As a small business owner, depending on the time of day, you’re the accountant, sales person, marketing guru, project manager, bill collector, and/or janitor. To say you wear many hats doesn’t do your job justice – you wear ALL the hats. When it comes to finding the tools to cure your productivity woes, it’s almost as frustrating as scrolling Netflix on a Friday night trying to find the perfect movie. It’s an endless sea of options.
Lucky for you, we’ve navigated the tides of Google and uncovered 17 online/mobile tools to help you and your small business no matter what hat you’re wearing.
QuickBooks Online – The #1 Accounting Software
You either use, or have heard of, QuickBooks. What you might not know is that QuickBooks Online is a much more versatile, cloud-based system at the same price point as the desktop version. At the office or on the go, you can access the financial status of your entire business wherever you are. QuickBooks Online is a plug and play, user-friendly tool that integrates seamlessly with most of the other services listed, providing a super customizable approach to managing your business.
Anti QuickBooks? Check out Freshbooks as a great accounting alternative that integrates with some of the other services on our list.
Joist – Online and Mobile Invoicing
Joist is a very user-friendly and super simple platform built just for PROs, specifically contractors. You can quickly create and send estimates to potential customers with a click of a button. Send invoices with payment terms and project details right from the job site. Keep track of your business anywhere you go with their mobile and web based applications.
Gusto – Your New HR Manager
Most small businesses don’t have a Human Resource department or even a manager on staff. But payroll, employee benefits, 401(k) and worker’s comp are all imperative functions to everyday life of operations. Enter Gusto. They offer a ton of features, all of which are super easy to execute on. Quickly whip up tax forms (W2’s and 1099’s), set up direct deposit for your staff, and integrate with your QuickBooks Online account with ease.
Another helpful HR nugget to check out is freebackgroundcheck.org. Don’t take unnecessary risks hiring new crew members when you don’t have to.
PayPal – Collect Money from Anyone, Anywhere
More than just a quick way to checkout when shopping online, PayPal offers small businesses a fully integrated payment processing solution. Sync with your QuickBooks Online account and accept credit and debit cards online. Customers can pay through digital invoices, in person (using their mobile app and card reader), or by email with their existing PayPal accounts. You can even process checks (people still use those things, right?). One of the less sparkly features of using PayPal is the access to support and customer service. You won’t find much help from a human with other similar services.
A super user friendly alternative to PayPal is Square. Process payments on the go or online, connect to your QuickBooks Online account or use their own platform, and stop waiting around to get paid.
G Suite – Google for Small Businesses
With all the options out there to help run your small business, we almost overlooked the giant elephant in the room, Google. With G Suite you can do just about everything, everywhere: communicate, collaborate, store and manage. When you combine G Suite with free tools like Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Alerts, Google might just be the one resource you need to stay on top of your business.
Jobber – A Must Have for PROs
Jobber is a general contractors best friend! You can essentially manage your entire business inside their sleek, user-friendly platform, and at only $39/mo it’s a great deal. They have a built in customer relationship manager (CRM) to help manage customers, track estimates and hopefully boost sales. Syncing seamlessly with QuickBooks Online, you can send invoices, process payments online, track expenses and run and view financial reports all within their platform. The scheduling feature helps you manage your jobs throughout the month and even optimize your routes throughout the day to keep you as efficient as possible. You can even track time, location of your team, and get text notifications when your crew gets to the job site. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in need of a business system overhaul.
SUPPLY.com PRO – Free Tools for PROs
With free access to a dedicated Account Manager, same-day shipping, and up to 30% off retail pricing, a SUPPLY.com PRO Account is a must have for any trade professional who works with plumbing and lighting. PROs also get exclusive access to PRO only deals and discounts, in addition to a ton of helpful online tools to help their business grow.
Calendly – Fully Integrated Scheduling Tool
With scheduling tool Calendly, never worry about tracking down customers or playing email tag again. Their smart calendar integration syncs with your calendar (from Gmail or Outlook) so customers (or anyone) can schedule a meeting with you without conflict or hassle. You’re able to fully customize meeting length, buffer time in between meetings, and so much more. Easily embed your Calendly on your website and even sync it with services like Mailchimp to help integrate across your business.
We use Calendly every day at SUPPLY.com to help streamline our recruiting efforts. If you’re looking to join our team (or know someone who is), check out our current openings here.
