Is managing your startup proving far more difficult than you had initially imagined?
If so, you are probably missing out on the small business productivity tools that successful entrepreneurs usually use.
As the modern-day economy continues to shift towards the entrepreneurial side, starting a company is no longer that big of a deal. However, once the startup kicks into action, that’s when you begin to realize there are a hundred other things that need to be taken care of.
Keeping track of all the work, managing finances, scheduling meetings, handling paperwork, finding investors, hiring employees… the list is endless.
Since the bank balance is limited and there are only a few hands on deck to look after the business matters, it is quite understandable why more than 40% of all startups fail within the first five years.
Running your own business is no joke. So, if you want to succeed and prosper, it is important to equip yourself with the best productivity-boosting tools that will help make the most out of your limited resources.
These tools streamline your business operations and thus, save the time, money, and efforts spent on completing the daily tasks as well as larger projects.
Following are the best productivity tools for small-scale businesses. We have categorized them into different sections depending on what they are used for. Browse them all or skip to the category you feel your business needs help in.
Productivity Tools for Team Communication
Slack is a business communication app that allows team members to coordinate with each other from anywhere and at any time. This cloud-based interaction tool is ideal for project collaboration as users can share ideas and discuss problems on the go.
You can create groups to stay connected with the whole team, or use private channels to communicate with the required person directly. The app is free to use, but you will have to buy one of their monthly packages to access certain features like screen-sharing.
- Allows you to organize conversations
- File-sharing and screen-sharing
- Search option to quickly browse previous chats and shared documents
- In-app voice and video call option
- Integration tool that helps you to turn conversations and chat messages into actionable items
Chanty is another team communication app that enables small-scale business owners to stay connected with all their employees. It pretty much offers the same features as Slack, but has one main advantage – Chanty is much more cost-effective.
The free version of Chanty gives you more storage space as compared to Slack. Also, their premium packages cost relatively lower than most of the other alternative apps in the same category.
- Simple and easy to use
- Allows you to collaborate with team members through text messages, voice and video calls
- Screen, file, and link sharing option
- Create tasks and track their progress
- Data encryption
- Invite-only access gives you complete control over who can use the app
Do you find it difficult to schedule meetings? Or waste too much time in finalizing the date and time at which all the required team members are available to sit together and discuss a particular matter? Do you wish each employee in your office had their own personal secretary to determine their availability?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Calendly is all you need to put such worries to rest.
Calendly is a calendar-style app that makes scheduling meetings easier than you might imagine. The only thing that users need to do is download the app on their smartphones or desktop computers, and enter their availability preferences. Calendly will then use smart algorithms and carry out the necessary calculations to figure out a time when everyone is free to meet.
- Syncs with your other calendars (Google, Outlook, iCloud or Office 365) to avoid double-booking for the same day / time
- Set buffer times between meetings
- Schedule one-on-one meetings in private mode without letting the whole team know
- You can try out the Pro version for free for 14 days to get a clear idea of what the app offers
Productivity Tools for Task Organization
Too much to do and too little time to do it?
Use Todoist to identify what needs to be done first and what can wait until later.
This app lets you create to-do lists so that you can not only keep track of all business-related tasks that ought to be completed, but also help you stay mindful of any pending personal and household chores.
- Works on both desktop and mobile devices
- Invite others to view and edit your lists
- The minimalistic design makes it easy to create new lists and navigate existing ones
- Enable notifications to be reminded of upcoming deadlines
- Add documents and pictures to lists if required
Trello is a task management app that is extremely useful for businesses that have too many projects running side by side. Its aesthetically pleasing design is a smart approach by the developer to keep the user interested in the task at hand.
Trello uses different colored boards, lists, and cards to help you prioritize and organize all your tasks.
- Create, categorize, tag, and customize project boards to keep track of different assignments
- Collaborate with team members and keep them posted on the project’s progress
- Get all the important information at a glance
- A good productivity tool used by top companies like Adobe and PayPal
Evernote is a highly renowned information management software. Businesses can use it for brainstorming ideas with coworkers, taking notes during meetings, collecting client feedback on a certain document, and simply managing other business ideas in one place.
- Must-have digital diary for business owners
- Great note-taking tool for employees
- Share ideas with others
- Archive content that is no longer required
Productivity Tools for Human Resources
Managing payroll, enrolling new employees in benefits and retirement plans, and other necessary documentation required in day-to-day business operations, paperwork can be a real headache for your HR department.
It’s time to go paperless!
