The best small
business software empowers you to run your business smoothly and efficiently.
It takes the headache out of everything from organizing your projects and
meetings to time management, so you never fall behind.
When you stay on top of
your operations in this way, you’re free to survive and thrive in the business
world, continually earning more revenue as you go, which is the dream of every
small business owner.
This article features the most useful, best small business software tools that are integral to your success
and easy to learn and install. We provide a curated selection of the best online small business software, from accounting, to project and email management, document storage, security software and more. This way you can get your small business running smoothly.
Best Small Business Accounting Software
Small business accounting
software takes the hassle out of keeping track of what your clients owe you, which
of your clients has yet to pay, and the number of invoices you’ve sent out.
Your real-life accountant will thank you for the streamlining of all of this
data in one, handy place, and you'll be thankful when you can find all of your
invoices easily come tax time.
1. Intuit QuickBooks Online
On this list of the best small business software, perhaps none puts a premium on saving time as much as QuickBooks.
Its task automation lets you concentrate on important areas of your business while its extensive customer support means you’ll never be left hanging when an issue pops up.
Because this software is so widely used, chances are your accountant will be happy you chose QuickBooks for easier integration.
If you’re a small business owner who is on the road a lot, then FreshBooks’ amazing mobile apps for both iOS and Android are the solution to seamless invoicing and client-tracking while in transit.
This online accounting software has features that help small business owners save important time and keep your records tracked reliably. They include on-the-go invoicing, PayPal and credit-card processing of invoices, and expense logging.
Here’s a tutorial for diving right into Freshbooks:
Getting Started with Freshbooks
ideal for very small business owners and entrepreneurs like freelancers, who mainly
rely on themselves. The beauty of this software is its ease of use, free from
the often added complexity of accounting software for bigger companies.
Use Zoho to
efficiently create invoices, track your expenses, and even create financial
reports. Its easily navigable dashboard is one of the main reasons for its
Discover more ideas to help you find the right accounting software for your small business:
The Best Online Accounting Software for Your Small Business
Small Business Project Management Software
nothing like having to handle several projects at the same time to test your
organizational skills as a small business owner. While challenges are always
good, your managing many tasks at once will only leave you drained and feeling
swamped. Instead, rely on the following project management tools to ensure you
can keep your project on target, and please your clients at the same time.
management tool combines usability with reliable and far-reaching mobile access
to give small businesses the reassurance they need when moving through a
project from beginning to end.
your entire team can be spread out all over the world and coordinate remotely. Basecamp’s ability to be accessed from most any
smartphone or tablet makes this a cinch.
our Basecamp tutorial for simple project management:
Using Basecamp for Your Web Design Project Management
design allows small business owners to effectively manage their teams with this easy to use tool that combines project and task management in one, simple interface.
app is excellent for those folks who enjoy doing things visually, as each
project is condensed down to a task, which is represented by various cards that
you move through different stages of completion. We use Trello to simplify our editorial process here at Envato Tuts+.
popular and well-known, Asana is adaptable to businesses of all sizes.
This scalability is a great help when planning projects of varying sizes.
Asana excels at letting small business owners track every aspect of a
project, from the smallest details of the day-to-day process to the continuous
tracking of information and workflows that epitomize bigger projects.
Learn about how to starting working with Asana in our comprehensive beginner guide:
Everything You Need to Know to Get Started with Asana
Discover more great online project management software options:
The Best Online Project Management Software for Small Business
Best Small Business Productivity Apps
is a rare property and skill that should never be underestimated. Often, it’s
the secret ingredient that can take a small business from doing just okay to
exceeding all expectations. When you know how to get things done successfully
in a shorter period of time—you simply achieve more. These productivity apps
are integral to small business success.
productivity’s answer to small businesses that want to accomplish more each
day—but have no idea how. With its easy-to-learn interface, tagging system, and
filters for prioritization, Todoist is a powerful productivity tool that
awesomely doesn’t require a steep learning curve at all.
Get more done
with routine and complex tasks at your small business, thanks in large part to features
like project areas of responsibility, time- and location-based reminders, and
“Remember Everything” sums up Evernote’s power succinctly. This productivity
app belongs on this monster list of the best software for small business because
it’s an endless filing cabinet that lives in the cloud and syncs across all of
Information you put in their can be easily retrieved by a basic
keyword or tag search. It’s the
perfect place for small business documents, receipts, PDFs, plans, graphics,
images and virtually everything else.
