Complete List of Tools I use for remote business management incl. managing remote teams
Looking for tools to become a boss at remote working? Whether you’re in charge of a multi-faceted team, or in the early stages of growing your remote business, there are a wealth of tools you can use to be more effective and more productive. I’ve compiled a master list of applications that I personally use every day in my remote management position. At the moment, I’m working with a team of over 30 full-time remote employees, but these tools are useful for all companies on all scales, and most importantly, for all remote workers.
Daily tools at glance:
I talk with my team via Skype, which I also use for all calls to landline and mobile numbers, worldwide. To schedule external meetings I use Zoom. World Time Buddy keeps me on track in all time zones. Files that require regular updates are kept in my Google Docs, and more static files, as well as data backups, are housed in my Dropbox. When I am on-the-go, I like to use Evernote for quick note taking. I organize projects using Asana and if I need to illustrate anything I use Jing for screenshots and short video screen recordings. For all creative work, I use iStock or Adobe Stock to purchase images, Pixlr for quick photo editing and Canva to create designs. Hootsuite helps me to keep all social media posts on schedule. My emails are part of either Gmail or Microsoft Suite, and to manage team mailboxes I use Front App. For my sales needs, I use HubSpot CRM. For marketing campaigns, I work with MailChimp or Campaign Monitor and I sign documents using Adobe Sign. How do I remember how to log in to all of these programs? LastPass. Keep reading to dive further into these tools, and to learn about other programs that can keep your remote business humming along.
There are over 30 instrumental tools below, so I’ve divided them into categories so you can quickly find what you’re looking for:
- Communication & Project Management Tools
- Document Exchange & Storage
- Design Resources & Applications
- Emails & Campaigns
- Sales & Marketing
Communication & Project Management for Remote Teams
This is the first application I log in to every morning. At my company, we use it for all of our daily communication. Every contractor has an account managed by the company. We have one comprehensive general chat, which allows us to greet each other in the morning, post announcements, etc. In addition, we have team chats, on which all teams can collaborate, share files, and discuss projects. One of the best features of Skype is the ability to screen share. Screen sharing allows you to show your screen to everyone on your present call and deliver a presentation or training, in an easily understandable way.
Skype also allows you to record your calls which means that, in the case of training, an employee can easily re-watch the session at a later time. In addition, you can use Skype for making affordable calls to landlines and mobile numbers worldwide.
This is a project management application online. It allows us to keep all of our projects in one place. I have multiple teams that work on multiple projects, and keeping track of it all can be tricky. Luckily, in Asana, each project is broken down into tasks and each task is assigned to the appropriate person(s) with an expected delivery date. This ensures that everyone on the team knows their priorities and can collaborate with each other to meet each deadline.
Asana also allows you to assign access for specific projects to specific people. They can then comment updates on each task included in the project, as well as attach files and screenshots.
This is a great tool for every stage of a project, from communicating the initial idea with your technical team to scheduling marketing campaigns. The best part? Asana is FREE in the basic version (up to 15 users) which makes is a perfect project management tool for small remote businesses.
Jing allows you to quickly grab screenshots and save them, either as png files or as URLs. You can easily decide on the exact area of the screengrab and then add arrows, text, and different markups to your screenshot. This is a great tool if you are sending an email or putting a task in Asana and need to add a link for clarification. Jing can also be used for free video screen captures, in the form of short videos. This tool is also FREE in the basic version, which I have been using for years.
World Time Buddy
This is truly my little buddy, ensuring I never mix up time zones. Moreover, it helps me schedule team meetings in the most optimal time slots for everyone, regardless of their location.
WTB also allows you to add multiple locations and will show you a 24h timeline for each location. For example, you can clearly see that when it’s 11am in New York City, in Buenos Aires it’s 12 pm, and in Lisbon is 4pm. Lifesaver!
Zoom allows me to schedule meetings for people from multiple locations, dialing in via regular phone, in the form of a weblink. It does not require the meeting user to have an account. Just by clicking on a link, they will be able to join the call. Zoom is available in a FREE version for calls no longer than 40 mins.
