Here's a collection of various tools that are worth considering if you are a small or mid-size business and looking to do much of the work yourself. We've either looked at, or currently use the tools on this list.
Social Media Marketing & Management
Spend less time on your social media management, and automate the process with these tools.
Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts to multiple accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Buffer allows you to quickly and easily schedule posts for all of your social accounts.
Missinglettr creates strategic, automated social media campaigns that drive traffic for an entire year.
Here are some websites where you can find highly skilled freelancers and virtual assistants to get the job done for you.
Fiverr allows you to outsource thousands of different tasks to freelancers from all over the world, starting at just $5 per gig.
Upwork allows you to post a job, and freelancers can view your job and submit proposals.
99 Designs is the place for highly skilled freelance graphic designers. When you submit a design task, dozens of designers compete for your business by submitting their work to you.
Rev is a quick and simple-to-use transcription service that you can use for transcribing audio and video files, video captions and subtitles, and translations.
There's lots of tested and proven landing pages out there that you can access quickly and easily.
If you’re using a WordPress website then using Thrive Themes is a great option. Thrive Themes are conversion focused WordPress themes and plugins.
Unbounce is the gold standard for landing pages.
Instapage another fantastic landing page tool.
Sumo is a suite of free tools that can be used to grow your website’s traffic. They’re easy to install, work on any website, and great for creating popups and opt-in forms to collect email addresses from your website or blog.
The most valuable asset you have in your business is your customer list. Without exception, growing and building a relationship with your email list of potential and existing customers is vital to your success.
MailChimp is a great starting point for building an email marketing program.
Aweber allows you to set up autoresponder emails to automate your email marketing.
The next step up, is something like ActiveCampaign .You can use it for integrated email marketing, marketing automation, and small business CRM.
Project Management & File Sharing
Some great tools for managing projects and workflows.
Trello is a visual tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. Not the most sophisticated, but one of the easiest to use.
Asana is another popular project management software. With tasks, projects, conversations, and dashboards, Asana enables teams to move work from start to finish. Easily create tasks for yourself or assign one to a teammate. Organize your tasks into shared lists or boards for your initiatives, meetings, and programs. Sections and columns let you customize Asana to match your workflows and add structure to any project.
Basecamp is a project management and team communication cloud-based service. Basecamp puts everything you need to get work done in one place.
I've been using Evernote for years. There's other, similar tools out there but it's still my go to to capture, organize and share notes from anywhere.
G Suite (formerly Google Apps)
You can’t go wrong with G Suite. With Gmail, Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, and Google Drive, and a number of other helpful tools, Google pretty much has you covered.
Dropbox allows you to safely and securely store your business files, and share them with others.
Finimpact has 50+ Excel templates for SMBs. If you're like me and spend hours building spreadsheets, do yourself a favor and get some templates as a starting point to save yourself some time.
Market Research & Analytics
Understanding what your audience and customers are doing, and the current trends in your market/industry are very important.
Google Analytics is a free web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic.
BuzzSumo allows you to discover the most shared links and key influencers for any topic.
Google Trends is another great free service provided by Google that displays how often specific keywords, subjects, and phrases have been searched for on Google over a period of time.
Communication & Scheduling
Top tools for scheduling and making calls.
The great thing about Skype is almost everyone has it! Perfect for free long distance Skype to Skype calls, group video calls, instant messaging, call phone numbers, and screen sharing. Works on any device.
Google Hangouts is another great tool for staying in touch with others. Video conferencing, either 1-on-1 or in groups, and with handy features like screen share. Best of all, it's free.
Help Scout is a help desk software company that provides an email-based customer support platform and knowledge base tool. They are very affordable (plans start at $12 per month), making it possible for companies of all sizes to offer excellent customer support.
Calendly is a simple, easy-to-use, yet powerful scheduling software. Create different appointment types and availability on your calendar, then share the link to your calendar with whoever asks to book a call with you.
Whether you host webinars to educate your audience or pitch your product or service, you need a handy webinar platform.
Zoom offers remote conferencing services including video conferencing, web conferencing, webinars, and screen sharing.
GoToWebinar is one of the more expensive webinar platforms out there, but it’s extremely reliable and robust.
Finance & Payment Processing
If you’re building a business online, that means you need to be able to send, receive, and track payments online. Here are some handy tools.
The biggest advantage of Square is how easy it is to setup. Download the app, register, and you can begin accepting payments on your phone (via the magstripe, chip, or touch readers that plug into your phone), on your website, or via invoices that you send out to customers (with payments integrated).
Stripe allows both private individuals and businesses to accept payments over the internet, and is very easy to setup.
QuickBooks is the number one cloud-based software package for small businesses for a reason. Easy to set up and run, it handles everything you need, and scales up as your business does. Taxes, payroll, inventory, anything you need it can do. As the go-to standard for accounting software, QuickBooks is also supported by an army of independent software and accounting professionals, and has integrations pre-built to many external software systems.
Xero is a strong alternative to QuickBooks for small businesses and prides itself on simplicity and ease-of-use.
Freshbooks is another cloud-based accounting software that makes running your small business easy, fast and secure.