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Whether you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, or content creator, embracing technology will make your life so much easier. There are so many tools now to help you start and run a business more efficiently than ever before. In the past you would have needed to hire multiple people to handle the tasks that these innovative tools now do for you (and you don’t need to be tech-savvy to use them).
These digital tools can help you streamline and automate your processes, create efficient business operations, keep your customers happy, enhance your digital marketing, and more. At the end of the day, these resources will buy you back time so you can continue to grow your business.
Choosing the right tools is one of the most important business decisions you need to make. There are countless options out there, which is why I’m sharing a round up of the best tech tools you can take advantage of, including many that I use in my own business. And they work no matter what stage of business you’re at.
The Best Tech Tools For Businesses: The Essentials You Need to Start, Grow, and Scale
Essential Business & Collaboration Tools
I personally use Google Workspace (formerly Google Suite) for my business. It’s my number one tool and I love it. It includes many tools you need in your business, no matter what you do or how big your business is (from small business owners to large corporations). All Google Workspace plans include custom emails in Gmail, for your business, document creation (word processors, spreadsheets, slides, etc), cloud-based storage, co-working and collaboration capabilities, chat, analytics, and more.
Office 365 is Microsoft’s competitor to Google Workspace and has similar capabilities, including document creation, (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc) team collaboration, cloud-based file storage, custom emails through Outlook, and more.
File Storage & Organization
When it comes to your file storage and organization, cloud-based is the way to go, and there are many great options. Not only does cloud-based give you extra security in case your computer crashes, but also allows your team to work together on projects. Some of the top options are Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, and Dropbox. Each of these has a variety of plans to fit your needs.
Password Management and Security
In today’s world, strong passwords are critical to protecting your business. You should not be using the same ones across different sites and platforms. Password managers let you do this easily so you don’t have to remember lots of different ones. Additionally, when you need multiple people to have access to your accounts, it’s much easier to grant access to them through one of these platforms rather than giving them your passwords directly for each site.
Team & Client Communications
When it comes to effective teamwork, collaboration and communication is everything. Below are great options for chat, video calls, voice messages, and more.
Slack is the number one way I communicate with my team. Millions of people use Slack as a great alternative to email and it works for businesses of any size. You can manage your notifications and set standard away hours. There are also numerous third-party apps you can integrate to increase its capabilities. Outside of Google Workspace, Slack is one of the top tech tools in my business.
Zoom is another critical tool that I use almost daily. It’s great for not only team meetings, but it’s fantastic for coworking sessions, external meetings, screen sharing and recording, in-meeting chat capabilities, and more. It’s also extremely useful if someone can’t attend a meeting because they can watch a recording after the fact.
Voxer is another staple in my business. It’s a voice messaging and push-to-talk walkie-talkie app that you can use to communicate with your team members or clients. Voxer allows for both direct messages and group chats. And those voice memos can be heard in real time or after-the-fact. While there’s a free version, the Pro version has additional features including transcription and message recall.
Screensharing and Screen Recording
Human Resources is an important part of any business, and the ability to record and send videos to your team is great for tasks like training new hires and creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Screensharing and screen recording is also valuable for a number of other business uses, including giving presentations and communicating with your team or clients. Bonus tip: If you’re interested in online course creation, many of these tools can be used to record your teaching as well.
Loom is my favorite, and has some unique features including the ability to leave comments and feedback on specific parts of the video, notifications when someone has watched your video, a Chrome extension, and the ability (and options) to record your screen, your face, or both.
Other great options include:
Project Management Software
Systems are key to scaling your business. Solid project management software is essential to making sure you and your team are organized, on-task, and staying on top of assignment deadlines. No matter what your organization style is, there’s a tool for everyone. Here are some of the most popular apps with a range of capabilities:
My team and I tried several alternatives before settling on ClickUp because of its robust capabilities. From basic task assignments and tracking, to document creation and storage, chat abilities, native time-tracking, multilevel organization hierarchies, and more, ClickUp has it all.