Read this article on killer tips and tricks to get the most out of Evernote:
Taming the Elephant: Awesome Evernote Tips and Tricks
our guide to more great productivity apps:
15 Business Productivity Apps to Work Better + Save Time
Small Business Collaboration and Document Software
filing cabinets are out of the question, and hoarding information on bits of
paper is the fastest way to run a disorganized business…straight into the
ground. Thankfully, there’s a slew of collaboration and documents apps that
empowers any small business owner to find the information they need at the drop
of a hat, right out of the cloud, and available on all their devices.
free cloud storage service that allows you to pay for extra space, Google
Drive/Docs is the epitome of organization. It empowers small businesses to get
instant access across all of their devices to their documents, files, images,
videos and so much more. It can even be used as a backup system.
boasts more than 200 million users although it was only launched four years
yourself with Google Drive/Docs by reading:
How to Import and Export Documents in Google Drive
another great cloud storage service with millions and millions of users. It enables
small business owners to get their files, documents, pictures and videos
instantly and from any device they have. Not only is this content safe, but
collaboration, sharing and creating is simplified and more accessible.
2007, it was one of the first cloud storage services that helped to
popularize the use of the cloud for collaboration and storage. Read our article on how to use Dropbox across your team:
Using Dropbox to Connect a Team
The new kid
on the block, Slack is a cloud based tool as well, but it’s more of a
collaboration enabler for teams all over the globe. This makes it the perfect
choice for small businesses whose teams are scattered across various time
allows for real-time chatting, searching and archiving all on the same server,
so your communication is on-point all the time. Here’s more
about using Slack to communicate with
Streamline Your Team Communications With Slack
Email Online Software for Small Business
Even in 2016, email is still dominant and widely used by more people than ever.
In spite of the advent of new tools like social media, cloud based software and
real-time messaging apps, email is here to stay because of its extreme
usefulness. Here are our picks for the best email services as small business
integration with Google’s host of other highly usable online software products and services,
Gmail is the choice of many small businesses when it comes to email.
Its interface, which is
always being redesigned to ensure a better user experience, is intuitive, with
labels providing a smart way of quick and easy in-app organization. Interestingly,
92% of small companies and startups host their email with Gmail.
Learn how to use Gmail in our ultimate beginner guide or get started with these tutorials:
How to Create a New Gmail Account (Quick Start Guide)
How to Search Your Emails in Gmail Like a Pro
13. Microsoft Outlook
Gmail’s biggest direct competitors, Microsoft’s Outlook is actually a bit more
than just email. Technically, it’s an entire personal information manager with
a calendar, contact manager, task manager, journal, and note and web-browsing
people use it mainly for the email app. As with Gmail, it’s available on both
iOS and Android for email processing on the go.
Zoho Mail is an ad-free webmail that features a minimalist user interface for added simplicity
and an easy learning curve. It's specifically geared for business and professional
use, Zoho Mail is initially free and then has different pricing tiers for a
maximum of 25 GB of mail capacity.
A point of
interest here is the integration with Zoho Docs. Zoho Docs is Zoho’s answer to
Google’s Docs, where you and your team can collaborate, create and edit text
Best Small Business Email Marketing Tools
marketing is still a force to be reckoned with, even though it was one of the
first forms of digital marketing to take off. In an age of social media, blogging
and text messaging, email marketing is going strong because of the
powerful results and conversion rates it gets for businesses of all types. Two email
marketing services in particular are helpful to small businesses:
everyone’s heard of MailChimp, and with good reason. It’s totally free for up
to 500 subscribers and includes basic marketing features.
marketing integration you can think of automatically comes with a basic
MailChimp subscription. This means integration with Twitter and Facebook,
ecommerce biggies like Shopify, and signup/popup form apps like OptinMonster.
our authoritative guide to everything
MailChimp as well as great email newsletter template resources:
The Tuts+ Guide to MailChimp
20 Best MailChimp Templates - To Level-Up Your Business Email Newsletter
big email marketing service, Campaign Monitor provides small businesses from
all industries pro-grade and automated email marketing features with powerful
results. Whether it’s personalized campaigns or delighting customers, Campaign
Monitor has you covered.
sending out email marketing campaigns means nothing without a demonstrable
return on investment. That’s why Campaign Monitor features tools to track your
email campaigns’ performances.
analysis of which outperforms the other, this article gives a quick comparison between the two:
MailChimp vs. Campaign Monitor: Which is the Best Email Newsletter Software?
feeling inspired, head on over to our GraphicRiver marketplace, where you'll find a a host of professional email templates designed for various types of business newsletters.
Backup and Recovery Software for Small Business
It’s never a
smart idea to simply keep all of your most personal and prized files
unprotected and unguarded, yet so many small business owners do exactly that.
small business needs to back up its business and financial records because all
of your sensitive information that resides there. Don’t leave things to chance. Here
are the best backup and recovery services to make use of.
recovery service lets you save and back up anything from your small business
into the cloud, where it’s sure to be safe and protected. With Crashplan, small
business owners get peace of mind that their trade secrets and proprietary
information won’t ever get lost or fall into the wrong hands.
matter what size of business you have. Small and large companies alike can
benefit when their respective data is being protected the way it should be.
you’re able to do an online backup for all of your devices on PC and Mac, as
well as on Android, iOS and other mobile devices. IDrive won’t cost you an arm
and a leg; in fact, a basic 5 GB of backup space is totally free.
features a small business plan where you’re able to keep data safe on all of
your business servers, computers, NAS, SQL and Exchange.
