Operating a business and operating a successful business are two very different things. And making money isn't the only different, as commonly thought by many!
Operating a business involves the creation, management, and maintenance of your online space. But running a successful business means accomplishing your goals, making money and providing insightful information to your audience, among other very important elements.
Those looking to start businesses want to reach success, it's true and we shouldn't be ashamed to want this success. The one thing we need to know about success is that it has a different meaning to different people. For example, my definition of success could be making $100,000 a year - a simple monetary goal - while another's definition could be wanting to accomplish writing 100 blog posts this year - a simple content goal.
What I'm trying to say is, don't ever compare your version of success to someone else's because they aren't the same.
What is the same is the qualities and resources needed to reach success.
In order to reach success you first have to maintain the qualities of a successful business owner. These qualities include
- adapting to change
And then there are the resources you need to run your business. Resources come in many forms including abilities, skills, money, customers, audience, products, services, etc!
But that isn't all!
There is another very important aspect to running your business that this post is going to specifically focus on...TOOLS! Without important business tools the ability to run a successful business might be a very long and hard struggle. Today, I'm taking you behind-the-scenes of Studio Krystal and showcasing just a few of the business tools that have made my business successful and how you can implement this to take your business to the next level.
Here at Studio Krystal, it's all about being simple and being strategic so I use my tools to fill my needs. Therefore my systems and thus, my tools, could be very different than other successful businesses. Other business owners might be looking for more in-depth, complicated and all-in-systems. But those types of systems just don't fit my business aesthetic.
Let's get into what I'm using:
PayPal Merchant Services & Processing:
Being in business means handling the exchange of money. There are an endless list of possibilities out there for this type of payment processing software including Strip and 17Hats, just to name a few. In the beginning stages of your business you are going to spend a period of time searching for information on payment processing software. In which, you are going to find hundreds of options.
But there is one classic platform that stands out: PayPal.
This has been the platform that I have decided to use for my business. Most of my clients, friends, family and audience is pretty familiar with the platform 1) because they've used it themselves or 2) because PayPal has such incredible marketing that it is a recognizable brand.
PayPal has NEVER let me down in business. Within PayPal it provides me all the necessary means to invoice, request payment, take payment (through various methods) and provides both myself and my clients with detailed documented information of our transactions. On top of this, PayPal is extremely safe, secure and the easiest to use!
Microsoft Office Suite:
One of the most basic systems that I use is the Microsoft Office Suite. Its a better basic set of programs including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and others. However, I don’t use all of the programs provided. There are only really three programs within the Microsoft Office Suite that have become an asset to my business.
Microsoft Word's function is pretty obvious, it's for writing and that's exactly the way I am choosing to use this platform. This is because it allows me to get away from all of the other platforms – such as Facebook – that might distract me while I write. If I were simply writing this post right in Squarespace I would be much more tempted to visit another tab and open something distracting!
This has allowed me to speed up my writing time, often writing it posts in about an hour. And really dedicating myself to the content that I'm writing. Which in turn, provides a higher level of content to you to learn more!
Microsoft Word can also have many other uses for your business including drafting social media content, drafting emails and even creating tables to help you track items like your social media following or analytics.
Microsoft Excel is my absolutely favorite program that comes within the Microsoft Suite. This is because a large focus of taking my business into 2017 involved created simple and strategic systems for myself. To learn all about these simple and strategic systems you can read THIS POST where you can also download some free spreadsheets of your own!
Microsoft Excel aided in creating these systems by allowing me to create spreadsheets for tracking the following (and much more):
- Social Media Statistics
- Social Media Scheduling
- Goal Setting
Having these systems in place via Microsoft Excel allows me to not only track data but also analyze the data in a simpler manner as opposed to spending hours searching in other areas, such as Google Analytics for what I need.
When it comes to wanting to create a new system for my business, track something or create an awesome opt-in freebie for my readers you can often find me designing using Excel.
My handy-dandy email platform of choice also sinks right to Microsoft Outlook which makes it key in running my business. This is pretty straight forward but without Microsoft Outlook I wouldn’t be able to communicate with clients and complete the designs and work you view on my website
Currently, I operate three different email addresses for various reasons (business, personal and junk, lol) and it’s nice to be able to open Outlook and view all of my email address – and emails – in one neat and organized place. Microsoft Outlook also allows me to create lots and lots of folders to help organize my emails so that I know were everything is.
