Practical Ecommerce

20 Tools to Run a Small Business

A small business owner assumes many functions — marketing, sales, human resources, information technology, and research and development. Fortunately, there are some terrific online tools to help you perform most any company task.

Here is a list of online tools to run a small business. There are tools to schedule customers, collaborate with a team, manage social conversations, distribute content, build and analyze websites, and more. All of these tools are relatively inexpensive, and several are free. If your favorite tool isn’t listed, be sure to include it in the comments below.

Slack

Slack.

Slack.

Slack is an internal messaging app for your team. Slack features real-time messaging, file sharing, one-to-one and group conversations, inline images and video, rich link summaries and integration with services you use every day. Price: Free account for 5 integrations and 10K message searchable archive. Paid plans start at $6.67 per user per month.

Asana

Asana.

Asana.

Asana is a tool for team tasks and conversations. Organize your tasks into shared projects for your initiatives, meetings, and lists. Keep conversations with tasks, instead of scattered across email. Get automatic updates about tasks that matter to you. Visualize you team’s goals and milestones with calendars and dashboards. Price: Get started for free. Paid plans start at $21 per month for 5 users.

Wave

Wave.

Wave.

Wave offers a platform of financial applications, for small businesses with nine employees or less. The tools are for invoicing, accounting, payroll, payments, and more. Price: Accounting, invoicing, receipts, and personal finance applications are free. Payroll application starts at $9 per month, payments application is 30 cents plus 2.9 percent per transaction.

Insightly

Insightly.

Insightly.

Insightly is a customer-relationship-management system for small businesses. It helps you manage contacts, organizations, partners, vendors, and suppliers. See everything about your contacts — background, email history, important dates, and projects in which they’ve participated. Insightly also incorporates project management features, such as creating tasks and milestones, automated reminders, projects views, and event reports. Price: Free up to three users. Standard plan is $7 per user per month.

Trello

Trello.

Trello.

Trello is a collaboration tool to organize projects. Trello uses boards, lists, and cards to create projects and develop your workflow. Create lists filled with cards, used with a team or by you. Drag and drop cards, and reorder as needed. Follow your project as the board updates in real time. Price: Free. Premium plan is $5 per user per month.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite.

Hootsuite.

Hootsuite is a tool to manage your social media conversations. Manage social networks, schedule messages, engage your audiences, and measure return on investment right from the dashboard. Monitor and engage followers in over 35 popular social networks. Hootsuite’s social media analytics give you an in-depth view of how well your social media efforts are being received, so you can run with what’s working or change directions. Price: Individual plan is free. Pro plan is $9.99 per month.

dlvr.it

dlvr.it.

dlvr.it.

Dlvr.it is a tool to manage content distribution. Dlvr.it continuously monitors your news feeds and RSS-enabled websites and automatically shares new content to your social networks. Queue up content and distribute it at optimal times when your audience is active and engaged. Dlvr.it also offers promoted stories for expanded distribution. Price: Free plan available for five feeds. Enhanced plans start at $9.99 per month. Promoted stories start at $9.95 per story.

MailChimp

MailChimp.

MailChimp.

MailChimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, and track your results. Get insight about your subscribers and keep your contacts in one place. MailChimp features automated emails, send-time optimization, advanced analytics, flexible design options, and more. Price: Free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Paid plans start at $10 per month.

Desk.com

Desk.com.

Desk.com.

Desk.com is an out-of-the-box customer support app for small businesses. Get the tools you need to manage cases so you can quickly help customers. Make it easy for customers to troubleshoot issues and close their own cases. Automate repetitive tasks to reduce the times agents spend on simple cases. When you need more customization, upgrade with just a few clicks. Price: Plans start at $30 per month.

Invoiceberry

Invoiceberry.

Invoiceberry.

Invoiceberry is an online tool that helps your business send quotes and invoices to clients within a few clicks. Create, send, and manage your invoices and keep track of expenses and payments. Send invoice reminders within seconds and get paid faster. All invoices are stored online and easily accessible. Price: Free for up to three clients. Paid plans start at $15 per month.

