Running a small business is difficult, but access to the top tools can be a game changer. The right software can help you and your team make the best use of limited resources, even if you’re on a tight budget. The software outlined here lets you manage company finances, keep in contact with staff, and accept customer payments. If you’re looking to streamline your business processes, here are nine essential tools to help you do just that.
1. Microsoft SharePoint
As a business owner, you need a way to organize and share documents across your organization. Microsoft SharePoint is a document management system for small and midsize businesses. The software allows you to co-author and share files with team members, and you can also share content outside of your organization if necessary. Plus, Microsoft SharePoint has an office sync feature so you can use the software even if you don’t have access to the internet.
SharePoint is a great option for any company using Microsoft products. The software syncs seamlessly with Outlook and OneDrive, and you can integrate it with other third-party apps.
2. Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM is an excellent system for anyone new to using customer relationship management software. The company offers a free plan for up to three users. You can use the package to track leads, log events and calls, and make notes about contacts. If you want more features, there are four paid plans with increasing functionality so the software can scale alongside your business. If you’re looking for more automation and customization tools, invest in one of the top-tier packages.
The Zoho CRM integrates with other Zoho products and multiple third-party apps. We really love that the software is fairly intuitive and easy to use, especially on mobile devices. Learn more in our detailed Zoho CRM review.
Tip: Looking for other CRM vendors? Check out our top CRM software picks for additional options.
The best accounting software is a must for all small businesses and is a great accounting service for small businesses on a budget. The software is free to use and grants you access to invoicing, accounting and banking features. You can use Wave to create customized invoices for clients and schedule automated late-payment reminders. When issuing invoices, clients have the option to pay with a credit card, bank payment or Apple Pay.
The Wave program syncs to your business bank account so you can track and reconcile company expenses. And you can use the mobile app to deposit checks and monitor your account remotely. You can upgrade your account to include payroll and bookkeeping features for a more well-rounded application.
FYI: Wave is ideal for freelancers, contractors and other service-based businesses. But as your company starts to grow, you may find it doesn’t have all the functionality you need. QuickBooks, FreshBooks and Zoho Books are worthy alternatives to consider.
The right point-of-sale (POS) system makes it easy to accept customer payments, manage inventory and track sales data. Clover offers both the hardware and software businesses need to accept customer payments with maximum efficiency. In fact, as our review of Clover notes, it really goes above and beyond being just a POS system – it’s genuinely an all-in-one solution for making sales, processing payments, running loyalty programs and facilitating online ordering.
Clover works especially well for retail stores, restaurants and service-based businesses. To get started, you’ll purchase the necessary hardware through the company’s website or a third-party reseller. As you set the system up, there are more than 300 integrations available, so you can create the customized software suite that best suits your business. Clover offers 24/7 phone support for its customers, so you can contact the company any time if you encounter problems.
5. Constant Contact
As our Constant Contact review explains, this company provides affordably priced email marketing software for small businesses. The system has all the features you need to set up an email marketing campaign, like A/B testing, an autoresponder and a drag-and-drop email editor. When you sign up with Constant Contact, the software automatically scans your website to import your logo and social media profiles. This feature makes it easy to incorporate your company’s branding in emails.
The software integrates with other third-party apps to help you build your email list. We also really appreciate that Constant Contact has comprehensive reporting and analytics tools. You can easily see your email open rates, click-through rates and unsubscribes so you can learn what is and isn’t working as you market your business through email.
If you’re looking for affordable web hosting, Bluehost is a great place to start. The company provides shared hosting, virtual private server (VPS) and dedicated servers. Note that the dedicated servers and VPS are the most expensive features, and are designed for larger companies. Shared hosting is more affordable and a good solution for most small and medium-sized businesses. Bluehost offers four shared hosting plans that range from $2.95 to $13.95 per month.
When you become a Bluehost customer, you’ll receive a free domain name, SSL certificate and 24/7 customer support. If you invest in one of the higher-tiered plans, you’ll also receive free domain privacy and automated backup.
Tip: You need a functional and responsive website when you operate a business. These highly rated website builders are great tools for companies looking for drag-and-drop customization and affordable monthly plans.
Square is a first-rate payment processor for small businesses thanks to its low-commitment pricing model. There are no long-term contracts and no monthly or annual fees. You only pay for what you use, and the equipment is relatively inexpensive. When you sign up with Square, you’ll connect the software to your business bank account. Then when you receive a payment, the vendor will automatically deposit the funds into your account within two business days. If you need the money sooner, you can opt for the instant deposit service for an extra fee.
The software is easy to set up and use – you must download the free Square app and connect it to your credit card reader. Customers only need to swipe, dip or tap their cards, so it’s a convenient payment option for them as well. Learn about additional features in our full Square review.
If you need cloud-based video conferencing software, look no further than Zoom. You can use Zoom to host video and audio meetings on any device. The software has robust security settings, including encryption, role-based security and passcode protection. That should give business owners peace of mind.
You can share screens simultaneously for a more interactive experience if a meeting has multiple participants. And if you’re hosting a webinar, you can enable polls, hand-raising and music to make the experience more engaging. Zoom is available at a variety of price points. With the free plan, you can host up to 100 attendees for a 40-minute meeting. As your business grows, you can upgrade for additional capacity.
RingCentral is one of our top recommendations if you’re looking for one of the best business phone systems. This all-in-one communications service comes with various useful features, including unlimited calls, messaging and video meetings. There’s also a task management tool to keep employees focused, and you can track their progress for added accountability.
RingCentral integrates with hundreds of third-party tools, so you can take calls without ever leaving your favorite apps. The software is available on desktop and mobile devices and is easy to install and use. It’s flexible enough that it works well for businesses of all sizes and is a great resource for collaboration. See our RingCentral review for all the details.