Peek User Testing:
Even as a Website Designer, when it comes to designing my own website, I'm lost. As designers we are often biased of our own work and because we spend so much time on our client websites our own often gets neglected. When I first started Studio Krystal one of the tools that allowed me to get an unbiased opinion about my website design was Peek User Testing. I know that so many of you are constantly looking for feedback on your websites to better improve your user-experience.
Peek User Testing does just that!
Peek User Testing is a free platform in which you share your website information and then a real person views your website making comments on everything from how easy your website is to navigate to your overall branding. This information is then presented to you via email and a short video of this person actually using your website!
Find this tool here >> CLICK HERE
Websites can easily be slowed down by the overuse of images, coding and many other factors. But how do you know if your website is running at an optimal speed ensuring that it doesn't' effect your user experience or SEO?
One of the latest tools I've found is Pingdom Tools, which allows you to share your website information for a digitally generated report outlining important information about your website speed. On top of that, this website also provides you with information on how you can improve your website speed.
Find this tool here >> CLICK HERE
What is the best platform for scheduling social media?
My answer: Hootsuite.
This is for several reasons including the layout of the platform, ease of use of the platform and free and premium features it offers. By far, it has allowed me to schedule social media content for a large variety of my platforms including Facebook (Groups and Pages), Twitter, and Instagram.
This is the platform I still use today specifically for my Facebook Page content because I find it very easy to use, simple and helps me upload my content in a very short period of time. For my additional Facebook content, such as my Facebook Group I’ve actually migrated to another platform!.
When scheduling my Facebook Group content, I'm all about using Buffer. When I first started my online journey over 2-years ago it was Buffer that allowed me to schedule my content. But as my wants and needs grew I realized that Buffer wasn’t quite the right fit for me. Therefore, I moved to Hootsuite where at the time I began scheduling all of my social media content! But I've since narrowed down my social media use and now Facebook and Pinterest are where I spend my time.
Now that I'm doing more Facebook Group administrative work and promotions I find that Buffer has a much more user-friendly interface for scheduling this content. I also find that I like having this type of content separate from the rest since I don’t utilize my Facebook Group solely for marketing my business.
Squarespace is KEY in my business and by now you’ve heard me talk very proudly, positive and loud about the platform. For those of you know might not know, my website is hosted on Squarespace. I've spent hours writing content on Squarespace and I have even more posts coming in the future pertaining to Squarespace. But let me give you the quick and simple version!
Squarespace provides an all-in-one experience for its user alongside some pretty other amazing features including some pretty great design features, which you can learn about by CLICKING HERE.
Essentially, Squarespace is the heart and soul to my business and it really is the reason that my business exists.
Squarespace plays such an important role in my business that I couldn’t help but include it within this post. I think it’s a huge under-valued tool and I hope to shine light on just how amazing and positive Squarespace can be for other business!
Some of you might think that social media isn’t a business-related tool but in fact, I’m here to provide a new insight. Social Media is just that, social media. But it is also a marketing tool used by many businesses to promote their business, engage with their consumers, and otherwise create business relationships.
The two social media platforms that I classify ‘tools’ are Facebook and Pinterest!
When it comes to Facebook being used as a business tool I’m specifically wanting to chat about Facebook Groups – while pages are important it’s often groups that are now used for the majority of marketing.
Many of you might be reading this post today because you found the link in a Facebook Group. To me, this means that my marketing technique – while as simple as dropping a link – are working. Facebook Groups as a business tool are often under-valued – much like Squarespace – but I believe that these groups can provide you something that no other social media platform can. Community.
Facebook Groups were created for several reasons but the main reason that I use Facebook Groups is because I’m looking to market my content and create a community. This isn’t easily done on other platforms.
And then there is Pinterest.
One thing I want to point out about Pinterest is that it is NOT a social media platform and actually it’s a search engine – much like Google. This is one of the main reasons that I classify it as a business tool versus social media. You’ve heard popular business owners like Melyssa Griffin and McKinizie Bean rave about Pinterest and for good reason. It’s a tool and it really isn’t being used properly.
For my business I treat Pinterest just like Google in that the content I share to Pinterest has to be optimized for Pinterest and it has to be properly placed on Pinterest to ensure I get the best return on investment for my work.
What business tools do you use to keep things simple, strategic and elevate your success?
As my business grows so do my needs and that why I’m constantly on the hunt for brand new tools and systems. I'm also aware that technology is constantly changing and with that comes the implementation of newer software and newer systems.
The best place to find out about new technology, new system and new tools is directly from YOU! Leave me a comment below telling me your favorite business tool OR join my Facebook Group where each week we share all about our favorite business tools and much more!