There's something to be said for the DIYers - and in today's digital age, there are a lot of tools that you can use to help build your business. We've hand selected 5 tools that can help you develop your brand without breaking the bank. Using these tools will help better manage your time and in turn, serve as a catalyst to boost business and convert potential clients. What are your favorite tools? Comment below!
Canva, like canvas but without the "s". This website/app is a great tool for any designer or other business owner. In it's essence, it's the free version of your favorite Adobe program - allowing you to create, edit and export custom graphics in a variety of file types. Check out www.canva.com or download their iPad app to play around with their editable templates, or create something from scratch.
Cost: Free (unless you use some of their paid templates or stock graphics, where everything is $1)
- Predefined sizes allow for optimal graphic quality, yet offers the flexibiliy of custom dimensions
- Exportable as a low-res or hi-res PNG (web) or PDF (print) file
- Very user friendly, easy to create content for your website, social media and more
- Can't export files with transparent backgrounds (useful for logos)
- Can't resize a project once you've exported it (unless you pay for a Canva for Work Subscription)
- Can only edit within Canva, cannot save/export vector files
Social Media is becoming increasingly more important for Interior Designers. With the advent of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and the other social media platforms - designers and businesses have been given access to powerful tools that connect them to their audience in a dynamic way. However, managing those social media accounts can be a pain for the busy business owner. Tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer allow users to automate their social media by scheduling posts and maintaining a "birds-eye-view" of what's going on online.
Cost: Free for up to three connected accounts. Business Plans starting at $9.99/month
- An easy and effective way to schedule posts several weeks out, allowing for better time management and social interaction
- Provides a birds-eye-view of what people are saying about your brand, your industry and your competitors
- Free for your first 3 accounts, meaning it can be a powerful (free) tool for the average user
- The free version provides limited use of Hootsuites extra features
- Limited use with Instagram, but still better than some other account management software
- The mobile app is flaky at best
3. Facebook Live
Facebook has responded to the precedent set by Periscope, allowing for live streaming on your personal or business page. Just when you thought we couldn't get any more "on-demand", we now can be instantly connected to our favorite brands during events, special releases and more. Try connecting with your audience in this fun new way!
- Facebook notifies your followers when you go live, boosting views
- Instant comments and reactions promote user engagement
- Facebook saves the video once you're done, for those that missed the live stream
- You cannot (as of now) export the video file for use on other programs/platforms
- Video quality and dependability is based on your internet connection, which can be spotty
- Can annoy followers if used too infrequently
Everyone needs a website. It doesn't matter if you're a huge corporation or a small business owner just trying to get started - with the tools available today, EVERYONE needs a website. It functions as your 24/7 sales team. You can share image galleries and take reservations. Showing pricing and convert traffic into potential business. With tools like Squarespace, WordPress and Wix you have access to affordable options that deliver powerful results. If you don't want to make one yourself, let us know and we can help.
Cost: $12 - $40/month depending on what package you get
- Very user-friendly and easy to navigate. Easy to update and edit on the fly
- 24/7 customer service team is ready and willing to help with updates and more
- All websites are responsive and look great on any sized screen
- Not open-sourced (like WordPress). This just limits ability to inject custom code, limited scalability
- Load times and vary
- Pricing is slightly above industry standard, but includes a free year of domain hosting
No, we're not talking about cows here. Moo is a great company that produces even greater products. Their line of business cards and other marketing materials are not only incredibly high quality, but they have great features like the gold foil additions and their unique sizing options. Their signature line will definitely wow your clients, and be a card that they want to hold onto forever.
Cost: Varies depending on product and quantity - slightly more expensive than the more common VistaPrint.
- High quality materials that look and feel great
- A wide variety of sizes to give your brand a truly unique look
- Fast shipping
- More expensive than other options (you get what you pay for)
- The customer service rep(s) I spoke to weren't as helpful as I would have liked