While we certainly should be thankful for what we as female business owners have year ‘round, there’s just something this time of year that makes us really count our blessings. Chalk it up to the homey holiday season beginning.
At any rate, here are five tools I’m thankful for as a woman entrepreneur. They help me look smarter, cut down on stress, and help me run my business smoothly.
1. Women-Centric Small Business Resources
We all like free resources and tools, but those that cater specifically to women can give us even more of an edge in the business world. If you weren’t aware, the SBA has a Women-Owned Business section on its site that provides information on running a business, securing government contracts, applying for loans, and more.
If you want to find other like-minded women in your community, try National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). The organization has local branches that meet regularly, provide training and education, and give you ample networking opportunities.
And if you’re passionate about making positive changes for women-owned businesses in Washington, get involved with the Women Impacting Public Policy.
2. Stress-Relieving Apps
We’ve all got our own arsenal of mobile apps we love. My tablet and phone include several that help me alleviate stress, be it my Kindle App that lets me pack pounds of leisure reading in a tiny device (great for traveling!) or the Simply Being app, which provides ambient sounds to help me meditate.
Sometimes a little fun is what it takes to shake off that inevitable stress that comes from running a business. There are thousands of games you can download, but my current favorite is Two Dots. Fair warning: it’s addictive!
Or what about exercise? I use the Daily Burn app to make sure I get my workout on, no matter where I am.
3. Customer Relationship Management
If you’re one of those people who still uses a spreadsheet to log customer information, let me let you in on a not-so-secret: customer relationship management — AKA CRM — will make your life a lot easier.
I use Insightly small business CRM to keep up with conversations I’ve had with clients, follow sales opportunities…even track who I need to buy holiday gifts for. It’s simple — and stress-free — to keep up with clients, quickly locate their contact information, and see what we talked about last month.
4. Social Media Dashboard
Since it’s a known fact that women are more avid social media users than men, it makes sense that we’d use smart tools to manage our interactions there. I’m grateful for Hootsuite, the social media management dashboard I’ve been using for years to manage both my own company’s social accounts as well as those I manage on behalf of clients.
There’s a cool new feature I’m digging on right now called Suggested that helps you easily identify relevant content links and schedule it to be shared to your networks.
5. My Own Two Hands
Okay, so this technically doesn’t qualify as a tool, but you have to admit: you’d be nowhere without your own hard work and ingenuity. So join me in being thankful for what you’ve done to get where you are in your business’ growth.