As a small business owner, you have your hand in every department. 

Being the head of sales, customer service, accounting, marketing, etc., can become overwhelming and pull you in a lot of different directions. That’s why having a collection of software tools can be a lifesaver for small business owners and make running your business smooth, convenient, and less time-consuming. 

Instead of doing a ton of research on the array of platforms out there, we’ve collected a list of the essential business tools you’ll need to run your small business smoothly while freeing up time to focus on other things.

1. Accounting Software

Record keeping is an integral part of your small business. Not keeping accurate financial records could not only affect your business spending, but it could run your small business into the ground. 

The best accounting software can make the numbers less messy to assemble. It can help you keep track of your income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and cash flow. You’ll get an accurate picture of your business’s financial performance, which helps you make informed business administration and operations decisions.

No need to go back to school for a degree in accounting. The following are examples of easy-to-use accounting software for your small business:

  • Quickbook: Choose from four plans depending on your needs. Packages start at $15/month.
  • Xero: Plans are based on what stage your small business is at. Whether you’re just starting out or are more established, there are packages that will fit your needs. Pricing starts at $12/month.
  • Wave: Perfect if you’re looking for a simple, straightforward tool. The price is simple, too, starting at $0/month for their basic plans. 

2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

With just a few customers, keeping to manual processes for managing your relationships with clients as a small business owner is easy. Once your customer base grows, it becomes hard to stick to manual processes for managing interactions with customers and prospects.

CRM tools help you manage your customer relationships across different touch points. This, in turn, helps build loyalty and increased customer retention. Opt for tools that are easy to use and scalable. Below are the CRM tools we recommend:

  • BenchmarkONE: Our CRM software is simple to use and helps small business owners track their customers’ behavior, so they can capitalize on sales and marketing opportunities. Pair our CRM with our marketing automation, and you can nurture your leads towards a sale, all while getting other things accomplished. Your small business can choose from our Lite or Pro plans, both starting at $0/month. Or, you can sign up for free and upgrade when you’re ready.

3. Project Management

As a business owner, it’s not uncommon for your day to get away from you. Some important tasks can get buried in the flurry of other business activities and distractions, leading to ineffectiveness, increased stress levels, and a decline in productivity.

Opting for project management software helps you to identify essential tasks that need to be completed, how long they should take, and how much budget to allocate to them. This helps you maintain productivity and a practical task management system.

Project management tools to try for your small business are:

  • ClickUp: Depending on the size of your team, ClickUp offers a few plans to fit your needs. They even have a free forever plan. 
  • Trello: Trello offers a similar pricing plan as ClickUp, and each plan is based on your small business’s particular needs. They also offer a free plan. 
  • Monday: Monday offers plans based on how intricate your team projects are. If you’re a business of one, there’s a free plan; otherwise, their pricing starts at $8/month. 

4. Website Builder

A website amplifies the visibility of your small business, making it easy for people to find you in the digital space and in person too! Once you have a small business, getting your website up and running is vital.

Depending on your skills, you can choose to build your website yourself or hire a skilled website designer to get it done. Even if you choose the latter, you need to familiarize yourself with the platform the website is built on for regular site updates and maintenance.

The following are versatile website builders to try:

  • WordPress: One of the most widely used content management and website building platforms, WordPress offers personal and professional plans starting at $4/month.
  • Wix: Wix website plans offer tons of templates so you can find a design that fits. Packages start at $16/month.
  • Carrd: Carrd uses a different approach and lets you start building your site asap. It offers tons of modern designs, and you can build up to three sites absolutely free. 

5. Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing are the lifeblood of your business. After the excitement of getting your business started, the next thing is to get the word out and put your business in front of your target audience. That’s where marketing comes in. Then, after cultivating prospects, you’ll need a plan to move them down the sales funnel

Marketing software helps you to get the message about your products and services out to your prospects. Below are some examples of helpful sales and marketing tools for a small business owner:

  • Benchmark Email: If you’re exclusively looking for lead generation and email marketing software, Benchmark Email is a simple tool that helps you create website forms to grow your email list and has tons of email templates for newsletters and email outreach. Benchmark Email has a free plan available to businesses just getting started. 
  • BenchmarkONE: Our marketing automation software has sales and marketing dashboards so each department can keep track of deals and the success of their email outreach. They can track prospects and set up drip campaigns for continuous email nurture. Sign up for free and upgrade when you’re ready.

6.     Team Communication and Collaboration

Fostering good communication between team members will improve the growth and success of your small business. When you establish an effective communication system, you build a solid foundation that helps staff stay focused on business goals. 

Stay in touch with team members, practice effective communication, and share information easily with the following communication tools: 

  • Slack: One of the most popular online communication tools, Slack packages start at $0/month.
  • Zoom: Great for video calls and meetings, Zoom keeps teams in contact no matter where they’re based. Pricing depends on the amount of users and what tools you need but starts at $0/month.
  • Google Meet: If you have a Google account, this tool is perfect, easy to use, and totally free.

7. Document and File Management

Track down important data and files, improve team productivity, and effectively disseminate information amongst team members with a document and file management system. Without one, your team could rack up hours looking for important files for different tasks, causing issues for collaboration and task management. 

Use the recommended software below to store, track and share critical business files and documents:

  • Google Workspace: Every plan includes Google’s suite of tools to help your team stay aligned with easy file sharing and managing. Plans start at $6/month.
  • Dropbox: Dropbox offers easy sharing and document tracking, as well as electronic signature. Pricing starts at $9.99/month.
  • SharePoint: SharePoint is a Microsoft product that aims to make your work life easier through seamless sharing and collaboration. They have a small business plan for $5/month. 

These solutions can help you to streamline your business operations and administration, build effective workflows, and improve productivity. With the right platforms, you can free up precious time that can be used doing the things that matter to you. Good luck finding the right tools for your small business!