5 Tools Small Businesses Love : Under30CEO 5 Tools Small Businesses Love : Under30CEO
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5 Tools Small Businesses Love

| May 17, 2012 | 17 Comments

As any owner of a growing startup, your job title may be CEO, but sometimes you may have to play other roles to get things done (such as accounting, sales, marketing, and, sometimes in our case, fish tank cleaner). Large corporations often have the “luxury” of having large departments handle their day-to-day operations while small business owners, like myself, are left multi-tasking quite frequently.

Luckily, there are some online tools out there that make life a LOT easier when it comes to handling finances, managing projects, tracking employee hours, and communicating with your customers.

While we’re sure that there are other great tools out there, below are 5 awesome online tools we use daily that we can vouch for:

1) Wave Accounting:

Category:

Finance

What is it:

Wave accounting is a free easy-to-use online application that helps small businesses manage their accounting.

Why’s it awesome:

  • It pretty much can run as your small accounting department.
  • Generates organized and easy-to-read journal entries, balance sheets, expense reports, etc.
  • Very easy to use, even for accounting amateurs.
  • Syncs with most banks and updates automatically with your banking transactions.
  • Gives you an option to insight into your own personal finances.
  • It’s free. Period.
  • Offers great deals from various advertisers.

Bottom line:

Awesome tool for small business owners wanting to keep track of their finances.

2) Clockspot:

Category:

Payroll

What is it:

Online application that lets employees clock in or clock out from any computer or phone.

Why’s it awesome:

  • Easily track employee hours.
  • Employees can post progress reports to show what was done for each clock-in session.
  • Generates payroll data to excel with online employee time sheets.
  • Free 30 Day trial with different pricing options for size of team.

Bottom Line:

Awesome web application that provides a very convenient way to track employees time records from multiple locations. Even more awesome this platform generates payroll reports.

3) Asana:

Category:

Project Management

What is it:

An easy-to-use customizable project management tool that tracks projects while keeping your whole team in the loop.

Why’s it awesome:

  • Great way to keep track of projects and prioritize tasks.
  • You can update tasks through email.
  • Receive email updates when projects are updated
  • Shortkeys make it very intuitive to use.
  • Can assign tasks to certain individuals
  • Other individuals can follow tasks to receive updates on progress
  • Activity feed provides chat-room like updates on projects or tasks
  • The attach file feature is pretty handy.
  • It’s free for up to 30 users

Bottom line:

Founded by a former co-founder of Facebook, this web app provides a great way to track projects, reduce email clutter, and manage tasks with teams. We also love the clean interface.

4) Dropbox:

Category:

Cloud Storage

What is it:

Cloud storage for files that can be accessed through almost any computer and mobile device.

Why’s it awesome:

  • Great tool to access files anywhere on the go.
  • Syncs great to your desktop computer or mobile phone.
  • I can’t honestly ever remember a time when the servers were down.
  • Shows a track record of actions done on folders.
  • Can share dropbox to collaborate on projects with friends, family, team members, clients, etc.
  • Syncs with other apps like dropitto.me Asana (see above) to provide better project management.
  • Starts off free with 2GB, but also gives option of various payment plans for more GB storage.

Bottom Line:

Literally one of the handiest tools we have ever used at Big Fish Presentations. Keeps all our files accessible for all of our team members to access anywhere. Very handy also when wanting to send large files to clients.

5) Google Voice:

Category:

Communication

What is it:

One of the Google App features that allows users to register a free number that can be used to reach you no matter where you are. It also keeps track of your voicemail through an online portal.

Why’s it awesome:

  • Provides one number that can reach all your phones (i.e. cell,home, office) at the same time.
  • Can make calls with number through phone app or online portal.
  • Customizable voicemail greetings for different groups.
  • Can send free text messages with the google voice number.
  • Voicemails are transcribed and can be sent to your email.
  • Syncs with your google contacts.
  • Low rates for international calls.

Bottom Line:

Very handy for small businesses when phone landline cost are deemed unnecessary and you would rather just designate a mobile phone as your office phone.

______________________________________________________

While I’m sure there are tons of other great small business online tools out there, the tools featured above have proven to be very useful in our business.

We would love to hear about any useful tools that have helped changed your business below in the comments section. If you personally use any of the tools we mentioned above, please mention any creative ways you use them to get the most out of it.