Mailchimp – Send Better Email
Not just for startups and online retailers, Mailchimp is the best (and probably most fun) email marketing tool for your small business. Easily add your customer contact info, add lead capture tools to your website and create great looking emails with their drag and drop content tool. Like the other tools we’ve highlighted, Mailchimp connects to other services that help run your business. The best part? It’s free to use for up to 2,500 contacts.
Canva – Free Graphic Design Help
With Canva you can easily create great looking marketing materials for your small business, for free! Choose from a list of templates (business cards, flyers, presentations, posters, social media images, and more) and use their drag and drop editor to give your business the professional look and feel without having to hire an expensive graphic designer or agency.
UberConference – FaceTime for Your Business
Faster is better and sometimes it’s easier. One of our favorite services, UberConference, gives you a free conference phone number and platform to conduct virtual presentations and meetings. With their web and mobile apps you don’t have to physically be anywhere other than where you are. For certain customers, this is a great alternative to a more traditional in-house estimate. Share your screen or files with anyone, schedule meetings and you can even record the presentation and send it to your customer afterwards for review. This is also a great tool for managing remote meetings and cutting time for your crews.
Grasshopper – Virtual Phone System for PROs
You’re on the go all day long and you need a phone system that adjusts to your hectic, ever-changing schedule. With Grasshopper there’s no hardware or software you need to worry about. Grab your phone number, add extensions for you and your staff (even sub-contractors) and calls forward directly to them. Get emailed voicemails and faxes, and voicemails can be even transcribed to text. Great solution for cutting the cord or for adding a toll-free number for marketing purposes to track inbound leads.
Insightly – Sales Tool and CRM
Insightly is a complete (and free) CRM that integrates and plays nicely with a bunch of the other services listed (QuickBooks Online, Mailchimp, Evernote…). Built specifically for small businesses, Insightly helps manage the entire sales cycle from start to finish in a user-friendly and customizable platform. Download their mobile app to manage your relationships on the go or dive deeper into solving problems with their intuitive reports.
Evernote – Notes Without the Pen and Paper
On the surface Evernote looks like a really nice note taking app. Which it is, but it’s also so much more. With their cloud platform, you can easily manage projects, jobs, ideas, lists, and to-do’s and quickly share them with your customers or your crew from anywhere. One of our favorite features is the ability to search for anything. You can find customer info, or really anything, across every notebook and inside every note. Our theme continues as Evernote integrates with a ton of other services including IFTTT, allowing you to automate processes and common actions.
toggl – The World’s Best Time Tracker
Ever wonder how much your time is worth? Do you charge for in home estimates? Meet toggl, the best time tracker out there (and probably the most fun one to use). It’s basically a digital time clock that you can manage from anywhere. Ideal for interior designers or consultants, toggl is also a perfect tool for small business owners and trade professionals trying to be smarter and more productive about their work. Easily create projects for clients and track how much time you and your team is spending on them. Get a live overview of what you’ve been working on with their reporting tool and of course, integrate with other favorites like Evernote, QuickBooks Online, just about every Google product, and a ton of others.
Trello – Cloud Based Project Manager
Thanks to Trello, getting work done across your small business has never been easier. With the drag and drop functionality, quickly customize their platform to meet your project management style, collaborate with your crew or your customers and stay on task with everything. Another cloud platform, Trello is a great tool for housekeeping purposes as well and keeping the office in order from anywhere. Check out this helpful guide to get started and have fun getting you and your small business organized.
Reporting and Analytics
Cyfe – All in One Business Dashboard
Cyfe is an all in one business dashboard to help you stay on top of every aspect of your small business. From sales and marketing to accounting and tracking competitors, you can quickly pull up real time stats for your small business and see the results of your hard work or identify areas where you can improve. The web based platform connects services like QuickBooks Online, Mailchimp, Google, social media, and more. You can even embed custom reports and presentations you’ve already created to house all of your analytics and data in one dashboard. Cyfe is a great tool and it’s free to get started.
Already using some of these tools and looking to take your small business to the next level? Services that use “bots” are taking over and making small business owners as efficient as ever. Check out personal assistant x.ai and team communication tool Slack to see how bots work. For the early adopters out there who like to nerd out on the latest and greatest in tech, stop by Producthunt every day for a list of new shiny toys to play with.
That’s it for our list of essential tools. Do you use any of these? Do you have a favorite that we didn’t mention? Let us know what tools help you with your small business on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll share with our online community of PROs.