In an effort to be ever more productive and efficient, we have been programmed to continually seek the newest technology, gadgets, apps and programs; however, I've come to realize that in practice, there is a fine line that separates efficiency from over-complication. My goal when choosing to use a specific tool is that it must be simple and efficient while maximizing a very specific purpose or outcome I want for my business.

Here are six of my favorite business management tools:

Evernote: Tracking and organizing tasks and to-do lists, projects, and brainstorming
Evernote is a robust productivity program that is both a program to download on your computer, use online and also sync with a user-friendly app. Organization and prioritization is easy and it has a sharing capability. I use it for my team members to add notes to meeting agendas or update issues to streamline communication and cut-down email. (Free, with upgrade options;www.evernote.com)

Clinchpad: Lead Tracker
I was looking for a simple option that would allow me and my team to organize and track new client leads as well as conversion rates and other data so no potential business was left on the table. Clinchpad is a free website that offers several features including tracking different client stages (i.e. prospect, consultation scheduled, in negotiation, conversion, etc.). You can separate your different revenue funnels, for example for different programs or promotions then track conversion rates as well as track where your best leads are generated from (email marketing, referral, etc.). Hoping for an app soon! (Free, with upgrade options; www.clinchpad.com)

Client management system 
We currently use MindBody in my studio, but there are several client management systems available for the fitness industry. This is the hub of all client and staff information, automatic billing, scheduling and financial reporting. (Fees vary)

Email marketing platform
Email marketing is the single most important tool for generating new business as well as for retention. I currently use Constant Contact; again, there are several companies available for what you need for your business. We are vigilant with keeping our lists as clean as possible (no spam emails), we keep separate lists for leads, current clients and special programs so we can target our emails accordingly. (Fees vary, but are generally less than $50/month with an email list less than about 5000)

Online banking/banking apps
This might sound obvious, but every time I can use my bank's app to deposit the occasional check we receive (we primarily run on auto-debit and credit), it saves me or a staff member the valuable time of having to physically go to the bank. I also audit all deposits and withdrawals. (Most likely no cost as part of your bank account features)

If you find yourself, like I do, right around April 1 frantically gathering receipts, mileage and other information for your accountant in order to file your annual tax return, Expensify is a great app that simplifies makes this simple! Categorize your expenses, track mileage (you can turn on the GPS feature and it tracks it automatically while you're driving) and even take pictures of your receipts and organize as necessary. The app generates reports that you can email for reimbursements or send to your accountant (they’ll love you for it). (Free, with upgrade options; www.expensify.com)

Integrate news tool and technology only when you can clearly identify how it will have a direct impact on a specific outcome or relieve a pain point in your business and don't forget to leverage your current tools that may help you achieve the same outcome. Create your own simple, favorite list of tools that help you move the needle in your business!


How much of your time would you estimate you spend growing your business?