No, this isn’t a blog about my birthday secateurs and garden fork, which are very dear to my heart.

This is a blog about the business tools that I use: the things I use every day to make Red Kite Services function and help ensure that my clients’ businesses function too.

1. Capsule CRM – my contact management system where I store details of my contacts, record business in the pipeline, set out my daily tasks and generally keep myself organised. It is an amazing tool and if you don’t believe me you can use it for free up to 250 contacts, enough time to get to grips with it before you pay just £8 per month.

2. Digital Invoicing – another fantastic timesaver. It markets itself as the anti-dote to accountancy software and it certainly is. Easy invoices, easy quotations, easy recording of sales and easy reporting. If you over-type your invoices every month, as I used to do, I cannot recommend this too highly. Again you can try it for free before committing to a monthly fee of £24 including VAT.

3. Twitter – people are aghast when I tell them I get most of my business from Twitter, but I do. Not only that but it is invaluable for finding out information and making friends. And all at the best Yorkshire Price- FREE

4. Bufferapp – one of the best ways I have found to share information across a choice of social media. Quick, simple and free to trial and then upgrade to $10 per month if you need it.

5. Virtual Receptionist – most people won’t leave a message on an answerphone. By using my virtual receptionist I never miss a call, even if I’m on holiday.

6. Gmail account – my gmail account means that I can have a number of email addresses, so that I can contact people on behalf of my clients using their address and signature. The calendar links to Capsule too and it is really easy to link up to my gmail account from my mobile phone.

7. Dropbox – I use this to store my work, which means that I can retrieve any of my documents anywhere, anytime. It also means I can share files with clients and colleagues, particularly useful for large files that can take time to email.

8. The IVA Network – a fantastic group of people who share information both on-line and at networking meetings. We are all in effect competitors, but by working together we can build up the professionalism of virtual assistants. Without this group I would not have discovered most of the tools in this list.

9. The kettle – Don’t underestimate the power of a kettle. As an avid tea-drinker putting the kettle on provides me with the “water cooler moment,” making sure I mix with other people and share ideas.

10. My bike – my trusty steed that takes me to both my and my clients’ offices much more quickly and efficiently than if I travelled round York in a car.