Top Small Business Security and Virus Protection
can be a big, bad, scary place because of all the viruses and malware that are
out there. The last thing any small business owner wants is for their work
computer, tablet and/or smartphone to be infected by a malicious program
that’ll set back the smooth running of their operations. These security and
anti-virus apps give small businesses protection and peace of mind.
One of the
oldest and best-known security and virus tools available, McAfee is available
for your computers, tablets and smartphones, providing protection to small
business owners no matter where they are.
is this app’s Virus Protection Pledge, which states that you get a full refund
should one of its supported devices get a virus, if McAfee still fails to
remove said virus from your system.
name in the security and protection industry, Norton also offers widespread
protection across PC, Mac and mobile devices. Depending on the plan you choose,
you can obtain protection for as many as 10 computers and devices, all on just
Norton has a
similar pledge to McAfee’s, which is that this app will keep your devices
virus-free, or else you’re entitled to a refund.
makes a range of security and protection products, ranging from anti-spyware
and anti-virus to anti-spam and firewall products. Many of its products have
won awards for effectiveness.
are included, so that small business owners can see if a certain Kaspersky
product is right for their business or not.
guide to malware for more
information on online security threats:
Macs and Malware Explained
Small Business Social Media Marketing
marketing is essential to small business success. Social media enables you to
reach your leads and customers for a fraction of the price of a traditional ad campaign,
making it extremely effective. When you consider that so many people use social
media, it is also where your customers are—and that means your brand should be
there, too. Here are the best marketing tools for social media.
Hootsuite is an extremely popular social media tool that offers powerful social media control from one, awesome interface. Hootsuite allows you to do a bit more, like social listening, where you’re able to monitor what people are saying about your small business on the web.
Plus, Hootsuite works with approximately 35 different social networks, making it very expansive. Learn how to get started working with Hootsuite:
How to Use Hootsuite for Powerful Social Media Management
Among online business apps, Buffer is a very popular social media tool that offers free and premium plans. This tool allows small business owners to schedule, publish and then analyze all of their social activity from one dashboard.
You don’t need to individually sign into Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn because Buffer lets you control all your social media accounts from one place. It's simple and quick to work with.
Sprout social is robust social media management
software that lets small business owners source potential leads, analyze their
return on investment, and publish and schedule your social media content across
All of this
also translates into better customer services, as business owners are able to
quickly respond to customer complaints and solve problems across networks.
For more on
social media marketing, from our multipart beginning's guide to social media for small business, see these helpful articles:
Hootsuite vs Buffer vs Sprout Social: What is the Best Social Media Management Tool?
14 Helpful Social Media Management Tools for a Better Workflow
Online VPN Software for Small Business
for virtual private network, which is a server and connecting network that’s
really a gateway between your computer and the web. Instead of your computer
connecting straightaway to a website, it first goes through another computer
than only then connects to the site. This makes for a safer and more private
Internet connection for added security.
This is one of the best small business VPN software solutions. It allows for online privacy as well as access to media content
without any regional limitations. It features
strong encryption for security with more than 700 servers in more than 50
countries around the world.
Solid VPN Unlimited
This VPN app
offers complete security no matter what WiFi network you’re on or what kind of
data you end up sharing online. It encrypts all of your web traffic as well as
sensitive information, shielding it from both hackers and prying third parties.
It also offers very fast Internet speeds, which is important because VPN servers can in some cases contribute to a slower, overall Internet connection in
exchange for added security.
Shield is available for Mac, PC, iOS and Android, which makes it a source of
encryption and protection across all devices for complete security. There’s a
free version and an Elite version that’s available in various pricing tiers. This VPN app is currently being used by more than 400 million
people in 200 countries, which speaks to its credibility.
info on the best VPN software, read our comprehensive guide:
What is the Best VPN Software? For Fast WiFi Security
Be More Successful at Your Small Business
With These Apps
small business is hard and challenging. Many don’t survive past the first, few
years. Using the right apps can make a big difference in helping you overcome the
basic issues that every small business owners runs into when they have their
own operation. They help you get organized, streamline your workflows, and get more done with greater efficiency and reliability.
time to research and learn more about the online business software you're considering using. Discover how useful these apps are and which one can help your business the
most. Review a small selection that have the features you need at the right price point. Test them out with a trial run before investing. Find just the one that fits your business best and gives you a great ROI in its specific area.
What is the best small business software in your opinion? What business software tools and online apps can't you live without in your small business?