Every Tool You Need to Fulfill Your Small Business Software Needs

Get your small business to the next level with these tools.


When you’re a business owner, you have to wear a lot of hats. You’re the human resources director, the controller, the marketing manager, the administrative assistant … it’s a lot to handle. But with the right tools to meet your small business software needs, you can manage each area (and switch from hat to hat) with minimal effort, time or hassle.

Not to mention automate the tedious tasks, processes and to-dos that you don’t have time (or just don’t want!) to do.

So what, exactly, are the must-have tools? Let’s take a look at what your small business needs to help it grow and expand.

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Best Accounting Software Tools

Staying on top of your finances is one of the most important tasks in your business. But if numbers aren’t your thing, no worries. When it comes to managing your books, these accounting software tools have got you covered:

FreshBooks

Our cloud-based accounting software is a comprehensive solution for small business owners. FreshBooks helps streamline a variety of financial tasks, from tracking sales and expenses to invoicing and reporting. (Learn more)

Bench

Are your books more complicated than you can manage on your own? If you need to take your accounting software to the next level, this online bookkeeping service will pair you with a dedicated and experienced team of bookkeepers to manage your finances. (Learn more)

Best Payroll Tools

Many small businesses have employees to pay. But handling payroll on your own can be a huge hassle. This is where payroll software comes in:

Gusto

This popular online tool is a favorite for small businesses—and for good reason! You can use Gusto to streamline tax filings, issue employee pay stubs, store employee information and manage employee benefits. Plans start at just $25 per month. (Learn more)

Wagepoint

Available in the U.S. and Canada, Wagepoint can handle vacation requests, payroll, tax remittance and more. At just $20 per month (plus $2 per employee), it’s one of the most affordable options on the market. (Learn more)

PaymentEvolution

If you live and work in Canada, PaymentEvolution is the largest cloud payroll and payment service. It includes a variety of payroll and HR products and services. These include overseeing payroll, scheduling payments to vendors and managing benefits. It also offers a helpful (and free!) online payroll calculator. (Learn more)

Best Payment Processing Tools

If you run a small business, you need to get paid. And if you need a way to process those payments, you’ll want to check out these tools:

Stripe

No matter what your business model, Stripe has a payment processing solution. With Stripe, you can accept customer payments through your website or in person, bill your customers for recurring subscriptions and process third-party payments. (Learn more)

Square

With a variety of hardware and software solutions, including point of sale hardware and a suite of e-commerce software, Square has everything you need to accept customer payments safely and securely. (Learn more)

Best Tracking Expenses Tools

Tracking your expenses is a must if you want to be prepared when tax time comes around—and trust us, you do. If you want to get on top of your expenses, here are some software options to help you stay organized:

FreshBooks

All you have to do to track your expenses with FreshBooks is connect your bank account or credit card. Once you’re connected, your account will automatically update with new transactions. You can also upload photos of receipts so they’re ready to go for tax season. (Learn more)

Expensify

If you reimburse employees for travel or other expenses, Expensify can help streamline that process. You can also export Expensify data directly into FreshBooks expense reports so all your expenses information is in one place. (Learn more)

Everlance

Everlance has a host of features that simplify the expense tracking process and make it easier to stay organized for tax time. It includes automatic mileage tracking, reporting options and a deduction finder. Everlance also integrates with FreshBooks, making it easy to add your expenses and mileage transactions to your FreshBooks account. (Learn more)

Best File Sharing Tools

You want to be able to collaborate, connect and share key files with your team no matter where you’re working from. And this software can make that happen, wherever your team is working:

G-Suite

If you want to collaborate with your team. G-Suite is a great way to do it. Easily create, edit and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, slides and forms. You’ll then be able to organize, store and share them with your entire team in Google Drive. (Learn more)

Microsoft 365

If you’re more of a Microsoft person, Microsoft 365 offers cloud-based services similar to G-Suite. Most importantly, it includes the Microsoft Office products (like Word and Excel) you already know and love. (Learn more)

Dropbox

One of the original file-sharing powerhouses, with Dropbox, you can easily share documents, videos and audio files on all any device and with the rest of your team. (Learn more)