Document Exchange & Storage Applications
Most of our documents are stored in Google Drive as Google Docs, Google Sheets or Google Slides.
Having documents online allows anyone with a link (and permission to view) the ability to comment or edit files, regardless of their location or device. You can also track previous versions and progress of each document very easily.
This is where I keep more static copies of files. Dropbox handles large files with ease and allows hassle-free access management. Think of things like contracts, images, presentations, annual reports, etc. Dropbox is your place for these files. It’s also my laptop backup. All of the files I create locally on my PC are backed up online, so if I have to use a different PC, or access any file on my phone, it’s possible thanks to Dropbox!
This is a super handy and quick tool that allows you to take notes on-the-go. All notes are then accessible on your PC. You can also set up your account so that your notes are available offline. I use this to save articles offline so that I can read them later on a plane. Another standout feature of Evernote is that it allows you to share your notes directly with other users of the app.
Design Resources & Applications
Adobe Stock & iStock – Stock Photography
I use both of these sites to purchase all of my images. From my personal experience, if you are a small business and need up to 10 images a month, Adobe is the better choice. It allows you to accumulate all of your images, so if you download no images in 6 months’ time, you will end up having 60 images available to download on your account. The cost for 10 images a month is 29.99 EUR. You can check all of the plans here – https://stock.adobe.com/ie/plans
Canva & Canva for Work
Canva is my absolute favorite design tool. It is preloaded with tons of stylish templates to use for every occasion, ranging from social media posts to flyers, posters, presentations and book covers. Canva also has a great selection of fonts and design ideas, and most of all, it’s quick and super easy to use. You can also upload your own photos and create brand kits. The basic version of Canva is FREE.
This online program allows you to do quick, basic editing of your images. I use it primarily to resize photos and to isolate subjects in the picture from the background.
Email & Campaigns
For one of the companies I work with, we use Gmail for all of our business emails. The cost of a business email account is around 5 EUR a month, per email address. You create your email with the name of your business (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org). All of the emails are hosted on Google, so you log in via Gmail. The Google console is very intuitive and comes with a lot of handy features including the ability to create unlimited aliases (e.g. email@example.com – where the alias is not a stand-alone email, it’s just another name for your firstname.lastname@example.org email). Because I am a huge fan of Google Docs, using Gmail for my business email is very convenient. Also, Gmail comes with Google Hangouts which is great for video conferencing and a good alternative to Zoom.
In the second company I work for, we use Microsoft. Here you can choose two different emails – one in Microsoft Office for 3.4 EUR and the other in Microsoft Kiosk, which is the cheapest option at 1.70 EUR per month per user. Kiosk is a perfect option for small companies. It works in a similar way to Gmail, but is lacking the option to create rules and archive messages. However, it still allows you to create folders. Kiosk integrates well with many other platforms including HubSpot Free CRM.
I use Mailchimp to send out all of my newsletters and sales emails including automated sequences. Mailchimp has many email templates so you don’t need to enlist a designer to prepare your offers. I also integrate Mailchimp with my website for an easy collection of leads.
We use Front to manage all customer support emails. It allows us to access emails from 15+ different accounts, all in one convenient location. You can assign specific access to each mailbox connected to Front. You can also assign each monitored email to a different agent. Front has comprehensive rules and categorizing options as well. In addition, you can run reports on the performance of each of your teams/agents who are responding to emails.
This is where you can purchase your domain and hosting. With GoDaddy, you can see if the domain name you want is available and look for alternatives in case it’s not. You can also purchase hosting packages here, although personally, I recommend different solutions for hosting.
Amazon Web Services
This is where I host most of my websites. AWS is not the most simple hosting solution, BUT it is the one that allows me the greatest flexibility. You do not pay any set fees for hosting your site here. If you have very low traffic you may find yourself paying 2 USD a month, and when traffic grows so will your bill. Because hosting adjusts to the number of visitors you have, you can be sure that your website will run fast and not crush when your campaign generates 20 times more traffic than it usually does.
This is the most versatile website builder. Thanks to custom coding, you can start super simple or design incredibly complex sites. There are hundreds of thousands of website templates available to get you started within a few hours. The best part of WordPress is that it does not require coding skills and allows you to easily update the content of your website. You can choose from free templates or upgrade to some seriously sophisticated websites.