GoCo is cloud-based software that not only eases human resource management but also saves you from being tied up in lengthy and complex paperwork. This all-in-one HR platform efficiently deals with the intricacies of business administration so that you can focus more on ways to grow your startup.
- Specially designed for small to medium-sized businesses that have around 20-200 employees
- Works flawlessly with your existing payroll system
- Welcome new members onboard digitally – send offer letter, joining instructions and so on
- Collect custom files and send documents to specific departments within the organization
- Turn documents into templates so that they can be used for different individuals by filling in their details
- Track employees’ used and unused paid leaves
Zenefits is an HR management platform that gives you a robust set of tools to plan, manage, and organize your company’s benefits and payroll all in one place. But that’s not it.
Known as the ‘people’s platform,’ Zenefits improves the overall workplace environment for everyone – be it managers, senior assistants, and CEOs, or even brokers and lenders.
It automates compliance tasks, and simplifies tax filings and similar procedures. Plus, Zenefits has an in-built safeguard check that helps reduce errors, and prevents mistakes that commonly occur when entering data manually.
- Simple and straightforward user interface
- Helps employees browse and select healthcare plans, life insurance, and other benefit programs that work best for them
- Automatically applies each employee’s selected benefits to their payrolls
Grovo is one of the most popular small business productivity tools that can greatly improve employees’ as well as the overall organizational performance in no time.
It is basically a microlearning platform that seeks to boost employee’s productivity. As the name suggests, microlearning is a skill-based learning technique that uses short and easy-to-digest pieces of content. It focuses on developing one skill or educating employees about one thing at a time.
Grovo helps improve team performance which ultimately takes your business to new heights.
- Rich learning platform for small scale enterprises that have limited to no access to useful resources for business management
- Train your team members efficiently in a cost-effective manner
- Comprehensive and actionable lessons to increase engagement at work
To be the best business in town, you need to have the best workers on board.
Betterteam aids your search for talented members by increasing the outreach of your recruitment program. Through this software, you can post job listings on more than a hundred sites – with just one press of a button!
Glassdoor, Indeed, Craigslist, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, or Facebook; you name it, and they’ve got it covered already.
- Get the job openings across a large pool of candidates
- The fastest way to hire an employee best suited for a given post
GoodHire makes the entire recruitment process a piece of cake.
Through this staffing software, you can run background checks on the candidates you wish to hire. It also allows you to go through the candidates’ academic and driving records, past work experiences, and credit checks in addition to performing drugs screening and identity verification.
With GoodHire, rest assured that you will hire a good employee.
- Perform reference checks
- Identify verifications
- Track past employment record
Productivity Tools for Outsourcing Projects
No one can be a jack of all trades. And when it comes to running a business, trying to do all things by yourself is not only hard but also impractical. This is where outsourcing can be of tremendous help.
Upwork is a world-class online platform where you can find someone to complete the extra work on your behalf. For example, if you want to design a logo for your business, create a website, or write a compelling copy for your marketing campaign, Upwork is the best place to consider.
- Find freelancers who can do the required job
- Usually costs lower than consulting professional companies or hiring a full-time employee for the same task
- Hire for short or long term contract, as you prefer
- Pay hourly or a fixed price
- Make the payment only when you are satisfied with the quality of the work
Fiverr is another outsourcing platform that can take the stress off of growing a business with minimal resources.
Hire freelancers for any scope of work ranging from admin support, customer service, copywriting, sales and marketing to more technical stuff such as software development and data analytics.
- Connect with top freelances working locally as well as internationally
- Trusted by leading companies all across the world
- Find specialized agencies and experts for larger projects
- Compare bids and interview candidates before you finalize the deal
Productivity Tools for Project Management
JIRA is an incredible tool for software developers. So, whether you run a software house or are looking for productivity tools for your software development team, look no further than JIRA.
- Organize tasks and distribute them amongst the team members
- Integrate with other developer tools you already use
- Release great software and make sure it is always up to date
Asana is a tool meant for businesses to make more time for the work that really matters. This work management software is designed to help teams effectively juggle their daily tasks without losing sight of their end goals.
- Create lists and structure the work in the way you like
- Drag and drop tasks under different categories that they fit into (new, in-progress, complete, etc)
- Set priorities and deadlines
Many people believe that multitasking is the prerequisite of being more productive. While it may be true, it sure isn’t the only way to go about accomplishing more in any given time.
HelloFocus is based on the scientifically-proven fact that focusing on one thing at a time speeds up the work. It is the ideal tool for all the busy bees out there trying to get more done in the best possible manner.
