25 Essential Online Business Tools for Cannabis Entrepreneurs
By: Rachel Garland
If you’re like most cannabis entrepreneurs, you’re juggling a lot on your plate.
In any given day you are answering emails, scheduling meetings, attending networking events, managing teams, hiring employees, advocating for patients, maintaining compliance and much more. Handling all of these tasks and staying organized can seem impossible.
Maximizing your time is vital, both for your efficiency and sanity.
There are only so many hours in a day.
Luckily, the internet has some awesome tools that can make your life easier. And most of these tools are free, so why not give them a try?
Note: This is not in an affiliate post. I am receiving ZERO commission off this list. I just think these tools are awesome! Enjoy💚
#1 Google Alerts
Use Google Alerts to monitor selected keywords and phrases.
It’s a free online tool designed to help you stay current on the latest buzz.
After entering your settings (you can learn more about that here) Google Alerts will email you when new results are available that match your selected keywords and phrases. This tool is handy for keeping tabs on industry regulations, progress, and trends. Change is constant in the cannabis world.
Google Alerts makes sure you never miss an important update.
#2 Google trends
Discover what your audience is searching for with Google Trends.
Type a keyword into the search bar and you'll gain access to extensive data. You can view a keyword's popularity over time along with interest by region and related search terms. Google Trends is helpful improving your SEO, anticipating industry shifts, and generating content ideas.
Maximize your productivity with distraction blocking tool Freedom.
Available for mobile and desktop, Freedom enables you to schedule distraction-free work hours.
For example, you could block every Monday-Friday morning from 9:00am-11:00am. During these hours access to listed websites like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. would be denied.
In fact, you could even block the entire Internet if you wanted to. The flexible features help you set focused work hours.
Freedom is available monthly at $6.99 per month or $2.42 if you select the annual option.
Email is key to brand building.
Using an email marketing software like MailChimp can help you build your list with custom templates, sign-up forms, and comprehensive analytics.
MailChimp is user friendly and it’s free starting out. It’s worth noting though that MailChimp has suspended some cannabis accounts. However, this seems to be rare. Numerous cannabis companies are using MailChimp for email marketing. (including this one!)
Feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up with all of your social media updates?
Say hello to Buffer, your social media manager. The biggest benefit of Buffer is the ability to connect multiple profiles and pages. Plus, you can easily analyze the results. It’s an all in-one social media management tool that can save you hours of valuable time.
Connecting one social media account with Buffer is free. After that, it is $10 per month to connect up to 10 accounts.
#6 Social Mention
As your cannabis brand grows, so will your fan base.
Social Mention is a real-time social media search and analytics tool. Like the name suggests, Social Mention reveals detailed information about brand mentions and interactions.
It's a fantastic tool for brand management.
Social Mentions provides a breakdown of your brand’s strength, reach, sentiment, and more. In fact, Social Mention also includes top keywords, hashtags, users, and sources. This tool is completley free to use.
#7 Google Analytics
Want to learn more about the people coming to your website?
Google Analytics is the ultimate tool for analyzing website traffic. You can easily identify key info such as:
Who is coming to your website?
Where are they coming from?
What pages do they land on?
Where do they go on your site?
And much more!
Google Analytics includes 4 key reporting areas: Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversions. Here is a simple guide on how to set up Google Analytics with your website.
If you haven’t done so already, download it. Seriously. Google Analytics is vital for your business. The insights you can gain are game changing!
#8 Leafly's U.S. Advertising Guide
The logistics of advertising a cannabis business in the United States are hairy.
Advertising regulations can vary on state and locals levels. Even in legal areas, cannabis businesses are restricted from most conventional marketing methods.
In fact, cannabis businesses are still getting shut down on Facebook and Instagram, even when they are operating legally. Therefore, it’s vital you stay current on industry regulations.
While you can't eliminate your risk completely, you can seriously mitigate it.
Leafly’s list of advertising regulations is a great reference point. Their comprehensive list is easily searchable and user-friendly.
#9 Google Calendar
Never miss an appointment again with Google Calendar.
This free online tool allows you to schedule appointments, send invitations, and set reminders. Plus, Google Calendar is easy to use. You don’t have to be tech savvy to get started. Simply click the day and time you would like to schedule something and it will be added to your calendar.
Google Calendar can be viewed on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis so it’s really flexible depending on your needs.
Canva is the ultimate online graphic design resource.
They have over 50,000 templates to choose from. Plus, Canva includes the optimal graphic size for social media platforms. This is super handy if you need to design a cover image for your Facebook page or Pinterest graphic, for example.
All of this comes at the price of FREE.
While additional features can be extra, the free version has everything you need to create amazing graphics.
Overwhelmed by endless to-do lists?
