Why tools are important
Ever try to use a spoon as a screwdriver?...or a paint stripper? Yes, sometimes it works....but it's not really the best choice.
I've chosen to invest in and use what I believe are the best tools for me to achieve the results we're both expecting.
Sometimes the tool is the software, like Photoshop and Illustrator, and sometimes the tool is a platform like Adobe's Business Catalyst for hosting websites, and sometimes the tool is education & support communities to help me stay up to date.
Here's a summary of the tools I use and why I feel they're important.
Adobe Creative Cloud
- A monthly subscription to Adobe's Creative Cloud provides me with access to the latest versions of Adobe's industry standard creative professionals software. This is a comprehensive tool-set, with programs such as Photoshop & Illustrator for image creation/manipulation, InDesign for professional document layout, Dreamweaver for website editing, and Premiere Pro, After Effects & Audition for video, multimedia and audio editing. With this subscription service I always have the latest features and security updates.
Adobe Business Catalyst
- This is Adobe's website hosting platform, complete with content management system. I became a premium partner with them because they take care of the platform, things like feature integration, security updates, backups, the content delivery network, etc. Since I don't have to worry about the 'back end', it allows me to focus on making sure your website meets your business goals. The browser based admin interface allows my customers to edit their website anywhere they have internet access without the need for special tools. InContext editing means that many updates can be done right on the page without needing to know html or css.
Overview available here
Complete details available at http://businesscatalyst.com
- BC Gurus is part of the vibrant support community enjoyed by Business Catalyst partners. Built to support the partners, BC Gurus provides an amazing amount of content to help us learn how to use Business Catalyst. While I have access to Adobe's support team for technical issues, BC Gurus helps me understand how to use the platform to achieve the results my clients are after. There's even a forum for me to discuss platform/business/technical issues with partners just like me. It's great to be part of such a supportive community.
- Having access to professional training is important to me. BC Academe provides formal training and certification on using the Business Catalyst platform. Completing their Developer Training ensures that I'm able to use the latest techniques and industry standards available while building and maintaining your website.
- Another component of the vibrant support community, BC Sandpile is a weekly webinar I participate in. The format is a presentation by one of the members on an interesting topic followed by a chat session where virtually anything related to Business Catalyst is discussed. There are members from all over the world, and this definitely helps bring new perspectives and approaches to solving business problems and achieving client objectives.
- Fair and accurate billing are the cornerstone of bulding and maintaining trust in a business relationship. I use Billings Pro to track the time spent working on client projects. I turn it on at the start of a work session and off when I'm done, so my invoices reflect an itemized list of the work done. The timer even recognizes if I've been inactive for 5 minutes, say I got up and left for the day and forgot to pause the timer, and stops the timer automatically for me.
- I use Daylite to maintain and track my interactions with you. It allows me to manage opportunities and projects, set tasks, appointments and reminders, and even lets me assign a pre-defined list of tasks to be done with a click. All that really means for you, is that I use this tool and it's checklists to make sure no step is forgotten, and that I do what I say I'm going to do.
- For those that are looking for an online marketing platform that will automate and routinize your interactions with your clients, Infusionsoft may be for you. This tool allows you to integrate business logic into your online marketing, and provide consistent, appropriate follow up for visitors to your website. It's not for everyone though, so call me to discuss the possibilities....I'll provide you with an objective opinion based on your business needs.
These are the major tools I felt were important to talk about. Of course there are other ones I use, and I have partnerships with SEO experts, Copy Writers, etc.....but hopefully talking about these has given you a better understanding of my operation and processes.
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