- Schedule work tasks as well as personal tasks in one single app
- The app automatically creates easy to navigate roadmaps
- See what your teammates are working on and how far along they are on the assigned tasks
Productivity Tools for Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Intercom is a must-have tool for every online business looking for ways to improve their CRM system. It is all-in-one messaging software that makes it easy for web-based businesses to communicate with their customers, and engage with them on a closer, friendlier level.
The software helps you build customized chatbots and create product tours. These are two basic elements that will enable you to generate more leads as well as increased customer engagement and build customer loyalty.
- Fully customizable messaging suite to fulfill the needs of different businesses at different growth stages
- Automate work with chatbots
- Personalize live chats with emoji and GIFs
Salesforce gives you a complete overview of all your customers. You can create new customer profiles and browse through those of your old customers to see when and how they have interacted with your brand.
View the purchase history of all your customers in one place to make the required decisions like choosing the right sales and marketing strategies.
- Track customer information and interactions
- Automate and personalize your email marketing campaign using the appropriate customer details
- Build meaningful customer relationships to improve your brand image
- Fully customizable CRM software that helps you sell faster and smarter
Don’t make the mistake of hiring more full-time employees to manage your growing customer base. It leads to recurring expenditure in the form of salaries, and is a less efficient way of handling customer complaints that might come up from time to time. Let Teamgate deal with it all instead.
Teamgate is a CRM software that will effortlessly do the work of multiple staff members, and that too in a shorter period of time without incurring large costs. It helps you stay connected with your customers during the whole process from securing a lead to closing a deal.
With this software, not only can you make every customer count, but also ensure happy and satisfied customers that are bound to visit your online store again.
- Track ongoing sales
- Build strong customer relationships
- Lower monthly subscription rates as compared to other alternatives
- Get data-driven insights into how you are performing versus your end goals
- Get reports and sales forecasts to keep your business running smoothly
Productivity Tools for Social Media Marketing
Hootsuite is one of the most popular tools for social media management. Since many businesses, both small and large scale, market their goods and services on social media sites these days, this is a great tool to have in your arsenal.
With Hootsuite, you can share any post across multiple social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from a single dashboard. You can also monitor the engagement rates on the content that has already been published. Moreover, Hootsuite lets you save files and schedule to publish them at a later date. It also helps you decide the best time to publish a post. This, in turn, helps you bring in more traffic.
- Stay active on social media 24/7 without actually being tied to a computer or mobile device
- Store files in the cloud and access them from anywhere and at anytime
- Create analytics reports to measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy
- Search and filter content using keywords and hashtags
SocialSprout is a tool that’s specially designed to help businesses understand their audience and use the findings to build better and more long-lasting customer relationships.
The software provides various social media-based CRM features that will help you establish a prominent presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the likes.
- Plan and publish content that aligns with your business’s mission
- Monitor, prioritize, and respond to incoming social media messages
- Get access to valuable facts, figures, and stats related to social media marketing
- Create employee profiles and link them to the business’s social media pages to share authentic company news and improve your brand image
Buffer is a scheduling app that enables marketers to broadcast a message to various social media sites with just one click. You can use Buffer to post updates, share stories, and publish articles on different social media platforms.
- Great user interface
- Create a publishing schedule for different social media accounts
- Custom tailor your posts for each social network
- Create visual reports and analyze your company’s performance on social media platforms
No business can do without marketing its goods and services. And a successful marketing campaign calls for interesting and engaging content that guarantees more sales. But creating such content is no small feat.
Socialbakers is a content creation tool that helps you generate stories that your audience is bound to fall in love with.
- Great tool for social media marketing for small businesses
- Get the best-performing content examples for a given keyword
Productivity Tools for Managing Finances
Managing finances can prove to be a nightmare for most businesses but not if you have the right tools required for the job.
FreshBooks is cloud-based accounting software that automates tasks such as invoicing and tracking and organizing expenses. It significantly cuts down on the time spent on paperwork so that you can focus on other things that need attention.
With this easy-to-use software, you can send out bills and collect credit card payments without any hassle. FreshBooks automatically saves the contact information and payment history of your clients so you can view it later if needed.
- Create professional invoices in just a few seconds
- Keep an eye on your total expenditure
- In-built time tracking feature
- Collaborate with team members to keep them updated on different projects and product deliveries
- Manage finances on the go
Expensify is a finance management software that can be used on a personal as well as organizational level. It allows you to track your expenses in a simple and straightforward manner. You can scan and upload the receipts from offline transactions while the app automatically saves the one received online. This helps you record all your expenses in one place.
