Guest blog from Laura Parker – Shoreway Business Support: ‘The Best Free Tools to Boost Business Productivity’

I’m super pleased to welcome Laura Parker from Shoreway Business Support to my blog this week. Laura helps busy business owners with business support, social & digital marketing and content creation. Here, she has some fantastic tips on the best free apps and websites to help you to be super organised and boost your business productivity:

Like many of you, I started my own business to try and find that elusive balance between being a mum and contributing to the family income.  Trying to find this balance for us as a family means that I try to make my working day between 9 and 3. To run a business within these hours means one thing – I have to be super organised!

To help me with my ongoing quest for balance, I utilise a lot of free apps and websites, and I thought it might be useful for me to pull them together in one blog post for you. I hope you find at least one here that makes your day that little bit easier.

Canva

If there is one app I couldn’t live without:  This. Is. It.

Need a professional looking flyer?  Canva.  Need a social media graphic?  Canva. Need a swish and professional CV? Canva. You get the picture!  Canva allows you to create graphics in keeping with your brand identity, with a huge amount of free options of background/ text/ images, etc.

If you do one thing today, take a look at Canva!

Trello

Trello is perfect for organising work flow.  If you don’t already use Trello for your own business, clients or personal lists, then take a look.  I love it.  You create a ‘board’ per project, and then within that board you create cards (or lists) of workflows within that project.  Then, within that card/ workflow, you can then list all the activities you need to do. You can add due date, colour codes, attach images, assign tasks, add link to external pages and lots more.

Slack

The perfect option when there are more than two people discussing more than one topic.  Rather than endless emails going backward and forwards, Slack allows you to keep all the messages on a ‘board’.  You select which topic you would like to update the other users with, and hey presto! They will then get a notification that you have made an update.

Unfold

My absolute favourite Instagram app for my own account and those of my clients.  Unfold is all about gorgeous, easy on the eye Stories templates (and we all know how hot Stories are right now).  You get a couple of free options, and then pay (really low cost) if you want any of the additional paid for templates.  I love it and I think you will too!


LastPass

If you are continually forgetting passwords, take a look at LastPass – it is sooooo clever!  Once installed, it will remember all of your passwords in its ‘vault’.  It also allows you to share your passwords with others, without them actually seeing them.

FocusBooster

As someone who is obsessive about improving time management and finding different strategies to improve how I work, I love this app.  It is based on the Pomodoro method of working within your limited time rather than against it.  If you are looking for ways to improve your productivity, take a look.

Planoly

If you want to make the aesthetic of your Instagram page really stand out, Planoly is a great way of planning your grid so that you can see how the flow of posts looks before you actually share them.  You have the capability to schedule the posts, move them around and the best bit is that you can save different batches of hashtags to use for different types of posts.

I hope you have found these tips useful to boost your business productivity.

*About Shoreway Business Support*

My name is Laura and I run Shoreway Business Support. I work with busy business owners who aren’t ready to hire someone, but need to outsource chunks of their To-Do List in order to keep their sanity. I specialise in using my ‘Monica’ skills to get my clients organised by implementing processes. https://www.shorewaybusiness.co.uk

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