Whether or not you work from home or maintain an outside office, there are certain tools you need to keep your business running smoothly. Here are six of my favorites.

Epson ET-4750 Eco Tank Printer

I never thought I would be in love with a printer but this beauty changed my mind.

Many days I need to print illustrations, spreadsheets, proposals and applications. As anyone knows who uses the standard ink jet printers, you can spend a small fortune replacing ink cartridges.

This Epson printer is called “Eco Tank” because instead of using expensive ink cartridges, you simply fill any dry tanks with large bottles of ink that are very inexpensive.

With my old printer I was replacing ink cartridges every couple of months at a cost of close to $50. With my Epson ET-4750 I fill the tanks a couple times a year and the large bottles of ink cost a fraction of that of the old ink cartridges.

I am on my second Eco Tank printer and my only complaint is that I wish it had a better sheet feeder for scanning documents.  While I got about two years of heavy use from my first Epson, the reason I had to replace it was because of problems with the sheet feeder. But other than that I am very happy.

Cost: $399 | Epson

Adobe Acrobat Pro: A tool for liberating spreadsheets locked inside PDF files.

If you have ever wanted to copy the projected values locked inside a carrier’s illustration to an Excel spreadsheet, then Adobe Acrobat Pro is the answer.

The above is a page form a carrier’s product illustration. The data is locked inside a PDF file.

With Adobe Acrobat Pro I can choose to export this PDF file to an Excel spreadsheet (below).

After exporting the PDF file to an Excel spreadsheet I can do a number of things with the unlocked values. For example, I might copy and paste the Cash Surrender Values into another spreadsheet designed to compare this product to another similar product or to an alternative investment.

You can do a lot more with Adobe Acrobat Pro but I find that the ability to unlock data in carrier illustrations is worth the price.

Cost: $14.99 monthly | Adobe

Fiverr: Freelance services for the lean entrepreneur.

Fiverr is a network of some pretty talented freelancers that you can pay to perform a variety of different tasks very inexpensively.

I have used freelancers from Fiverr for things like creating logos, proof-reading, creating direct mail workshop invitations and more.

Many of these tasks are priced at a flat rate and extremely reasonable.

The great thing is that the Fiverr website allows you to quickly connect with the freelancers you are looking for to get any job done fast.

Cost: $5 and up depending on the task. | Fiverr.com

SalesForce: Client Management Database

Every advisor needs a good client database management program. My current choice is Salesforce. However, I will probably change to either Infusionsoft or Hubspot sometime soon.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing bad to say about Salesforce. It is the “go to” CRM for people in sales.

The reason I will likely change is that I am doing more of my marketing and lead generation using the internet and social media and Infusionsoft, Hubspot are extremely powerful tools for this type of marketing. The problem is that these program/services are extremely expensive and from all of my research their learning curve is pretty steep.

For most advisors SalesForce is more than adequate.

Cost: $25 monthly | SalesForce

Age Calculator: Convert DOB to Age

Before you can complete an application or run a product illustration you often must convert a client’s date of birth to their age.

This age calculator is a simply online tool provided by Math Cats.

Cost: FREE | MathCats

What Tools Do You Use?

So this is a simplified list of some of the software I use in my sales process. Do you have any software you can’t live without?

Let me know in the comments below!