Evernote is the ultimate note-taking program. This handy tool can help you organize lists, store files, track goals, save important articles and much more!
It’s literally designed to make your life easier. Evernote is also free, compatible across devices, and super simple to use.
What more can you ask for?
Trello makes project collaboration easier.
With Trello, you can organize work on boards. All of the progress you make on Trello is tracked, so you always know where a project stands. You can also add team members and assignments.
Once added to a board, users can view, edit, or even manage projects.
Using Grammarly is like having a personal editor.
This free plugin is the ultimate proofreader. Once installed, Grammarly will check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Whether you’re responding to an email or writing a tweet, you can fix grammar mistakes with a single click.
The plugin is free to use and will save you from embarrassing types. You can download Grammarly here.
#14 Survey Monkey
Need to send a survey?
Survey Monkey is an online tool that allows you to design, create, and send professional surveys within minutes. It’s incredibly simple to use. Survey Monkey provides a platform to analyze your results, helping you identify actionable insights.
It also happens to be free.
Sourcing quality cannabis images is challenging.
Starting out, you may not have the funds to purchase professional photography. Unsplash is a free stock photo site. While there are only a handful of cannabis photos right now, more images are being added. Plus, Unsplash has a large collection of other beautiful images.
All of their photos are high quality and 100% free.
Dropbox makes exchanging files a breeze.
It allows you to store files securely. The generous storage size means even large files can be added. A big benefit of Dropbox is the ability to share files between accounts. Simply add a user to a folder and they will be able to add or delete files.
No need to worry about unexpected surprises either.
Dropbox will notify you when an update has been made. Dropbox also offers password protection.
Secure and simple, this tool is an online staple.
Tracking finances is tricky business.
Make your life easier with money manager Mint. This handy tool brings all of your financial accounts into one. Plus, Mint also allows you to set budgets, make financials goals, and track savings progress.
Mint even categorizes your transactions. It is completely free to use and available on desktop and mobile.
Accounting in the cannabis industry is confusing, to say the least.
Forbidden from claiming deductions and sometimes forced to operate solely in cash, tax season is logistical nightmare for most cannabis companies. Having a knowledgeable accountant is therefore vital.
However, Quickbooks is also an excellent addition.
From processing payroll to bill management, this tool handles it all. Quickbooks can streamline your entire accounting processes. The comprehensive software keeps track of key aspects of your business like profit, loss, invoicing, etc.
Starting at only $9.99 a month, it’s an affordable tool that allows you to pay for only the features you need.
Working on a large-scale project?
Basecamp is an all in one project management tool. With Basecamp, you can schedule deadlines/milestones, communicate with team members, store files, send automatic project updates, and more.
However, this tool comes with a fairly hefty price tag at $99 per month. But Bascamp does offer a 30 day free-trial period.
Think of Flipboard like your own personal online magazine. The simple userface is intuitive and eye-catching.
A curated news app, Flipboard is a great way to organize and view relevant articles, photos, videos, and stories all in one place. You can even incorporate your social media handles here.
#22 Inbox Pause
It’s estimated an average person receives over 121 emails per day.
That is a lot of emails.
Inbox Pause allows you to pause incoming messages during select time periods.
For example, let’s say you are in meetings on Wednesdays from 9am to 11am. With Inbox Pause, you can schedule your emails to pause during these hours. This way you’re not bombarded with an influx of messages.
Quora has been a popular hangout on the Internet since 2009.
The site is set up like a question and answer format.
Community driven, there is very little moderation on the platform. So obviously you can’t take every response on Quora as absolute truth. However, it’s a fantastic resource for getting a pulse on top trends in the industry along with the most freuqent questions people are asking.
Asana is another handy collaboration tool.
It includes file creation and sharing, messaging, along with a tracker for team work. The cool part about Asana is that unlike other tools, you're not inundated with unnecessary updates. Asana only sends updates that are relevant to you.
A basic free version of Asana is available along with a premium version for $9.99 when billed annually.
#25 Word Swag
Need custom graphics for your social media channels?
Word Swag is a fantastic app for creating shareable images. Available for Android and iOS, Word Swag includes custom text layouts to produce stunning graphics within minutes. Simply select a photo or background image from their gallery or upload your own. Next, enter the text you would like to include in the post. Then save your image and share!
Word Swag is seriously that simple. For only $4.99, it's worth the download.
Have a favorite resource that didn’t make the list? Share it with us below!
AUTHOR: RACHEL GARLAND
Rachel Garland is the founder of Women of Cannabiz. A professional cannabis writer and educator – she is dedicated to empowering women in combining passion and purpose to make a positive impact. Rachel is currently based in Mexico but travels to other places with palm trees frequently.