10 Must-Have Tools for Small Businesses

In order to keep your efficiency up and allow yourself to focus on the tasks most important to your business, you need to know what are the best tools available.

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By Andrew Medal • Feb 2, 2017 Originally published Feb 2, 2017

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In a world where entrepreneurship is so large and only getting larger, you need to stay on top of all the latest tools available for your small business's success. Ever since the first Internet boom back in the 90's companies such as Salesforce have made billions tailoring business solutions to increase productivity.

As your competitors implement these tools, you suffer in comparison. After all, the goal is to work smarter not harder. In order to keep your efficiency up and allow yourself to focus on the tasks most important to your business, you need to know what are the best tools available.

There are lots of business-oriented platforms, services and technologies on the market, which makes it hard to tell which are the best. Business needs to be done quickly and so adopting something new can have high costs. Saving you the hassle of a useless adoption or tedious searching for the best services, these are the 10 tools your business will suffer without.

1. Slack

Slack offers team communication for the 21st century. This means gone are the days of group messages blowing up and getting 200 notifications at once, missing messages directed at you, and various groups all intermingled on the same set-up. The communication offers much more than just this core-functionality though.

Additionally, Slack channels can do file-sharing, phone calls, message search and fun features such as giving employees a "taco" for a job well done.

Related: 10 Online Invoicing Services for Small-Business Owners

2. GSuite

Google built the GSuite to serve as a total range of functionality for businesses. You can purchase your domain, set-up an email client, track analytics for your website, launch and manage ad campaigns, and much more with the apps in the GSuite and all for a low cost. Keeping all of your business needs centered around your branded domain and within the Google platform will give you the ease of mind to know everything is in one spot and taken care.

3. GoCo

HR is messy, complex and often paper heavy. Many business owners these days are transitioning their HR workflows to modern all-in-one platforms like GoCo.io The internet-based human resources and benefits platform streamlines employee onboarding and off-boarding, document management, time-off tracking, performance management, compliance and benefits administration. Integration with currency payroll and management software gives you the functionality you need without having to think about it and deal with paperwork.

4. Goodhire

Hiring staff can be complicated, especially for small businesses, since conducting background checks, identify verifications, reference checks, employment verifications, pre-hire skills tests, credit checks, drug screenings, driving record checks and education/degree verifications are all necessary. GoodHire does all of these things with no paperwork and just a few clicks on your smartphone. Plus, they deliver results in less than 24 hours. Expanding your team can be simple and in turn will allow your operation to run better than ever.

5. Upwork

Some teams prefer to keep works as independent contractors rather than employees and for those business owners there is Upwork. It allows business owners to hire freelancers for anything and everything. Whether you need web development, graphics designers, social media managers, etc. there is probably someone on Upwork who can help growth hack your company. Their review, bidding and reference system allows you to have the ease of mind in vetting anyone you choose to work with.

Related: 8 Great Time-Tracking Apps for Freelancers

6. Quora

Quora is a crowdsourced Q&A forum. While this may sound eerily similar to Yahoo Answers, Quora requires all users to have verified identities and encourages respondents to include as much information about their background on their profiles. This means whenever you or your business has questions about anything out of your area of expertise, you can likely find an expert on Quora to answer your question for you.

7. Telzio

Telzio allows businesses to set-up an office phone system all via the internet. With Telzio, teams can manage calls and messages across their devices from any location. Combined with a web interface that is visual and intuitive, simple pricing with no lock-in or termination fees, Telzio offers a simpler way for businesses to establish, run and maintain a phone system for their employees.

8. Intercom

One of the most frustrating aspects of running a business, especially a website-based company, is the lack of communication with customers. Struggling to educate and understand consumers leads to problematic user interface decisions, lack of awareness of problems and desires and poor user experience. Intercom offers a suite of functionality to give live chat, education and more for your web customers, making it easier to interact, engage and communicate with your customers.

9. SalesLoft

SalesLoft helps you find and win more customers, especially if those customers are other businesses. Their software increases the efficiency and effectiveness of sales reps with a built in sales dialer, email that is built for sales from the ground up, and deep integrations with the tools you're already using like Salesforce. Overall SalesLoft helps build customer conversion and retention.

Related: 25 Payment Tools for Small Businesses, Freelancers and Startups

10. Trello

Trello, recently purchased by Atlassian, the makers of HipChat, for $425 million, is proving to be one of the top team and task management platforms around. With the ability to create various boards and cards, set due dates, add notes, etc. Trello allows structuring and keeping track of tasks to be as simple as possible. Offering a variety of plans, getting set up on Trello can be free for individuals and small teams and payment grows slowly depending on how fast you scale up the team size.

Andrew Medal

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Entrepreneur & Angel Investor

Andrew Medal is the founder of The Paper Chase, which is a bi-weekly newsletter. He is an entrepreneur and angel investor.

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