Do

Do.

Do.

Do is an app to run productive meetings. Utilize a visual timeline to see what’s going on with meetings and participants. Set an agenda, track follow-ups, and define outcomes. Share a canvas for all the notes, presentations, and docs. With automatic meeting summaries, Do emails the notes to all participants. Run a meeting from your desktop or mobile device. Price: Free.

Appointlet

Appointlet.

Appointlet.

Appointlet is an online appointment-scheduling app for Google Calendar, for customers that need to book your services. Connect your existing Google Calendar and Appointlet will immediately identify when you’re busy. Appointlet sends automatic and customizable reminders to your clients. Collect payments when clients books appointments. Appointlet can be added to your website, emails, or social media profiles. Price: Plans start at $10 per month.

OneDrive

OneDrive.

OneDrive.

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage and collaborative workspace solution. Securely store all your files and share them with co-workers. Each OneDrive for Business user gets 1 TB of storage. OneDrive for Business is fully integrated with Microsoft Office, so it’s easy to create, edit, and review documents with others in real time and even discuss them on Yammer, the private social network. Ensure that everyone is working on the most recent document and can view or revert to previous versions as needed. And when it’s time, you can set up a seamless review and approval process. Price: Business plan is $5 per user per month; Office Online included.

Wunderlist

Wunderlist.

Wunderlist.

Wunderlist is a collaborative to-do list platform to help your team get things done. Delegate to-dos in your shared lists and accomplish more together. Use the comments feature to have team discussions about tasks. Add a reminder to make sure no to-do is missed. Set due dates, and get updates via push, email, and in-app notifications. Wunderlist is available on desktop, mobile, and the web. Real-time sync keeps all your lists current. Price: Free. Business account is $4.99 per user per month.

Evernote

Evernote.

Evernote.

Evernote is a workspace app to move ideas from inspiration to completion. Write, collect information, find what you need, and present your ideas to the world. Clip web articles, capture handwritten notes, and snap photos. Utilize Evernote’s search to find what you need when you need it. Present your work as it evolves with just one click, transforming notes into screen-friendly images. Price: Free. Premium plan is $5 per month. Business is $10 per user per month.

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting.

GoToMeeting.

GoToMeeting is an easy-to-use audio, video, and screen-sharing platform for online meetings. Launch a meeting, and invite people via phone, email, or instant message. Present and collaborate from your tablet or computer. Features speaker identification, application sharing, group and private chat, one-click recording, on-screen drawing tools, free mobile apps, and up to 100 attendees. Price: Free for up to three users. Paid plan $39 per month for up to 25 users.

UserVoice

UserVoice.

UserVoice.

UserVoice is a customer support application that’s a scalable and affordable solution for small business. UserVoice features three core products to keep customers happy: feedback forums, support ticket systems, and a knowledge base. Understand the feature requests that matter most to users. Make information easy to access, so you can help users instantly, and reduce requests and tickets. And with the UserVoice helpdesk, fielding support tickets is as easy as answering email. Price: Plans start at $15 per agent per month.

WordPress

WordPress.org.

WordPress.org.

WordPress is an open-source content management system. WordPress started as just a blogging platform, but now can be used to create dynamic websites of all types, including ecommerce stores, through the thousands of plugins and widgets and themes — there are over 35,000 plugins and 3,000 themes available. Price: Free.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics.

Google Analytics.

Google Analytics gives you the full traffic picture across ads and videos, websites and social tools, and tablets and smartphones. Measure advertising and campaign performance. Analyze and test segments of your traffic. Get insights on your audience, such as where it comes from and how loyal and engaged your visitors are. Price: Free. Contact for premium pricing.

Google Apps

Google Apps.

Google Apps.

Google Apps is a suite of many essential tools to run your business. Use Gmail for email, as well as search and integrated calendars for scheduling. Draft work collaboratively with Docs, then save your work in Drive. Use Hangouts to give video presentations or host video conference calls. Price: $5 per user per month.

