What can't you live without in business?


What can you not live without daily? Most of us can't live without our phones, chapstick or yeti's full of our favorite beverage. If we leave them at home, we feel lost and vulnerable without them. What about business? Are there things that you can not live without as a business owner? 

There are so many tools out there than can help business owners run their businesses smoothly and efficiently. Everyday another app comes out that tries to help simplify and clarify. Today I want to go through the list of things, that I can't live without as a business owner and designer in the hopes that it gives you some options to research and use! 

So let's get started! 


Design Tools

  1. Sketchbook and Pencil - I am very picky about my sketchbooks and wanted something that looked nice on a bookshelf, but also was functional. I wanted blank pages and spiral binding and a very neutral cover. I love these MoMa sketchbooks from Amazon. They come in three packs, which is great, because I always forget to order or purchase a new sketchbook until I'm on my last page.

  2. Pantone Color Books - These were the second investment I made after buying a laptop for my business. If you're in print design or working with branding, it is a MUST that you know what the colors you're picking look like as Pantones. Colors change from the screen to print, and Pantone makes it easy to see what the colors will look like when they are printed. I have these guys, but there are other options!

  3. Adobe Capture App - This app has changed the way I digitize sketches! If you have the adobe creative cloud, you can login to this app, take an image of your sketch and it automatically creates a vector of it and stores it in your cloud library so that you can then go into illustrator and start working! I still scan my work in depending on the project, but adobe capture has been an amazing time-saver for my process!

  4. iPad Pro and apple pencil - Even though I like to solidify designs with paper and pencil, I love that I can jump on my iPad Pro, open up Adobe Sketch, draw and then transfer to my desktop application and continue work on it from my computer. I have yet to dive into the app ProCreate, but it's next on my list to try out!


productivity tools for small business owners - graphic design - tulsa brand studio -

Productivity Tools

  1. Google Calendar - I'm sure you can see a pattern, but I'm the organized loyal type of person, where if something works, I will jump all in. Google has been one of those tools for me. Rather than having a separate marketing calendar through a software or program, I use Google Calendar that keeps my client projects, vacations, meetings, and reminders organized and all in one place.

  2. GDrive - Google Docs and Sheets - I don't know where I would be without my gdrive. This is where I brain-dump ideas, create spreadsheets, and organize projects and things like my blog schedule, analytics tracking, etc. And you can invite people to specific gdrive folders. My intern and I have our own folder that we share things back and forth.

  3. Powersheets - These are an amazing tool created by the Cultivate What Matters team to help with goal setting and staying focused throughout the month, quarter and year. It helps you narrow down to what really matters and create actionable steps for how to accomplish each goal or task. These have been incredibly helpful to filter through all the shiny distracting ideas and get down to what I really want to accomplish.



Business Tools

  1. Honeybook - Honeybook is my client & project management system. Through being a member of the Rising Tide Society and Tuesdays Together, I got a percentage off for an annual subscription, and immediately started putting it to use. I like the dashboard and that you can customize your process to show where each project is within it. I also like that everything about your project is contained in one place - your messages, documents, proposals, invoices and payments. It has been fantastic for this OCD business owner. They also just implemented a time tracking feature that I'm excited to give a try.

  2. Plann - There are multiple apps out there for instagram posting. I tried a trial version of a few and landed on Plann. I love the fact that it shows the last 18 or so posts, so that you can see the pattern of posts and color palette. I also love that it gives some analytics and how you can plan for a strategy. It holds your hashtags in categories and you can have multiples at one time. You can also see when the best time for you to post is, which I've found really helpful.

  3. Google Hangouts - A lot of my clients aren't local, so instead of meeting in person for our consultation and check-in conversations, we have to meet virtually. I would rather something more personable than chatting on the phone, so as I researched video conferencing apps and programs, I tried out google hangouts, skype and facetime and google hangouts won by a landslide. The quality was much better than either of the others and aesthetically, it's much nicer!

  4. Slack - I used this team management tool in my old position, when I was working remotely at a corporate company and absolutely loved it. It was so much better than the other messaging tools that I had used in the past, and even better for designers or remote teams, you can share documents and images back and forth. When my team gets more than two people, I will definitely be implementing slack into my process.

  5. Traction - This book by Gino Wickman has been a game-changer for my business. It is jam packed with strategies, worksheets, tracking and reflection. It's amazing for any business owner, no matter what step you are in - if you're just starting out or a few years in, if you've started growing your team, or are just dreaming to, if you have physical assets like a brick and mortar, or still work out of your home or coworking space. If you're a business owner, BUY this book!



  1. Good Playlist - "Brain Food Playlist" for when I'm needing to focus in on something and don't want to get distracted by the words in a song. "Backyard BBQ Playlist" for pieces of the process that don't require too much brain power.

  2. DIY Standing Desk - I have a hard time focusing when I sit for a long period of time, so I worked with my husband and built a DIY standing desk for myself, so that I can go back and forth from sitting to standing depending on what I'm working on.


Those are the many things that I couldn't live without as a business owner. I am always looking for new tools to help me become more efficient and streamlined. So what are the business, productivity or design tools that you can't live without as a business owner? Let me know in the comments!

IF YOU’re ready to take the leap and create an authentic brand that connects, LET'S GET STARTED TODAY!