Best Tools and Software for Small Businesses

Reading Time: 5 minutes Building and running a successful small business is a challenge. Finance, marketing, and project and employee management make demands on both your time and your wallet. And that's time and money that could be better spent on growing your business. Fortunately, specialist tools and small business software are available to help you work smarter. What’s more, many of them are free! In this guide, we take a closer look at some of the market’s best tools and software for small businesses. And, full disclosure, we use - or have used - each of these applications ourselves, so we can vouch for their value…

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Best Tools and Software for Small Businesses

Reading Time: 5 minutes

What are the best project management tools and software for small businesses?

• Trello
• Smartsheet
• Toggl

Smartsheet is a popular, straightforward project management platform. With Smartsheet, you can organise your team/s and the projects they’re working on. There are a host of useful features and templates, such as ‘SmartCards’ for tracking individual tasks, and ‘SmartProjects’ for making sure bigger assignments run smoothly. You can even share sheets with your clients, so they can monitor progress.

Trello, meanwhile, is a collaboration tool. Accessible via your smartphone, Trello is a great way for you – and your employees – to:

• Interact and manage projects
• Create and maintain lists
• Assign and organise personal tasks

Toggl also lets you track and assign projects and individual tasks. You can even attribute a cost to your time. Toggl allows you to break down the hours by clients or projects to see where you’re making (or losing) money.

While a paid licence is required to create new items in Smartsheet (free users can view and edit existing items), ‘most of what makes Trello great is available for free’, and Toggl is free for up to five team members.

What are the best marketing tools and software for small businesses?

• Hootsuite
• MailChimp
• Google Analytics

With email marketing tools like MailChimp, you can keep your small business clients, customers and connections informed and updated with personalised, well-presented emails. The software is easy to use, with a choice of personalised or ready-made templates that allow you to:

• Make announcements
• Update clients
• Market to prospective customers
• Share news & useful info
• Promote special offers

Nowadays, consumers also expect to be able to interact with companies – from small businesses to multinational corporations – via social media. So, from a customer service point of view, it’s crucial that you create and update your social media channels. Whether that’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; whatever. There are gains to make from using social media as a small business too. Used effectively, it can:

• Boost web traffic
• Increase awareness
• Develop B2C trust
• Improve your SEO
• Add an extra dimension and recognisable tone of voice to your brand

Keeping your social channels updated all the time can be a challenge though. Fortunately, Hootsuite – a social media management platform – makes that much more achievable. From a single dashboard you can:

• Manage all your accounts – cross platform
• Connect with clients and customers
• Schedule, post and report on your content to see what’s working and change what’s not

Google Analytics, meanwhile, is a comprehensive web analytics service that helps analyse your small business’s digital data. Google Analytics allows you to oversee your website traffic and measure your advertising ROI. With Google Analytics, you’ll be able to monitor which pages your visitors are clicking on, how long they stay on your website, and what actions they complete while they’re on there.

What are the best communication tools and software for small businesses?

• Zoom
• Microsoft Teams
• Slack

Forget your small business for a moment. Before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, video telephony applications like Skype and FaceTime were pretty popular. But ever since isolation and COVID restrictions became part of our daily – and working – lives, video calling has become ever more essential. And, with more and more people and businesses adopting a hybrid or remote approach to working, these tools are now paramount to keeping communication lines open, maintaining focus, and improving morale. So much so that post-COVID, ‘Zoom’ has become less a brand name, and more a verb. Features include:

• Scheduling virtual meetings
• Direct messaging
• Video conferencing
• Screen sharing
• Reporting & statistics
• Call recording

Like Zoom, for a lot of businesses, Slack has become an intrinsic part of daily life. Slack is an instant messaging programme for businesses of all types and sizes. It helps colleagues stay connected, plan meetings, and share important files and documents. Slack is available on desktop, mobile, and via the web, with ease of use being a particular highlight.

Microsoft Teams sits somewhere in-between Slack and Zoom, with features such as:

• Video conferencing
• Screen sharing
• Live chat
• File sharing
• Full integration with Office 365

While advanced and paid-for licenses are available for Slack and Zoom, you can use both apps pretty effectively on the free subscriptions, and there is no charge for the standard Microsoft Teams package. So, make the most of this free software for your small business.

What’s the best small business accounting software?

• FreeAgent
• Quickbooks
• Xero
• Fathom

As a small business owner, staying on top of your finances can be tricky, not to mention time consuming. By harnessing online cloud accounting software, you’ll have instant real-time access to your small business’s finances. So, you can make key business and cash flow decisions on the move. For the best results though – and to make sure the technology is being utilised to its full extent – seek the help of a specialist business accountant.

At Danbro Business, we include exclusive small business accounting software as part of our comprehensive support packages. From Quickbooks and Xero, to FreeAgent and Fathom, our sophisticated tech stack comprises a host of market-leading platforms, so we can recommend the ones that best suit your needs.

What’s more, this advanced technology includes an easy-to-use app. So, you can track income and expenses straight from your smartphone. All your finances will be in one place. And, you can even link your business bank account. So, you can check transactions and profits whenever you like. And, in the interest of security, everything you input gets stored safely in the cloud – available to you and your accountant. Get in touch today to find out more.

Blog written by
Sam Wright
Marketing Manager at The Danbro Group

Sam Wright is Danbro’s Marketing Manager. He produces regular content and feature articles on our digital and non-digital channels – and social platforms – for the Danbro Group and its subsidiaries, as well as having responsibility for the Company’s internal and external communications.

His background is in Journalism and Creative Writing, having previously contributed to publications such as The Daily Post, The Lancashire Evening Post, and The Blackpool Gazette.

He is a keen swimmer and avid Manchester United fan (but don’t hold that against him), and he lives in Lancashire with his wife, Sarah.


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