Best Time Tracking Tools

If you want to make more efficient and productive use of your (and your team’s) time, you need to know where it’s going. Time tracking software will help you get a better handle on your schedule. You’ll see how you’re spending your time and where there might be opportunities in your day to take that time back:

FreshBooks

With FreshBooks’ time tracking tool you can set a timer and automatically track your hours in real-time, or go back and log your hours later. FreshBooks also allows you to track time for the rest of your team. As a result, you can easily see how they’re spending their work hours. Not to mention where you may be able to increase productivity and better manage your team’s time. (Learn more)

Time Doctor

Time Doctor not only tracks your team’s time, but it also gives you deep insights into how that time is being spent through a host of features, including screenshots, chat monitoring, and reporting on web and app usage. (Learn more)

Toggl

If you’re looking for simplicity, try Toggl. The one-click timer makes it easy for you and your team to track hours in real-time. Even more, the tool’s robust reporting feature delivers key insights into team productivity. (Learn more)

Best Project Management Tools

Project management has a lot of moving pieces. Project management software will help you manage each of those pieces—and make sure that your projects stay organized and on-track:

Basecamp

A favorite for agencies and other small businesses juggling multiple clients, this software platform organizes client work, projects, notes and internal communications within one cloud-based interface. (Bonus: Basecamp also integrates with your FreshBooks account.) (Learn more)

Trello

If you’re a visual learner, you’ll want to give Trello a try. Its highly visual interface uses boards, lists and cards to help you organize and prioritize projects. It also makes collaboration simple, allowing you to add others to add to your boards, make notes and assign tasks and deadlines. (Learn more)

Monday.com

Developed with remote teams in mind, Monday.com makes it easy to manage projects and collaborate with your team—no matter where you are. For added convenience, Monday.com also integrates with a host of other popular software tools, including G-Suite, Slack and Zoom. (Learn more)



Best Appointment Scheduling Tools

Keep double-booking yourself in meetings? Get on top of your calendar with appointment scheduling software, like:

Calendly

Calendly makes it easy to customize your schedule. You can add meetings and send others a Calendly link that allows them to book meetings based on your availability. Moreover, you can also cap the number of meetings per day, or allow for padding before or after meetings to help avoid meeting burnout. (Learn more)

Youcanbook.me

Have you ever booked a meeting at a certain time—only to realize later that the person you’re meeting with is actually in a time zone three hours ahead of you? With Youcanbook.me, customers, clients and colleagues can go straight to your calendar to book an appointment. In addition, the tool will automatically adjust the meeting time for their local time zone. (Learn more)

ScheduleOnce

If you book most of your meetings through your website, ScheduleOnce is a great option to manage your calendar. This tool integrates with your website and allows customers to book on your page using any device. Then, once the meeting is booked, it automatically gets added to each attendee’s calendar. (Learn more)

Best Communication Tools

Communication is a key element of any successful small business. And while things like email will always play a part in communication, these tools will help you better streamline your communications process, whether you’re chatting, video conferencing or collaborating with your team:

Slack

Slack is a collaboration hub that allows you to chat with your team and share files in real-time. The platform has a few different ways to communicate. You can either send team members direct messages or create Slack channels to organize your communication by team, project or subject. (Learn more)

Zoom

When you can’t work together in person, video is the next best thing—and if you’re looking for video options, you’ll want to check out Zoom. The software offers a host of video-based tools—including video conferencing, webinars and conference rooms. It makes communicating with your team easier and more efficient, no matter where they are. (Learn more)

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams combines a host of features that allow you to chat, call, video conference and collaborate with your team. Teams is an all-in-one work hub that’s especially useful if you and your team work remotely, and already use Microsoft Office business software. (Learn more)

Best Email Marketing Tools

Email marketing is an effective way to connect with your audience, build a relationship with your customers and drive sales and conversions. But you’ll need the right software to get started. Try these options:

Mailchimp

Offering a variety of features to elevate your email campaigns, Mailchimp includes email templates, integration with your online store and Facebook advertising and automation options. Mailchimp also has one of the industry’s better free email marketing plans. You can send up to 12,000 emails to as many as 2,000 subscribers per month before having to pay a subscription fee. (Learn more)

Aweber

If you have different audiences within your target demographic, you’ll want to give Aweber a try. In addition to the typical email marketing features, Aweber allows you to personalize your email communications to deliver more targeted marketing campaigns, which can help increase conversions. (Learn more)

Constant Contact

Constant Contact’s drag-and-drop email editor makes it easy to create professional, well-designed emails. Because all their templates are mobile responsive, your emails will look great no matter what device your customers are using. (Learn more)

Best CRM Tools

Building a successful business is all about managing customer relationships. But the more customers you have, the harder it can be to keep track of those relationships—unless you have the right tools. Check out these customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, all of which integrate with FreshBooks:

HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM has all the tools you need to better manage your pipeline, speed up your sales process and improve your communications and relationship with your customers—all through a simple, customized dashboard. While the free plan offers unlimited contacts and allows you to keep track of all your customer interactions, you also have the option to upgrade to a paid plan that offers a host of additional marketing, sales and service tools to help you grow. (Learn more)

Revamp

Designed to empower e-commerce small businesses, Revamp allows you to import customers from over 80 apps and offers real-time syncing with a variety of shopping platforms (including Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce) that enables you to track orders and manage customer communications. The platform also allows you to segment your customers and send personalized email campaigns to optimize your sales cycle. (Learn more)

CapsuleCRM

If you’re new to the CRM world, CapsuleCRM is a good introduction. With their free plan, you can track up to 250 contacts and attach any relevant information (including emails, call notes and files) into each lead’s history. If you want to manage more customers, you also have the option to upgrade your membership. (Learn more)

Best Password Management Tools

Are you constantly losing your passwords? Keep your passwords organized and secure with one of these password management software options:

1password

With 1password, you can easily store all your passwords on the platform. Keep these passwords safe by creating a master password that gives you (and only you!) access to the database. (Learn more)

Dashlane

If you’re the kind of person who switches passwords often, Dashlane could be the most convenient option. This password manager allows you to change one or several passwords in a single click and save it to your account. It will also generate strong passwords for you if you’re out of ideas! (Learn more)

LastPass

LastPass is a browser extension that stores all your passwords in a vault, then auto-populates the correct log-in information anytime you visit a website. While LastPass has had some security breaches in the past, it’s still a popular and often recommended tool. (Learn more)

Best Proposal Tools

If you’re trying to land a new client, you’re going to need to send them a proposal. And if you’re trying to design the kind of professional, polished proposal that will get you hired, you’re going to want to check out these tools:

FreshBooks

With FreshBooks’ proposal feature, you can easily create customized, professional proposals and send them directly from your FreshBooks account. And thanks to the e-signature feature, it’s easy for your clients to accept the proposal and get the ball rolling on the project—no additional emails or documents required. (Learn more)

Bidsketch

Bidsketch helps you create professional-looking client proposals thanks to their selection of proposal templates, which you can easily customize for different industries, including software development, marketing and sales. (Learn more)

Proposify

Proposify has dozens of professionally designed, fully customizable templates to choose from. And thanks to their digital signing capabilities, getting your client to sign and move forward with your proposal is simple. (Learn more)

Best Social Media Automation Tools

In today’s digital age, social media is a must. But manually posting across multiple platforms each day is tedious and time-consuming. With automation software, you can schedule your social posts, making the process much easier and faster:

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is an all-in-one social media management platform that allows you to manage all your social accounts (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) from a single dashboard. You can also streamline your daily social management through features like advanced post scheduling. (Learn more)

Zapier

Going a step beyond automation, Zapier allows users to create workflows for a variety of tasks. These include downloading attachments, creating Slack notifications and cross-posting on social networks. Zapier integrates with more than 2,000 apps—including FreshBooks—making it easy to implement all types of automation across your company. (Learn more)

Buffer

In addition to a wide variety of social media automation tools, Buffer also offers a robust analytics platform that allows you to analyze and optimize your campaigns. (Learn more)

