Productivity tools are certainly not in short supply. And everyone has their own preferences based on their individual requirements. There are literally thousands of solutions in all shapes and colours for you to choose. Our recommendation that before you start searching for tools, get a clear understanding of what you need to achieve at a basic level. Then, lists out all the “nice to haves” (aka the “bells and whistles”). Once you have that written down, you can start to narrow down your search for the perfect tool. Below is a list of tools that worked best for the team here at Zero B.S.! Enjoy!



1. G Suite (Google for work)

Naturally, as a small consulting business we leverage off Google’s suite of applications that are virtually free compared to others in the market. This is why G Suite is my number one. It provides my team with the basic core tools we need to stuff done. Another reason I am a big buyer of G Suite is because there is a ton of integration opportunities making the use of Google Drive and docs super easy across other platforms. We have integrations set up against Slack, Trello, Podio, and Zapier to name a few.
Trello is a lifesaver! Creating boards of lists for virtually any subject with anyone is a super powerful way to self-organise. The ability to easily collaborate on each card, attach links and documents is the most agile way to keep up to speed without having to email multiple parties back and forth for updates.  As I mentioned, we have integrated G Suite with Trello so that we can easily access working documents directly from a card itself. We’ve also got Trello integrated with Slack which enables us to take action on cards directly from Trello which comes in super handy.

3. Xero

I started our accounting journey with Quickbooks. And QuickBooks is a great tool for accounting, bookkeeping. However, once I actually tried Xero and had a look at how well it integrated with the ecosystem of tools, I made an immediate switch over. Not to mention, many of our clients are using this and we are constantly working on linking their accounting processes with their workflow systems.  Xero is intuitive, easy to use and at the forefront in our opinion.

We have team members both in Australia and overseas. Slack is a core communication tool for us. It’s another FREE tool as we don’t require the premium features.  We have it integrated with a number of our productivity tools (G Suite, Trello, Zoom, Podio…) and it helps everyone stay up to speed with events, helps with retrieving information, and good old plan chats! One of the things I like about Slack personally is that it has the right mix of communication and collaboration features. For example

  • I can start a conversation threat on something a colleague said and carry on that discussion in a separate thread without disturbing the entire chat room.
  • If I’m searching for a document, I can easily search from Slack across documents that have previously been attached in Slack or even documents that are stored in G Suite. This makes it super easy to reference other artifacts when engaging in a discussion.
  • I can receive updates of events that have taken place in other tools and take action directly from Slack (comments, approvals, etc)
  • I can trigger new actions directly from Slack… like “initiate a Zoom call with Jenny”

5. Zoom

When face to face is not possible… Zoom is the next best thing. It’s super reliable, easy to use and for the most part it’s FREE. I have had many successfully delivered sales presentations over Zoom when it was not practical to meet in person.  Sharing screens, recording and having video conversations with multiple parties are a breeze. All you do is share your meeting room with your audience and it’s all taken care of from there.
These guys have revolutionised low cost automation and integration. We use Zapier to link our CRM with our marketing automation stack. We also use it to automate actions in Podio (our project management and workflow platform) based on actions that take place in other applications. Our clients use Zapier across a myriad of applications, everything from payment processing down to data mining and data archival processes. The uses cases are absolutely endless and only limited to your ingenuity and imagination.
Podio is a great tool! Super flexible and robust. We use it to manage basic project work and task management internally. Anything that requires a workflow and structure goes on Podio for us as we can use GlobiFlow to automate actions within our workflow. Podio has numerous use cases it can solve for and it carried a native iOS and Android app that users both internally and externally to your organisation can use. Podio has great integration capabilities and allows us to connect it to a number of tools (G Suite, Slack, Trello, Zapier) so we can continue to evolve the automation and workflow as we grow our business.
Sometimes a mind map is a great way to organise your thoughts! We also use it for brainstorm sessions that happen over Zoom. I personally like it because it has a wonderful, full-featured iOS app version that I can use on the go. Maps can be translated into tasks which can be exported into a plan once your mind mapping/brainstorm session is over. For us, we then load this up into Trello or Podio (depending who I’m working with).

9. Loom

As we grow, new people come on board, others leave… and so, it’s important to retain knowledge on how to do things (like updating our blogs, invoicing, or preparing presentation materials). We record anything worth documenting into a loom video and walk through the process. We do this instead of writing pages of procedures with dozens of screenshots. There is so much more information that a video walkthrough can capture than a written document. We only document guides when absolutely required.
I’ve lost count on the number of applications that I’m signed up to. And given all the data breach incidents we have seen, it’s imperative to have different passwords for your applications. But who can remember all of these? I don’t have to, LastPass hooks me up. It has a Chrome extension which helps me store any new usernames and passwords and auto login any websites that I have previously logged on to. This also means that I can very easily create super-secure passwords for all my apps without fear that I will forget. Super useful!

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