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I’ve been running my own company for a while now and I’ve become dependent on some products that I never thought I would need or use. When you have a small business, you have to make sure that what you buy saves you time, money and brings in some sort of return. If it can’t help with all three, it might not be worth buy. If the product or service can help you with them, then it is something you should really consider. Here are a few of those things that I was hesitant about buying but now love and depend on. (Many of them have free trials or deals that you can find through my companies blog.)

1.  The Neat Scanner from TV.

I used to see these in the airport when I had to fly to Toronto every week.  I always wanted one but never wanted to spend the money. Eventually I went over and started to look at one and still ended up not buying it. For the next couple of years, I started seeing them on infomercials and then in retail stores and eventually gave in. The selling point for me was a solution for taxes, receipts and contact storage.

After years of thinking about buying a neat scanner, I ended up ordering my neat portable scanner from Amazon (you can see the picture and order it by visiting AdamRiemer.com). What I love about it is that I can scan a giant stack of receipts, which would take me almost an entire day to type in, in just more than an hour. Then the scanner instantly and automatically pulls the information like payment type, total amount, date, etc. Once you finish scanning everything, you can click on each receipt and you’ll find a drop down that lets you properly categorize everything into the category for your taxes.

2. Manilla.com

You probably know by now what Manilla is, but in case you don’t, here’s a refresher: It’s the leading, free and secure service that lets you manage your bills and accounts in one place online or using the top-rated iOS and Android mobile apps. While Manilla is an extremely valuable tool for consumers, it’s also useful for small-business owners who are looking to simplify and organize the way they manage their daily expenses and other accounts.

Using just one password, Manilla provides an easy-to-access dashboard that displays all of your small-business accounts, such as your utility bills, company credit cards, company travel programs and more. Manilla will remind you when your bills are due, or when your points and miles are about to expire, so your company won’t lose money on late fees. Manilla also provides unlimited account document storage for free, which means come tax time, you can easily find your bills and statements, which makes figuring out your eligible deductions a lot easier.

3.  Raven Tools

Not everyone does marketing, but every company should know what and where it stands with the search engines and in social media. If you are a small business, you probably try to spend at least a little bit of time on social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and need a proper way to contact your partners. Raven tools created an extremely affordable system to let you gather a ton of search engine data, organize your sites and also be able to analyze competitors.

They feature social media tools, content tools and discounts on copywriters if you need to update blogs but don’t have time to write them, and they have a customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage all of your contacts, link partners, blogger and PR reps as well as anyone else you want to keep in your database. By having their system, I have been able to easily organize my SEO needs into an easy-to-read tool, help to rank myself and my clients better in the search engines, and when I need to do a press release or get attention for something, I can export all of my PR contacts, blogger contacts and others instantly. Here is my review of some of their tools and you can find a 30-day free trial.

4.  WordPress with Genesis.   

It may sound weird that a blogging software would be a life saver and financial saver for a small business, but WordPress with the Genesis framework has become a lifeblood for me, other bloggers and numerous companies around the world.

My website has been able to help me get speaking spots around the world and drives a ton of leads into my business. The original sites I built took forever and needed coding. When I discovered WordPress, I found a tool that let me create a professional-looking website without having to know how to code or program. Eventually, I discovered the Genesis framework and all of the plugins that come with it for free. By using these things combined I have been able to open up storefronts that can handle e-commerce, create professional looking websites without having to code in under 20 minutes, and because of the really great SEO tools and plugins that come with it or that can be combined with it, I have been able to drive new business without having to do any extra work.

My company is small with a few contractors, so I don’t have time to do business development. By changing everything over to Genesis, I have been able to drive in more leads, manage my websites, update them for accuracy and also make changes within seconds. The best part is that it is amazingly user friendly so I don’t have to hire a web designer, pay expensive fees for tech people to work on it, and I also don’t have to hire a graphic designer when I need a new page. Genesis gives you everything you need in a user friendly format. Their main site gives you a ton of step-by-step resources to guide you through anything you need and they have an extremely active community that is ready to help with any question you have. Visit my website find step-by-step instructions on installing it and where you can buy it.

It is important to think about everything you buy and spend money on when you have a small business. If you buy a tool or service, it has to benefit you and drive revenue. I was hesitant to purchase all three of the tools and services above when I first learned about them, but now that I have been using them for a while, I don’t think I could live without them.

Visit Adam’s marketing blog for more tips and advice on marketing, organization and being an entrepreneur.

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