Most small businesses have so much to do with little time to do it all, but they also have a wealth of resources to make this challenge a little easier. With the right tools, small businesses have what they need to automate their services, level the playing field, and grow their business and income with many tools to choose from. With so many options, the problem then becomes knowing which one would be the best solution.
We’ve compiled a short list of tools that can help you with project management, communication and collaboration, accounting, marketing, scheduling, and customer support/relationship management that could prove useful in helping to maximize your business potential and increase your income!
1. Project Management
Trello is a favorite among many businesses. With Trello, businesses can manage multiple projects simultaneously and collaborate within teams. You can create project management boards, cards, and lists and share them amongst the team. This tool has been a staple in my business lately. I have come to depend on it for helping to manage many things, including my communications within my business.
Trello has a free version that’s great for individuals and small teams. The Premium plan is best for teams of up to 100 people, and the Enterprise plan is for even larger teams. The plans start at $10 per user per month.
⚙️ Google Workspace
Google offers a workspace essential to groups storing files, sharing files of any type, and collaborating. Folders and files can be created within Google’s workspace or Google Drive for all team members to collaborate in real time. With Google Workspace, multiple team members can be in the same document at the same time, making changes and collaborating as needed for the good of the team. The good thing is Google Workspace is available for free to anyone with a Google account. Additional cloud space may need to be purchased based on the space needed to hold all your files.
With Slack, your team can collaborate in real-time in multiple channels. Teams of all sizes can communicate with very little effort. Slack is not only a space to chat, but teams can set up voice and video calls one-on-one or for the entire group.
Slack offers a free plan, and paid plans start at $7.25 per person each month.
Zoom is not only perfect for collaborating with your team but a great tool to use for large conferences. Zoom’s platform easily upgrades to meet the growing needs of your business. Get whiteboards, HD support, blurred background, cloud storage, and other meeting features.
Easily host up to 100 meeting attendees with a 40-minute limit with Zoom’s free plan or host up to 100 without time limitations on the Pro plan. Zoom’s Business plan allows for even more attendees with additional features for $199 a year.
FreshBooks’ intuitive design allows even the least experienced person to manage their accounting effortlessly. It automates, calculates, and processes all your data and allows you to run in-depth reports, like balance sheets and general ledgers, to look into your financials. Customize your invoicing and reports and seamlessly integrate other applications as you need.
With FreshBooks, you can start managing your accounting for as little as $6 a month with the Lite plan or for free for 30 days. The Plus and Premium plans are $10 and $20 monthly, respectively.
QuickBooks is not just an accounting software, but it’s an educational resource for anyone who needs to know more about bookkeeping. It comes accompanied by guides and tutorials to ensure you start off right. The centralized dashboards keep all your accounting in a central location. With QuickBooks, you can automatically track income and expenses, pay your staff and contractors, and always have insight into your business’s financial standing.
QuickBooks comes with a 30-day free trial version, and plans start at $15 a month with Simple Start but can go up to $100 a month with the Advanced plan.
Wave is a simple and free bookkeeping software that allows a business to invoice clients and scan receipts. The free plan offers a lot:
- Track income and expenses
- Create customized invoices
- Send automated invoice reminders
- Allow clients to pay by credit card or Apple pay
- Set up recurring billing and payments
- Add as many users, partners, or collaborators as you need
- Connect your bank and credit card information
- Access other helpful resources
Wave allows you to choose from two different plans if you want to run payroll: $20 a month or $35 a month. There are no limits on the number of transactions, and you can run multiple businesses from one account with an unlimited number of users.
Visual presentation is everything from the customers’ perspective. That’s why Canva is so critical to your marketing efforts. Use Canva to create eye-catching content for all your marketing platforms. They make it easy for a novice to design content easily. Drag and drop, and within a few clicks, you’ll have your logo, design, or image you can share on social media, in an email sequence, print media, or website. As a novice myself, who has never been comfortable in a design setting, I even find myself doing amazing things in Canva.
You can start designing on Canva for free and maintain that account for all your needs. Upgrade for just $12.95 a month to do even more.
🌐 Constant Contact
Constant Contact allows you to create email campaigns and track those emails to know the performance of each one you send. Always know how your customers respond to what you send them, and most importantly, automate it to save you time.
Sign up for free. Plans for Constant Contact start as low as $9.99 a month.
🌐 Google Analytics
It’s senseless to take the time to market your business without tracking your marketing efforts. One of the best ways to track how your marketing is performing is with Google Analytics. With Google Analytics, you can easily track and manage your customer data. Track every piece of data to help inform the direction your business is going in. Use that information to change the course if needed.
Google Analytics has a free standard version with what most small businesses need to track their data, but the 360 Version is available for $150 a month.
Email marketing is still in, and MailChimp is a great solution for running your email campaigns. With MailChimp, you can create and send automated emails, and schedule emails, so that the emails go out when you want them to, not when you can get to them.
You can start using MailChimp free for one month, keep a free plan with limited features that allow you to easily create and send email campaigns, or upgrade to the Essentials for $11 a month, which offers more scheduling features.
Calendly is an automated scheduler that helps people easily connect with your availability. With a simple click, you can share your availability and have clients schedule when the time is good for both parties. You can set it up to automatically send meeting reminders.
Calendly offers a free plan with minimum features. The Premium plan that offers automation starts at $8 a month per user.
📅 Meta Business Suite
If you market your small business on Facebook, you should be familiar with Meta Business Suite. With Meta Business Suite, you can schedule your social media content, view analytics to see how it’s performing, and check your inboxes and notification for audience engagement. Know how many people you’re reaching and how they’re interacting with your content easily with Meta Business Suite. The best thing is you get all of this for free. As a regular user myself, I find it easy to use, and it helps me to manage content that’s being scheduled from week to week.
6. Customer Support & Relationship Management
Use Hubspot to improve your conversion rates with its full-stack growth features. Hubspot can help you set up lead capture forms, send kickback emails, and track emails to know who’s clicking in, who’s unsubscribing, and more. You can also schedule sales meetings and chat live with your website visitors.
You can get started for free on Hubspot. From there, the Starter plan is only $45 a month to grow your business. How big are you trying to grow your business? The bigger the plan, the more features it has for you to grow even more. The Professional and Enterprise plans are available for larger businesses for $800 and $3,600 monthly, respectively.
Salesforce is a popular tool for many businesses. Its robust platform has many features and options that can propel your business to the next level. It can help with sales, service, marketing, and e-commerce. Salesforce’s Lightning Essentials package is ideal for most small businesses. The paid service is only $25 a month, but businesses can explore the many features Salesforce offers for free for 30 days. Start your free trial with no credit card or software to install anytime.
When you need signatures from your clients fast, there’s no time to mail documents. Who wants to spend additional time scanning documents when time is already of the essence? Clients love businesses that truly show up as professionals in making their life easier and simplifying the process. DocuSign does just that.
Provide your customers with the satisfaction of signing off on any document with DocuSign. DocuSign can easily upload documents for signature, note where the signature needs to go, and will even send the document for you. No more hassling customers for signatures or making mad dashes to the post office. Try DocuSign eSignature for free.
Paid plans start at $10 a month.
The Bottom Line
Small businesses are at risk every day of missing the mark and falling short of what they need to sustain. However, many tools exist to keep them in the game. If you’re a small business owner and lack the stability you need to succeed, give some of the tools listed in this article a trial run to see how they improve your processes and give your business the momentum it needs to generate additional income.