Time management is essential to efficiency and accountability in your business. Whether you need to track your employees and freelancers, or noting where you are spending your time, these time trackers make it easy.
Calendars & Appointment Scheduling
When it comes to setting calls and meetings, an automated scheduling app is a huge time-saver. They allow people to book meetings and appointments without the endless back-and-forth emails. These tools can also take payments ahead of time, require intake forms, and send automated reminders and rescheduling links, and they integrate with most major cloud-based calendars.
All Things Money: Accounting, Invoicing, and Payment Processing
Business is all about money and paying attention to your cash flow is critical to your success. Good accounting software makes this easy. You can track and categorize your expenses, banking and credit accounts, taxes, and make sure you’re budgeting appropriately with these popular and reliable tools:
eCommerce: Payment Processors & Checkout Carts
If you want to get paid, you need to make it easy for your clients and customers to send you money. A safe, secure, and trusted payment processor is necessary to accepting online payments.
Likewise, you also need a checkout platform where people can complete their purchases. Shopify is the eCommerce platform. It can be used for both digital and physical products, and can handle shipping and order fulfillment. If your business focuses on digital products, especially online courses or memberships, Samcart and Thrivecart are both great options as well.
No matter what type of business you have, you need a way to communicate directly with your clients, customers, and audience. Email marketing allows you access to those people without fighting the algorithms of social media, and your email list is yours. There are several excellent CRM (Customer Relationship Management) options, with varying capabilities depending on your needs. I’ve been using Keap Max Classic (formerly Infusionsoft) since I started my business, and it offers extensive capabilities for automated funnels, segmenting your contacts, and all sorts of reports. They also have great customer service. Mailchimp and ConvertKit are also great alternatives worth checking out.
Lead Capture & Market Research
Every small business needs an easy way for people to opt-in to their email lists, which means reliable and easy-to-use lead capture platforms are a must. Leadpages lets you build landing pages, popup forms, and more, while integrating with your CRM.
For something more fun and interactive than a simple form, quizzes are a great way to engage your audience and gain valuable information about them as well. Interact lets you build custom quizzes, and natively integrates with many of the most popular email marketing platforms, course and membership platforms, Google Analytics, and more.
Having a user-friendly website is essential in today’s world. I use WordPress for my website and blog. It’s reliable, completely customizable, has plugins for just about anything you might need, and nearly 40% of all websites are built using WordPress. You can also build your site from scratch if you’re comfortable with some coding, or you can use one of many builders that are available. My favorite is Elementor, which is an easy-to-use and highly customizable drag-and-drop visual builder.
Another option that is easy-to-use and very beginner-friendly is Squarespace (and there’s no coding involved!).
And if you have online courses or a membership, Kajabi is fantastic for that (that’s what I use!), but is also an all-in-one solution that lets you build your website, create landing pages and forms, and includes email marketing. They also have arguably the best customer support I’ve seen from any tech platform.
If you want to save time and increase efficiency in your business, you need a way to automate your processes. Zapier connects your different software services and does the work for you. It allows you to connect all your web-based apps to automate workflows. If there’s an online tool or platform you use, it probably integrates with Zapier (over 3000+ apps and software currently work with Zapier!). It’s also very easy to use and you don’t need a web developer or any coding skills.
Customer Service and Support Platforms
Your number one priority in your business is making your customers happy, which means you need to respond to any customer needs in a timely manner. These customer service solutions make it easy for both you, your team, and your customers.
Social Media Management and Scheduling
No matter who your audience is, I bet they are spending time online, particularly on social media. When it comes to digital marketing, consistent social media is necessary for your growth strategy. These popular platforms allow you to plan and manage your social media accounts and schedule posts ahead of time so you can set it and forget it. Some of these marketing tools are focused on specific social media platforms, so check them out to see which best fits your needs.
Content Creation & Design
You no longer need to be a graphic designer to make content that resonates with your audience. Here are some great tools that make it easy to design graphics, create videos, and more.
And if you do need a designer or any other freelancer, check out Fiver.