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Software Simplified: 7 Tools for Running Your Education Business with Ease

If you're wondering which software tools are essential for running a successful education business, then you're in the right place! I know from bitter experience that starting and growing a small business can be exciting but also overwhelming, and having the right tools in place from the very beginning can make a big difference.

Often newer businesses don’t see the need to use these softwares at the outset, when they can do everything manually – I know I didn’t! The problem is, once you get busy, you don’t have time to put the systems in place, so it’s a Catch 22 situation!

So, for those education businesses who are wondering what the minimum viable tech stack looks like – here is my opinion! These are the seven softwares that I recommend every education business needs from the outset.

A business-specific domain

In today's digital age, having an online presence is necessary for any business. My first step was to register a domain that reflected my brand and what I do. This helped me establish a professional online presence and made it easier for people to find me.I used GoDaddy to buy mine, and have never experienced any issues with them, but I have heard of other customers of theirs that have had many problems – I believe Google Domains are supposed to be very good!

Google Workspace

Once you have your domain, the next step is to set up a domain-specific email address. Using a free email service like Gmail might work, but having an email address that matches your domain name will make you look more professional and credible to potential clients.

Google Workspace provided everything you need to get started with email, document storage, and other business-related tools.

In the spirit of truth and honesty, while I think Google Workspace is brilliant, especially when it comes to sharing and collaborating, there are things about it that I don’t love – for instance, I find organisation on a Google Drive to be horrible and so these days I choose to use Dropbox instead, but when we’re thinking about a minimum viable setup, Google can’t be beaten for what’s included at the price!

A landing page/website

You need a place for potential clients to go to find out more about your business. It doesn’t need to be a fancy website, especially when you are just starting out. A simple landing page with basic information about your services, a bit about you and your credentials, and a way to contact you is all you need to get started.

Mailerlite (see below) allows you to set up free landing pages, so it is possible to do this without paying to host a website, though I would suggest that you make a simple website hosted on your domain a priority, because it enhances your credibility as a business – people are often suspicious of domains they don’t recognize. Nobody likes the thought they might be spammed or even worse, hacked!

Email marketing software

Email marketing is an essential part of any business. You need a way to collect leads, build relationships with them, and contact them when you have something new to offer. There are many email marketing software options available, and I have found Mailerlite to be a good free option for starting out. If you're looking for a really powerful paid option, especially if ecommerce is a part of your offering, I recommend ActiveCampaign.

Sales and invoicing software

Trying to keep up with sales and invoices on a spreadsheet is a nightmare waiting to happen.

Fortunately, there are options available to make invoicing and accounting much easier. For instance, the free sole trader bank account with Mettle comes with free access to invoicing software from FreeAgent.

For tutors and other education businesses that take regular payments, you may also like to look at payment processors such as Go Cardless or Stripe – they often have a charge associated with them, but it is usually made up for in the time you save having to chase people for payments!

Project management software

From a personal perspective, as my business grew, I quickly learned that I needed a way to keep track of projects and tasks. This is where project management software comes in. It may not seem necessary when you're just starting out (it certainly didn’t to me!), but trust me, it's better to put these systems in place early rather than try to create them when you're too busy.

Some popular project management tools include Trello and Asana, but I have found ClickUp to be the most flexible and feature-rich option. I have seen others use Notion to great effect, but have never built one out for myself.

My best advice with these tools, though, is to try them all while your business is quiet to find the one that works best for you – it is such a personal choice!

A central "source of truth"

It's important to have a place to keep track of all the information related to your business.

A relational database like Airtable is a useful tool that can be used to keep track of content creation, products, website mapping, and records of other software.

Having all this information in one place can help you make better business decisions and stay organized.

Hopefully you've found these software recommendations helpful in growing your education business.

If you'd like help in setting up, untangling, or maintaining these systems, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me and the team. We'd be happy to help you get started!
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