You want to connect with Google Analytics as soon as you create your website. It is essential that you track the number of visitors your website receives.
This is a simple website monitoring service that will alert you when your website is down. It’s very handy if you are not checking your website every day. You’ll get an immediate notification if there are problems with your site before your customers have time to notice something’s wrong.
Sales & Marketing Tools
This is a great CRM software that allows you to manage all of your customers and leads in one central place. It is packed with great features like reporting, company insights, deal tracking, and pipeline management. You’ll be mailing your leads directly from HubSpot, which gives you all of the communication tracking you need, including information on how many times recipients open your emails and whether they click on the links included. In addition, HubSpot has a full database of sales email templates to get you started. The best part – the basic version is FREE and Hubspot says it will always stay this way!
It’s all in their motto: ‘’Everything you need to get creative projects done.” Envato is a massive marketplace for all creative products like WordPress templates, graphic designs, plugins, videos and much, much more.
This is a sophisticated, yet simple, tool that allows you to build great landing pages for your campaigns. It has the ability to host your lead magnets and delivery of it. You can also create pop-ups and alert bars. LeadPages includes great analytics features. Packages start from 25 USD a month.
This is a plugin that is used by over 800,000 websites worldwide. It aims to help you convert your website visitors into customers, with no coding required. There is a free option available, which makes it a great choice for new websites and small businesses.
Hotjar helps businesses to understand their users by recording how they interact with your website. For example, imagine you create a product page. You see in Google Analytics that the page gets a lot of traffic but it’s not translating into sales. By installing Hotjar, you will see exactly what your users click on the page. Find out how many of the descriptions your audience is getting through, and use these observations to make informed decisions and changes to the page, which will improve conversions. Like Sumome, Hotjar is free if you’re collecting data from 2000 pageviews or less, per day.
My favorite competitor review tool, focused on SEO, is SEMrush. With SEMrush, you can compare organic searches, backlinks, advertising and much more. I love using this tool for keyword searches and traffic analysis of competitors.
Another tool to help you with reviewing your competitors. Similar Web is more focused on tracking your market share. It’s great for marketing, research and sales.
Hootsuite allows you to manage all of your social media accounts in one place. It makes finding, scheduling and managing your accounts much easier. It also has great reporting tools so you can track the success of your posts.
This is a great tool that allows you to keep all of your passwords in one place. LastPass is far more secure than storing your details in a password-protected Excel spreadsheet. You can also divide your passwords into different categories. LastPass allows you to share passwords with other LastPass users, which is a great feature and avoids the risky business of sharing passwords via email. It can also make your online shopping faster and more secure!
This password generator is a quick tool that allows you to create a password based on criteria you apply e.g. password length of 6 characters (you can even go up to 2048 characters!). With Password Generator, you can even decide what type of characters to include or exclude in your password.
Need to sign something in a jiff? Adobe Sign allows you to quickly collect e-signatures on any type of document. You can also set up automatic reminders, where the system will do all of the chasing for you. Contracts are easy to send and sign, eliminating the hassle of traditional document signing.
Check any text you write for grammar, spelling and other errors with Grammarly’s convenient plugin. It’s so powerful that it can also suggest vocabulary enhancements, as well as perform plagiarism checks. Grammarly syncs with many apps, so correcting your typing on Gmail is easier than ever. This tool can also be used with Google Docs and even your social media channels.
I use Wordcounter all the time to quickly check how long a text is. It’s a simple copy-paste solution. Once you paste your text in Wordcounter, it counts the words, characters, sentences, and paragraphs of your text. It also provides a reading level, reading time and speaking time. So, for example, the post you might be writing would take 9 minutes and 4 seconds to read in its entirety. It includes 2,500 words, 14,212 characters, 150 sentences, and corresponds with the reading level of a college student.
Did you make it all of the way through this thorough list of my everyday, lifesaving tools? While I’ve covered multiple handy applications and programs, there are many others that didn’t make the list. What are your “must-have” tools that you would recommend to any business owner, especially in the remote sector? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.