The challenges for small businesses are too many. They lack resources, manpower, exposure and also experience. But they do not need to consider themselves as have-nots of the business world thanks to an array of speciality tools that make the job of running a business easier. Even a small business startup maintained and run by a couple of people can beat most of the day to day operational challenges ranging from email scheduling to social media posting to expense management and tracking vital metrics thanks to these business tools.
Let us describe 25 must-have business tools that every startup, small business or new entrepreneur will find useful.
Slack is a communication tool that achieved quick popularity thanks to its unique approach to making group messaging and notifications easier than ever before. Slack never allows blowing up your notification folder with too many group messages most of which are repetitive and irrelevant. Instead of intermingling several groups within the same messaging ecosystem, Slack actively organises group-wise messages to ensure more structured and organised accessibility. At the same time, multiple Slack channels are capable of sharing files, allowing direct calls, searching messages and also an additional option of encouraging a member with a funny “taco”.
- SEO Moz
SEO Moz is a complete suite of advanced web marketing and ranking tools popular all over the globe for their hugely effective output and credentials recognised by most search engines and major web brands. The most well-known ranking parameters offered by SEO Moz are respectively Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA).
Both ranking systems, respectively DA and PA measured with a 100 mark scale depends upon several factors such as quality of contents, quality inbound links, social media mentions, presence in bookmarking sites, the frequency of hits in search engine lists, etc. SEO Moz also offers an array of other marketing and page ranking tools. You can get the entire bounty of Moz tools by subscribing the Pro version for $99 per month.
Most startups depend on stock images rather than their in-house photographers to fetch images to fit their web contents. But, most tools offering stock images come with boring repetitive photographs with well-known cliches. Whenever you think of surpassing this generic vibe of so-called stock images and choosing something uniquely contextual, think of Pixabay. All images, gif and videos on Pixabay are released under the Creative Common protocol to allow access to any visual of your preference and need for absolutely free.
Whether you need to jostle a few lines that flare up on your mind while on the way to a meeting or you need to save a quick link with an image or you want to take note sitting right inside a training session, in all circumstances you can use this awesomely simple and user-friendly note-taking tool.
Evernote continued to remain one of the most popular and powerful cross-platform note apps for both individuals and small firms. The tool allows sharing notes, file attachments, reminders and voice memos. If you want to use it for multiple employees within a work environment, you should go for Evernote Premium version priced at $5 per month or just $45 per annum.
In many small companies or startups often Human Resource lacks a fully developed process or a discipline as such. Because of the severe lack of resources, small businesses deal with human resource needs through outsourcing firms or at best, with a single in-house HR professional taking care of everything in his capacity. This often results in severe lack of talent acquisition and retention over a period of time.
To help such small business startups and entrepreneurs dealing with this issue now you have GoCo.io, the single platform to organise and streamline all your HR workflows through a single platform. The platform is completely web-based and streamlines diverse HR processes such as time tracking, productivity analysis and performance management, employee onboarding process, payroll management, etc. Apart from saving a lot of paperwork for day to day HR activities, it offers a solid platform to deal with all employee related issues in a very effective manner.
- Google Drive and Google Docs
These are all too well-known tools from Google that are popular for file and document creation and sharing. The cloud-based file storage and note-taking system of these two tools help you remain in sync across multiple devices in real time. No wonder, both the tools are tremendously popular for projects requiring collaboration from different professionals. It is particularly useful for companies handling several freelance content contributors from different locations.
The best thing is Google Drive integrated with Google Docs offers a 15 GB storage for absolutely free and it is quite a lot for a small startup to begin with. You can go for more storage by opting for the paid version.
In a new company lack of an established HR process often results in the ad acquisition and long-term loss of productivity. To deal with the complexities of hiring process involving identity and background checks, employment history checks, drug and substance abuse screenings, verifying degree and qualification, etc small companies and startups often find themselves in a difficult position. GoodHire is an awesomely simple and rich tool to deal with all these tasks relieving you of the paperwork and workloads while delivering results within the day.
- Google Analytics
A website can be the best marketing tool for small business provided it knows the fine art of generating leads from web traffic and converting them into business. Well, this requires knowing where from your visitors are coming, their demographics, their preferences and user behaviour elements while interacting with your business website. All these and many more metrics are tracked and provided with tangible data-centric insights by Google Analytics, the most successful analytics engine powered by Google’s expertise with the web search traffic. It is a must-have tool for any business website now.
- Hubspot’s Marketing Grader
How can you be sure whether the voluminous efforts and energy spent on your business website are at all converting business for you? Well, this is what you can check and track through this free tool from Hubspot. The tool will help you get access to most relevant and useful insights and figures corresponding to the performance of your blog, social media and lead generation through various digital avenues.
These days most companies try to limit the overhead cost for manpower resources to a minimum. It is particularly true for small businesses and startups who are more exposed to the volatility of the business outcome. So, they prefer hiring quality freelancers to contribute to their projects. This is when the importance of hiring tools such as Upwork comes into view. The tool works with an open bidding system to help you get the best talents onboard with lucrative pricing.
