I’m Ben Daron, cofounder of Advisor Roots and a lifelong tech enthusiast. I spend a lot of time exploring the latest technology, and I’m always excited when I can help find the best solutions for our clients.
For every aspect of your business—marketing, planning, automating, billing, tracking—there are subscription services and software solutions you can purchase that promise to lessen your burdens. But the options are so numerous that it can be really difficult to know which to choose.
So, to help wade through the sea of choices, here are my top ten recommendations for supercharging your business.
There are a lot of password managers out there. Our team uses 1Password because it has an easy-to-use interface and a better security record than alternatives like LastPass. If you’re a growing company that needs to make it easy to onboard and offboard contractors, employees, and teams, 1Password is the most secure and user-friendly choice.
Active Campaign is my favorite tool for sending out marketing emails, newsletters, and email sequences. It’s powerful but easy to use, with customization options and sophisticated marketing automation. The less feature-rich MailChimp is a popular choice because of its free plan, but the price differential shrinks as your list grows beyond 1K subscribers. If you’re serious about your email list—and you should be—you’ll want to be on Active Campaign sooner rather than later.
Loom is the ideal mid-point between live conferencing and email. When you can’t find time for a live meeting, you can record your screen and your explanation or walkthrough of an idea, and send it off to be viewed by the recipient in their own time. It’s also easy to document a process visually for training or reference. Avoid the exhaustion of long emails and the inconvenience of finding a time when everyone is available, and use Loom you to reply to questions and comments when you’re able.
The whiteboard is a classic conference room workhorse, but with the increase in remote work, collaborating on a physical board is often impractical or impossible. Figjam recreates the same functionality remotely, letting you work with people all over the world. It’s the perfect tool for process mapping, planning, brain dumps, and thinking through new ideas. And while wiping a physical whiteboard is absolute, Figjam keeps a complete board history so you can check back and see exactly what you were discussing last quarter or last year.
Notion is a powerful organizational and project management system that allows you to keep track of documents, SOPs, handbooks, editorial calendar planning, to-do lists, and more. At Advisor Roots, we use it as an information hub for clients, employees, and contractors. We’ve been able to create mini-portals, giving our clients a shared link so they can see any documentation we’ve created for them. Some other organizations have even had success using Notion as a project management system! With a tool as flexible as Notion, the possibilities are pretty close to endless.
Years ago a politician described the Internet as “a series of tubes.” While that’s actually a terrible description of the Internet, it’s a pretty useful way to think of Zapier’s functionality: moving data from one app into others. Zapier is a great tool for automating repeatable tasks in multiple systems, such as taking data from a website form and dropping it into your CRM. Beyond data, Zapier is perfect for workflows: when you have a series of activities you always perform one after the other, Zapier can use each event to trigger the next, knocking down your to-do list like dominos. Since it works with over 4,000 different apps, it can handle almost anything you throw at it.
Getting contracts, proposals, and agreements created, sent to the relevant parties, signed, and returned always takes more time than it really should. PandaDoc is a first-rate e-signature platform that saves time and makes document creation much easier. It’s more customizable and flexible than its competitor DocuSign, and it’s easy to create document templates and save different sections that you want to use again. Bonus: you can use Zapier to integrate PandaDoc with your CRM and payment processing system!
Accountants consider QuickBooks the gold standard for bookkeeping and financial reporting for a reason. While its basic functionality is invoicing and tracking bills, it also allows you to extract high-level reports so you can see how your business is doing. QuickBooks can also automate transaction monitoring and track how revenue is flowing in and out. If you have a particularly complex billing process, consider getting the QuickBooks add-on ChargeOver. With ChargeOver, you’ll be able to set up payment schedules, retainers, or recurring subscription billing.
Perhaps someday all mail will be electronic, but in the meantime, this virtual mailbox service is a great way to lessen the burden of dealing with snail mail. Traveling Mailbox will give you a business mailing address where all your traditional mail will go. They’ll email you scans of the envelopes and you can choose for each piece of mail to be sent directly to you, opened and scanned, or shredded. If your business is entirely remote, you’ll never have to use your home address or PO box for business mail. Even if you’re not remote, why deal with junk mail and shredding if someone can do it for you?
- CRMs and Project Management Tools
Unfortunately, I can’t give you a one-size-fits-all recommendation for CRMs or project management software. Every business is unique and has different requirements for functionality, and every CRM or project management tool is better at some things than others. When a client asks us for advice, we audit their business, research their needs, and make a recommendation based on that information.
It’s important to be thoughtful and thorough when choosing key business tools. The right choice will make your business run more smoothly, but the wrong choice could cost you time and money. If you’re looking for customized advice on how to choose or use software and services for your business, The Community is a great place to start. You can ask for advice or start a conversation on the topic, and our biweekly Coworking Office Hours are great for getting individualized advice.