Best Design Tools

Visual assets play a big part in many small businesses. But if you don’t have a designer on your team, how do you create those images? Get started creating professional, well-designed images with one of these easy-to-use design software options:

Canva

If you want to create a wide variety of stunning graphics for your business, you need to try Canva. With thousands of templates for everything from logos and social graphics to presentations, Canva’s simple drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to create professional, eye-catching graphics—even if design isn’t your thing. (Learn more)

Pixlr

If you want the functionality of Photoshop without the high price tag, try Pixlr. Pixlr conveniently delivers the basic functionality of Photoshop—including image resizing, overlays and effects—in your web browser. (Learn more)

PicMonkey

If you’re looking to jazz up your photos, you may want to check out PicMonkey. This free online photo editing tool lets you crop or touch up photos, remove red-eye or blemishes, and add text, shapes and other effects. You can also transform your photos into Insta-worthy images with PicMonkey’s thousands of social media graphic templates. (Learn more)

Best Website Building Tools

All small businesses need a website. Create a professional-looking website quickly and easily with one of these website builders:

SquareSpace

SquareSpace is a drag-and-drop website builder that allows you to design sleek, sophisticated and professional-looking websites in minutes. The platform also offers a host of marketing and e-commerce tools to help you monetize your online presence. (Learn more)

WordPress

WordPress doesn’t offer the same drag-and-drop functionality as some other website builders, but it’s still highly customizable thanks to its huge library templates, widgets and add-ons. It also includes a host of SEO tools that make it a favorite for small businesses focused on content. (Learn more)

Shopify

Shopify has quickly become the go-to for small businesses in the e-commerce space. And for good reason! With its huge suite of marketing and sales tools, Shopify helps you build more than just a website. It helps you build an online business. (Learn more)

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Best Customer Support Tools

Your customers are the most important part of your business. And if you want those customers to continue doing business with you, you need to offer them the right support. Streamline your customer service operations with customer support software, like:

ZenDesk

One of the more popular customer support tools on the market, ZenDesk offers a variety of products to support your customers, including live chat and messaging for your website, integrated support and self-service options. (Learn more)

Freshdesk

Freshdesk prides itself on providing businesses with omnichannel customer support, integrating with a variety of channels, both traditional (like email and phone) and contemporary (like WhatsApp). (Learn more)

HappyFox

Voted PCMag’s best help desk software for businesses four years in a row, HappyFox is an all-in-one ticketing system that allows you to provide a higher level of service. Rather than fielding customer service requests from multiple sources, HappyFox converts requests from email, phone, chat, social media and the web into a single, easy-to-manage ticketing system. (Learn more)

Best Royalty-Free Images Tools

You don’t have to design every image for your business—and you don’t have to pay for every image, either. Find the best royalty-free images for your business with these tools:

Unsplash

No matter what type of image you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it in Unsplash’s curated selection of high-resolution photos. In addition, Unsplash offers the ability to search images by keywords or to browse their 100-plus image collections. Even more, all of their images have a high-quality, distinctly modern look and feel. (Learn more)

Pixabay

With over 1.7 million images, Pixabay has one of the largest collections of royalty-free stock images on the internet. From photos to illustrations and vector images to videos, Pixabay has a huge variety of offerings to suit the visual needs of many small businesses. (Learn more)

Gratisography

A lot of royalty-free images have a similar look and feel—but if you’re looking for something quirkier and more unique, try Gratisography. They have a wide selection of royalty-free images that fall outside of your standard photo categories. (Learn more)

Get the Small Business Software Tools You Need to Level-Up

If you want to grow, expand and scale, your business needs the right tools. And now that you know about many different tools available to small businesses, all that’s left to do? Get out there and start using those tools to take your business to the next level.

This post was updated in June, 2020.



about the author

Freelance Contributor Deanna deBara is an entrepreneur, speaker, and freelance writer who specializes in business and productivity topics. When she's not busy writing, she enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and dog. See more of her work and learn more about her services at deannadebara.com.