• Breanna Bortner, Owner

The Simple Bare Necessities

Whether you have been in business for 2 weeks or 2 years, you need a strong infrastructure of systems to maintain your business . I don't know of any thriving businesses that work off of post-it's and call logs these days. These are the bare necessities that I recommend when you are just starting out or to have in place when you are looking to scale.

Google Workspace

When I first started my business, I went to the store and bought a new computer (my old laptop was a dinosaur) and a yearly subscription for Microsoft Suite products including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These systems were vital in my corporate background, but I quickly found that in this online space, Google is where everyone lives.

Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Drive are my go-to systems. The best part? These are all completely FREE. Since many other business owners operate with Google, you will be able to easily share documents and collaborate.

Although I still do use my Microsoft products out of habit, I truly do not need them because Word = Docs, Excel = Sheets, and Powerpoint = Slides. Save yourself the money and sign up for a Google account to get access to a wide array of free applications!

Project Management System

You are going to need a place to organize your projects, task and goals. If you want to expand your team in the future, having access to a project management system will make your life so much easier when it comes to delegating tasks. I personally use Asana and also support clients who use it. To document my goals and brainstorm ideas, I use Trello.

There is a different project management system for everyone out there, depending on your needs and likes. Aesthetically, I like systems that are minimalistic and not too busy. Since most project management systems have a basic plan or free trial, I recommend trying a few different systems out and shopping around before you commit to one.

I personally believe that there is nothing better than clicking a check mark to indicate that you have completed a task! (Maybe that is just the Virgo in me?)

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

You are running a professional business and with that comes sending out proposals, contracts, and invoices. I have heard horror stories of people providing services and dealing with problems like not getting paid, not agreeing with the clients on the project terms, and clients leaving with no advance notice. I am happy to say that I have yet to encounter these types of problems and I want to correlate that to my client onboarding process.

When clients start doing business with me, they see that I am not just a person - I am truly running a business. I have professional looking proposals, contracts, and invoices that can be paid with credit card or ACH payment (invoices should never be paid through Paypal or Venmo). I think that having these features makes a lasting impression.

There are systems like Honeybook, Dubsado, 17Hats and Zoho that are used quite often in this online space. These can be quite the process to set up, if you are not savvy with systems I would recommend finding an implementation specialist (like me) to support you with this.

Bookkeeping System

At a minimum, you are going to need to know what is coming in and out of business on a monthly basis. This means after you set up your business bank account, you will want some sort of system to track your income and expenses. Many people swear by an online Quickbooks subscription. They offer various different levels of packages based on your needs.

If you are feeling up for it, you could also track income and expenses in an Excel or Sheets spreadsheet. Of course, with that comes more opportunity for error. But hey, we didn't pay for accounting classes in college for nothing, right?!

Other Systems & Applications I Cannot Live Without

  • Zoom - I can do everything I need to currently with my free account. Including having 1:1 calls with clients and joining networking calls. I integrated my Zoom to my Gmail account and now can easily add a meeting link to events and appointments with the click of a button.

  • Canva - This website is the holy grail! I've been using Canva for quite a few years, and even created graphics for my wedding using the site. There are a variety of templates for flyers, business cards, Instagram posts, and more available for free on the site. You can customize them with your branded colors and fonts. If you use this system often, I recommend upgrading to Pro to get access to the big library of stock photos, fonts, and clipart available. This site makes design fun and easy.

  • Facebook Business Page - When starting out, you don't need to feel the immediate pressure of building a website or spending a lot of money for someone to build it for you. You can start with a simple Facebook Page where you can advertise your services and provide value to your audience. This way, when people are interested in your services, you can easily direct them to this page as a secondary resource. This is a great place to start building your brand and to showcase client reviews!

  • Calendly - I love the simplicity of a Calendly booking page. When I have a prospective client that wants to book a call with me, I just send them a scheduling link. This saves time with the back and forth conversations that are like "Are you available on this day at this time?" "No, that doesn't work for me." "Okay, what about this day?". Allow your prospective clients to pick a time that works mutually for the both of you and also have the ability to reschedule calls if something comes up!

I hope that this post was helpful to let you know what types of system can help support you and your business. Until your business is booming, you can utilize the free trials and basic subscriptions for many of the systems I mentioned above. You will know when have reached your max capability within the programs and its time to upgrade your subscription for maximum benefits!

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