There are so many business tools and software applications out there that promise to do great things for your business, and a lot of them do. I could wax poetic about my favorite ones, but instead of talking about specific software, let's talk about the TYPE of tools that you should be using in your business. These are directed towards service businesses, or businesses with a service component, but would be helpful for any business. COMMUNICATION
First, you need good communication tools. An email platform that sends and receives mail is basic (and sometimes I know business owners deal with mail clients that "eat" their mail, or have deliverability issues - so if you are having those problems, switching to Google Workspace will address THAT issue). Besides that, your email should have the ability to schedule send emails (meaning you can write it at midnight on Saturday night but not send it till Monday morning - because you know you work on the weekends), and also track opens. If you use Google Workspace, the Gmail app has a great add-in called Streak that allows you to do both - as well as save templated emails so you don't have to write out the same emails over and over.
I am a HUGE proponent of having a separate business number. I use Google Voice (which is also part of Google Workspace) so that I can call and text clients from my computer and only get calls and messages on my cell phone during business hours. It also follows my calendar so if I am marked busy or out of office, my phone doesn't get the notifications. All the texts and emails go to my email as well, so I never miss anything - and can send it to my Asana if I need to. This all allows me to turn off my business when I am not working so I am not constantly working, even though I rarely get calls, it's still nice to have peace of mind.
Speaking of Asana. I use it for task management and team communication. I am not a fan of email in general, it has a place in my business, but extra emails to communicate are just extra work. Task management tools are important in any business, and if you work on projects, having task management that ties into your project management tool means that you have less tools to manage and also less switching between platforms. Task management means that you are able to keep track of all the things that you are doing for your clients, your team, and your business in one place. FINANCIAL
Financial management is also important. Because, well, you are a business, but also because knowing your numbers is crucial in decision making in your business. It also helps take the emotion out of your business if you know what adds or decreases to your bottom line. It's not all about numbers - you should make decisions about working with clients, embarking on projects, or any other income producing activities not just from a financial standpoint but also from the "does this jive with what I want my business to do" standpoint. It also means that you know where your money is going each month, so you can decide whether that shiny new app or course you want to buy really fits in with your profit. TIME MANAGEMENT
Scheduling and calendar management software is also important if you are meeting with people. Spending time going back and forth on peoples' availability is time wasting. It takes less time to set up your general availability, then keep track of your calendar of what availability you actually have (like blocking out time set aside for working on projects). Letting people get on your calendar at their convenience means you have more time to actually delight your clients instead of just finding time to meet.
I am also a huge proponent of time tracking. Whether you use a time tracking software in real time or just use it to keep track of what you did at the end of the week, it is important to know where your time goes - regardless of whether you charge for your time or not. Understanding where your time goes helps you make better decisions, and also helps you see where you get the best return on your investment in your time. Whether clients that take more time than you planned for, or if you are making time to do things in your business that don't push the needle forward (like marketing in the wrong channels). It also helps you see where you can hire people to take time consuming tasks off your plate that need to get done, but not necessarily by you.
This is definitely not an exhaustive list, and again, I don't think a specific tool is better or worse than another, I just find certain tools work for my business. The most important things to remember when you add tools to your business is that you have to spend the time optimizing them - and using them. Just buying a tool is not going to be enough. You have to put in time to make sure it works for your business and ACTUALLY use it. This is where I find business owners fall off - they get stuck in the setup phase - looking for perfection, or they implement the tools then never look at them again. Either way, the tools won't work.
And that is definitely not the software's fault.
If you need help overcoming these two speedbumps to adoption, let's talk