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Editorial Process

Last Updated: March 05, 2024

At, it’s our goal to help small business owners and decision-makers like you find the right products and services without hours of painstaking research. For more than a decade, we’ve done the research for you by tracking the evolution of the best products and services for small businesses. We’ve used that expertise to develop buyers guides and in-depth reviews that you can trust to help you make the right buying decisions.

So, how do we determine which products and services to recommend and ensure our reviews are thorough, accurate, fair and unbiased? Our team of expert analysts examines each product and service closely to determine which are the best and identify their most effective features. Here’s a close look at the methodology our analysts employ when reviewing the products and services small businesses need to grow and succeed.

How we evaluate and choose our top recommendations

1. Research the market and identify candidates.

Before reviewing any product or service, we familiarize ourselves with the space, including the different types of small businesses that need these solutions, the trends shaping the space, and how these solutions have evolved in recent history. We consider how different small businesses use these products and services, and how the experience of entrepreneurs from various industries may vary. We then examine vendors in the space that may suit these wide-ranging needs, from the market leaders to lesser-known vendors who offer exceptional products you might not otherwise find.

2. Conduct live demonstrations with vendors.

Once we’ve identified the most promising candidates in the space, we set up demonstrations with the vendors so we can get a firsthand look at their solutions. During these demos, we take a critical look at their offerings and ask pointed questions that go beyond the sales pitch. We focus on how the product works, the features it offers, and the overall user experience it provides. These demos also give us insight into the support each vendor offers and what we can expect from their team during the onboarding and implementation processes.

3. Conduct independent research and testing.

Next, our expert reviewers conduct dozens of hours of meticulous research to dive deeper into each product and service. We take free trials for a spin so we can get the full picture of all the features a product or service offers, what it’s like to set it up, and the type of customer service you can expect from the company. We work to verify the claims made by company representatives during live demonstrations, putting ourselves in a small business owner’s shoes as we do so. We examine the pricing structure and investigate whether there are any additional costs small businesses may incur to get the most value. We also gather feedback from other customers who have used these products and services to find out more about how their experience stacks up against our expectations.

4. Select top recommendations and develop detailed reviews.

Once we’re satisfied that we know each product and service inside and out, our experts create in-depth reviews and buyers guides to make it easy to compare the leading brands so you can choose the right one for your business. Dozens of hours of research and testing go into every category, so no matter what solution you’re looking for, you can rest assured we’ve done our due diligence to provide you with everything you need to know. Check out our recommendations for the best business phone systems as an example of the level of quality and detail you can expect, including this review of Nextiva.

What you can expect from our reviews

Expert guidance

When you read a review, you can expect detailed, accurate and up-to-date information. You can trust that our expert reviewers, who have extensive experience in providing guidance to entrepreneurs, have conducted firsthand research and tested the product or service to the greatest extent possible. Finally, our advice is always provided with small businesses in mind specifically, so it will be relevant to your needs.

Easy comparisons

You can also expect it to be easy to compare our reviews to one another, with images and videos that provide a behind-the-scenes look at what these products and services can do. Our handy comparison charts allow you to examine the most important aspects of a product side by side, such as pricing, features, and customer service. When reviewing products and services, we assign editor’s ratings on a scale of 1 to 10, so you can see at a glance which vendors stand out from the crowd.

Editor’s Ratings

Every one of our top recommendations receives an overall score based on five individual criteria. You can take a look at this overall rating to quickly understand how confident we are in the solution’s ability to support small businesses. Here’s what each overall editor’s rating means:

  • 1-3: This product or service needs extensive improvements before we would recommend it to our readers.
  • 4-6: This product or service has some attractive elements, but needs improvements for it to be considered one of the best in its class.
  • 7-10: This product or service shines in most or all areas, and we are confident recommending it as one of the best on the market.

Each overall editor’s rating is the result of individual criteria that drill down deeper into specific aspects of the products and services we review. Here’s what the scores mean for each of the individual criteria we select:

  • 1-3: This product or service needs extensive improvements in this area.
  • 4-6: This product or service provides mid-level support in this area.
  • 7-10: This product or service competes well against rivals in this area.

Informative use cases

We also know that every small business is different and has its own unique set of needs, so we assign use cases that make it clear whether a particular solution could be right for your circumstances (and your expected growth trajectory). Whatever your priorities, we identify which solution does best and make it clear what types of businesses can benefit from them most.

For example, if your top priority is an accounting software solution that can seamlessly connect with the rest of your business software, our best pick for integrations will be a top choice for you. Or, if you’re looking for something more specific to your business, look for our industry-specific best picks, such as the top solutions for retailers or restaurateurs.

High-quality analysis

Finally, you can expect our best picks pages and reviews to be of the highest quality. Every draft passes through multiple rounds of edits, providing layers of quality assurance to guarantee precision and efficacy. Our team of small business experts work together to deliver reliable information you can rely on to not only make the right choice but grow your business with confidence.