as soon as possible.

    6/25/2013 12:24 pm
  18. Thanks for this article it’s a very good tools.

    Best Regards
    Freddy from FRANCE

    9/25/2013 10:10 am
  19. Thanks for this. Very helpful!

    4/5/2014 7:32 pm