- Download detailed reports on your transactions to analyze where and how the money is being spent
- Create receipts from online purchases to submit them for reimbursement if needed
- Syncs with other financial applications to import / export expenses your business has incurred with partner companies
- Ideal for documenting and verifying employee benefits such as travel expenses, mobile phone usage and so on
QuickBooks is perhaps the most tried and tested accounting software in the market. So, when it comes to small business productivity tools, this is definitely a must-have.
QuickBooks comes in four different versions (QuickBooks Online, Desktop, Enterprise and Self-Employed) but at their core, they are all accounting tools that make bookkeeping easier than you might have imagined.
- Enables you to keep a vigilant eye on your business’s income and expenditure
- Manage taxes
- Create and send invoices
- Track your sales and revenue
- Run various financial reports
- Manage inventory and outstanding accounts payable
- Manage business as well as personal finances from the same dashboard
- Offer comprehensive packages to meet the needs of different businesses – so find the one that works best for you
Other Small Business Productivity Tools
27. G Suite
G Suite is a great productivity tool for digital enterprise management. It may not be very easy to use but once you get the hang of it, it is sure to make your business operations a lot more fun and exciting (and successful, of course).
Developed by Google, the G suite includes everything from Gmail and Hangouts to Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and a lot more all in one place. It might be a fair assumption that you must already be using most Google products in your workplace. So, why not sign up for G Suite too, since it is specially designed to streamline workplace activities?
Most Fortune 500 companies use this comprehensive tool on a daily basis. And that is enough proof of the potential that this package holds to take your small-scale business to the next level.
- Comes with the following:
- Business emails (send professional emails from a business web address e.g. [email protected]_name.com)
- Video and voice conferencing feature
- Shared calendars
- Ample amount of cloud storage (minimum 30 GB for every user)
- Security and administration controls
- Track analytics for your website
- Launch ad campaigns
- Become a high priority user with 24/7 live customer support from Google
- Manage all the groups and user accounts from one centralized admin console
- Get mobile device management to locate devices, reset passwords or erase data in case of theft or misplacement
- Benefit from a tool that millions of small and large scale businesses are using all across the world
28. Hemingway Editor
Writing is an essential part of every business. You need to perfect your writing skills in order to get your message across clearly. It doesn’t matter whether you are writing to office employees, customers, or other professionals in the industry; grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and poorly phrased sentences can tarnish your reputation.
This is where an editing tool like the Hemingway Editor comes in handy. This free-to-use software highlights different errors within your content in different colors so you can quickly make the required changes.
- Readability scale helps you adjust the content according to the target audience
- Identifies words/phrases that weaken the purpose of your message
Time is money when it comes to the corporate world. Therefore, it’s necessary to have an app that helps you stay productive round the clock.
Toggl is a time tracking app that every small business can benefit from. It includes features that allow you to set and monitor the time spent on specific tasks, as well as create timesheets for each individual employee.
You can share the timesheets with your team to help them speed up their work. The software also makes it easy to create data-driven reports which will help you analyze what activities take up the most of your time.
With Toggl, you can break down your work hours according to the projects, clients, and tasks that you have to deal with on any given day. As a result, you can easily see which things are helping you make money and which are simply eating up your time without yielding fruitful results.
- Integrates with most of the leading project management tools such as Asana, Gmail, and Trello
- Reminders and idle-detection feature help you stay focused
- Sync time entries between the phone app an desktop version to keep track of time regardless of where you are
The internet is full of deeply enriching content that can prove highly useful in running your business successfully and taking it to new heights. But there’s only so much that you can read on any particular day.
Pocket is a smart app that allows you to save interesting articles to read on a later date. This way you can make sure that you never miss out on important articles, blog posts, videos and other news on the internet.
- Save interesting articles that you come across on the internet
- Find all the saved items in one place
- Browse and prioritize what you want to read
SMS marketing might be on old-school technique for promoting a business, but it’s still effective nonetheless.
TextMagic allows you to run SMS marketing campaigns in addition to offering other services, such as converting emails to text messages, and providing virtual mobile numbers to your employees for work-related tasks.
- Send and receive text messages to 200+ countries using the two-way SMS chat
- Create, organize and manage SMS distribution lists
- Promote your business offline
Hopefully, this list of the best small business productivity tools would have given you sufficient information on how to ease your work-related tasks by using special software packages created for a particular purpose.
However, since many of these require a paid subscription to cash in all the benefits that the software offers, make sure to carry out your research well beforehand. This will help you identify what your business really needs and thus, select the tool that will prove to be of maximum help.