Quora is too well known a forum allowing us to post queries and get answers on any topic imaginable. The fun side of this all in one source of readymade answers apart, the tool is also awesome to get consistent exposure with most knowledgeable and useful answers to questions of your niche. A small business can easily build a reputation around a profile, get followed by thousands and draw traffic by posting relevant links in context to answers posted in Quora.
Most business blogs running on WordPress with a rigorous content strategy involving multiple writers often find it difficult to schedule the posts in a timely and organised manner. CoSchedule is a great WordPress addon to meet these challenges. The tool allows you to plan content submission well in advance, send a notification to writers about upcoming posts and streamline the entire process of writing, editing and social sharing of contents. It is a well-equipped platform that takes away the entire concern of content submission, publication and sharing. The tool comes with only a 14 day free trial period and post that period you need to subscribe.
E-mail marketing is necessary for every small time business endeavour and while they have a lot of good tools for creating and sending a bulk newsletter, nothing can beat the merit of MailChimp. This robust tool allows you sending 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers without charging a dime. The tool comes loaded with a rich set of features including a whole range of eye-grabbing templates, sophisticated analytics, great scope of personalisation, etc.
Do you need a robust internet calling and messaging system to allow all your employees and freelance contributors across locations to stay in touch constantly? Well, think of no other tool than Telzio. The tool apart from getting a reputation for performance also delivers a very intuitive and visually engaging interface. The tool is not free but the pricing system doesn’t involve complexities like termination fees.
Crowdfunding has received phenomenal appreciation and popularity among startups because of the tremendous role it played for creating successful innovative applications and gadgets over the years. Fundera is a great tool to finance your business with a lot of exposure to your contributors and well-wishers. Fundera helps you work with dozens of lenders and get a loan at lucrative rates.
Kickstarter is already too well-known as a crowdfunding platform that allows you to keep your equity share for the product intact. Instead of going after potential lenders, the platform helps you reaching a fund target through pre-production sales. To boost the morale of your donors to stand behind you the tool also allows you to offer incentives for them through future products or freebies of any kind.
Social media comes as the most opportunity-ridden free tool to promote a business or a venture. Startups find it as the only free tool to reach their audience. But given the kind of time and continuous involvement it requires, the cost in terms of time looks no less than an exorbitant fee. This is why tools like Hootsuite became so popular. It allows scheduling posts, tracking social media mentions, evaluating the effectiveness of contents, etc.
SalesLoft is the tool to give your sales figure a boost by reaching more customers. The tool is more suited for B2B sales and can help the sales professionals to get in touch through an inbuilt sales dialer, a sales-specific email function and integrated tools like Salesforce. The tool is great for boosting business conversion and customer retention.
Every business involving team-based collaboration will find this task management tool tremendously helpful. The tool is able to come up with multiple boards, cards, set different due dates for respective projects and assign notes as and when needed. Trello comes as free for a small team size but the pricing grows corresponding to the growth in team members.
The aesthetic appeal of a website and visual engagement largely depends on how you create and incorporate graphics into your website. For this, Canva is the ideal tool to opt for. The tool doesn’t involve a steep learning curve and allows creating beautiful graphics through pre-built templates. For small budget marketers, Canva offers the easiest way to create graphics.
These days, infographics are all in rage as a visual representation of relevant information now draws more traction than mere texts. But high-impact, visually engaging infographics are often summed up as the creations of expert graphic designers. Well, Piktochart can deliver you similarly lucrative and visually appealing infographics through several pre-formatted and customisable templates.
Most businesses remain in complete darkness about creating legal documents. Whether it is about employment contracts or creating a basic service agreement for customers, you do not need to go from scratch thanks to the free collection of legal documents provided by this tool. You can further make them reviewed by legal professionals when you need or afford to do so.
The accounting staff of every company knows the tumult and trauma involved in delivering expense reports. It involves so minute and granular level tracking of receipts and bills, that the job looks daunting. Come to Expensify and you have the most sophisticated tool to take an entire load of expense tracking, receipt scanning and easy single-click reimbursement. The basic plan comes as free apart from a feature-rich corporate plan with a trial period for 30 days.
Coordinating events for a small business firm often involves too many hassles. Doodle helps you in this respect with a well organised calendar-based event coordination platform. Scheduling meetings and parties by raking everyone’s opinions have been made simple thanks to Doodle.
Small businesses often suffer from a lack of communication with the customers. Educating customers and spreading awareness is also of paramount importance for many businesses. An intercom is a robust tool with a whole array of functions allowing businesses to communicate through live chat and make user-focused interactions.
Obviously, there is a similar number of tools that missed this list and none of them deserves to be discredited of their effectiveness until and unless businesses find them helpful. At the same time, these tools may help many startups and businesses to know about tools they had no idea about.