My Bio: Kenny Nguyen is the CEO/Founder of Big Fish Presentations, a company that is famous for designing rockstar slideshows, hosting presentation workshops, and producing commercial video.  He frequently speaks nationwide about strategies that can turn a presenter’s normal presentation into an experience for audiences. Most recently his company was selected as one of Inc.com’s Coolest College Startups of 2012.

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Category: Startup Advice

  • http://www.lifefacilitator.blogspot.in/ Teresa Green, L. Ac.

    I tried Asana, but I much prefer Toodledo. The mix of  context, tasks, folders, and tags seems more intuitive to me, and matches the GTD system better. I love Dropbox and have used it for years. Since I always have little sparks of creative thought when I’m travelling and have only my smartphone handy to grab the idea, I also love Evernote. It’s tag system means you can make any tidbit of information retrievable by limitless criteria. Finally, I use Square credit card processing. I gave up traditional CC processors since I had multiple  locations to work from, and when I found I saved money of fees it was a big bonus. Thank you for the article–I’m looking up Wave and Google Voice now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001464519379 Kenny Nguyen

    Thanks for that comment Teresa…will check out Toodledo as well. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001464519379 Kenny Nguyen

    Thanks for that comment Teresa…will check out Toodledo as well. 

  • http://getbrode.com/ Marc Brodeur

    Producteev is a fantastic task manager. Most PM software is for large teams, so for small teams, I like task managers, and Producteev is a favorite.

    And Yammer. I’m a huge supporter of the power of moving internal emails into the open, and Yammer is like Facebook for your company (In a good way).

  • http://twitter.com/_MichaelAllen Michael Allen

    Another tool worth checking out: WORKetc. It combines CRM, project management, time tracking, billing, support, and other tools into one Google Apps integrated web app.

    Businesses can manage the entire lifecycle of their clients in one place. From picking up leads and managing a sales pipeline, to collaborating on projects, tracking expenses, and using project data such as timesheet info and milestones to create an invoice. You can bill your client directly from WORKetc and use detailed client histories (that list literally everything you’ve done with your contact, including all email correspondence) to be immediately informed on a relationship – which helps drastically when it comes to support.

    There’s a load of other features included in WORKetc: http://www.worketc.com/features

    It’s important to note that many SMBs will use multiple systems to manage basic business functions, such as project management and CRM. When managing all of these needs separately with apps that don’t integrate, communication is immediately hindered, efficiency is lost, users are discouraged, and data is spread throughout multiple systems. Take into consideration everything that your business needs before migrating to new systems!

  • http://riwebgurus.com/ Mark

    Excellent playing with Asana now thanks to this post. I have been using Mavenlink which is pretty cool but I have grown tired of it to busy. The Asana set up is clean and fast so I will work with this for now. 

  • BAEZVAM

    Wave accounting Great tool!!!!!… also it’s free. Period.

  • BAEZVAM

    Wave accounting Great tool!!!!!… also it’s free. Period.

  • http://faxauthority.com/ Fax Authority

    Good list – dropbox has been essential for us, and with the news about it’s privacy policies vs. that other other comparable products, one we’re happy to stay with…

  • WattsResume

    I love Google Voice!

  • WattsResume

    I love Google Voice!

  • WattsResume

    I love Google Voice!

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  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    Google voice and dropbox is cool and helpful.

  • Ganttic

    These 5 brilliant tools are just what I needed. Thank you so much for sharing this information. It was such a great help. You really lend me a big hand.

    My Last Post: Ganttic

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  • Robert Macklyn

    Practically a business loves the tools that gives a legitimate output and profit for the same. As of now various such tools have given contribution in managing the business whether it is small or large. But choosing the best one in every department does make a better sense. It happens that most of the time looking out for the features companies goes ahead in signing a deal which in future case makes a difference n giving away the output. And I feel that a better approach in selecting the tools or softwares is the reviews. Looking out with the customer reviews for any sch product helps achieve a better output. One such tool that has defined for the betterment of my company in terms of the task management is the cloud based task management tools from Replicon ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/task-management-software.aspx ) that I wanna recommend in this wonderful list of tools mentioned. Would love to see if that could be included in the next release.