Sig Ueland
Sig Ueland
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Comments ( 16 )

  1. Sahil P February 17, 2015 Reply

    Hi Sig,
    Another one is Brightpod – a project management software for marketing teams. Do take a look at it if you have time.

  2. Phillip Tredson February 17, 2015 Reply

    “If your favorite tool isn’t listed, be sure to include it in the comments below”.

    I’d mention Bitrix24. Unlike many of the above it’s free. And substitutes several tools (like Google Docs, Yammer, Trello, Skype).

  3. Bill Flitter (@bflitter) February 17, 2015 Reply

    Flattered to have dlvr.it included along with a great list of tools for the small business. Thank you.

  4. Dr. Robert February 17, 2015 Reply

    Great toolbox list for startups and small business in general. I myself use http://brofarops.keepandshare.com to keep my business organized. I also recommend free SEO tools from http://seo-now.page.tl/free-SEO-tools.htm

  5. Patrick Carmitchel February 18, 2015 Reply

    Hey Sig. Lots of great tools here. We just released Glip 2 and I respectfully ask you to take a look and tell us what you think. We’ve found a way for teams to communicate and get work done at the same time. Check out the video here https://vimeo.com/119911687

  6. Glen Kosaka February 20, 2015 Reply

    Great list! Be sure to also check out Rignite
    http://www.rignite.com

    It’s ideal for small businesses and agencies for social media marketing and running integrated facebook and twitter campaigns.

  7. Gina Davis (@customgrowthgrp) February 21, 2015 Reply

    Great post. Lists are one of my favorite blogs to write and read.

    Checking out dlvr.it from this post. Currently using Bufferapp & Viraltag for my content scheduling & delivery.

    Trello host my editorial calendar & to-do list.

    Another service I use to Thank my clients via mail is SendOutCards. Great for personalizing a Thank you for your business note card.

  8. John William February 25, 2015 Reply

    Nice List !
    You may also add Invoicera to the list of tools. It’s an online solution with features like online invoicing, task management, expense and time tracking. You can also assign tasks to your team and keep the track of work done by your team through daily time sheets.

    It is significantly designed for small businesses.

    ….
    Manager
    http://www.invoicera.com

  9. Shannon Mulligan February 27, 2015 Reply

    Great post and really useful. I am still in love with Podio for project & contact management

  10. Sean Owens February 28, 2015 Reply

    We also use http://www.taskbiller.com saves us hours managing contractors customers and projects. A hidden gem that stops us leaking revenue on back door requests from Customers .

  11. Clark M. March 14, 2015 Reply

    Great list you have here, Sig.

    In our company we use this tool Time Doctor which helps manage employees. It tracks exactly where time is spend and how much of that time is productive and unproductive.

    If you’re interested on how this tool works or how it can help you run your business. Check out: http://goo.gl/EMe0w7

  12. Heather Servaty May 1, 2015 Reply

    Another great tool is Sendtree (www.sendtree.com). Excellent service that allows for mass text messaging. It is professional, reliable, and reasonably priced. You can text your customers (e.g., special offers) and/or employees (e.g., closings, schedule changes) and get info out fast.

  13. Thomas Miller July 14, 2015 Reply

    For local business, customer reviews plays an important role.

    Vintelli.com, a smart social media analytics and business tools helps you to find the aggregated reviews your business received from the users in different website like Foursquare, Citysearch etc. with some really valuable social media and analytics data within one dashboard.

  14. Cameron November 9, 2015 Reply

    A biggy for us is CL AutoPilot for automating our Craigslist advertising ….. http://clautopilot.net

  15. Kate November 20, 2015 Reply

    Very useful list. However, I am using Billbooks for a long time for invoicing my clients and it’s worth adding in this list. The exceptional features and pocket-friendly cost makes Billbooks apt for small business.

  16. Sam Brand December 22, 2015 Reply

    I’m running my business and I’m currently using an app called TimeCamp (http://timecamp.com). Thanks to that I have time tracking software, productivity booster and invoicing tool in just one app.

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