Choosing the best software for running a small business can be challenging. It’s very important to select the right tools to serve your business needs but because there are so many choices, it can be overwhelming. Sometimes you can select the wrong tools or go overboard and end up using too many tools.
You could also try the software out and only after using it, decide that it’s not serving your business needs. This can be a big time waster because you’ll have to start from scratch with another tool or software application. It also might involve transferring data from one tool to another which takes you away from the things you really need to be doing to grow your business.
As part of our effort to help people grow their businesses and reach more customers, we would like to share with you some of the best software for running a small business. These tools have helped become more efficient, grow our business and reach more customers!
Below we share our favourite efficient and affordable tools to help you run your new freelance or startup business which includes a website content management system, SEO tool, newsletter and mailing list tool, accounting software, CRM database, and open office software.
1. Website Platform and Content Management System
If you’re in need of a website or platform for publishing content than WordPress is the easiest to use tool out there. It powers one in every six web pages! WordPress is incredibly flexible and scalable. It’s inexpensive compared to many website platforms as you don’t have to pay expensive monthly fees.
You can use a designer to help you design your website or blog on WordPress. You can also get a free or premium theme and design it yourself but it can be very time consuming and not everyone is a designer! It’s important that your website is mobile-friendly, looks professional and is easy for your potential customers to navigate.
Many small businesses decide not to invest in a professional designer for their website resulting in a poorly designed, hard to navigate website. Your website today will need to look great on both tablet and portrait views on smartphone and tablet, as well as on laptops and desktop computers.
Get in touch with us to learn more about WordPress and to see how we can help you with a mobile-friendly website for your start-up business or helping you upgrade your existing website.
2. Search Engine Optimisation Made Easy with the Yoast SEO Plugin
The Yoast SEO plugin can be installed on WordPress and is used to optimise your website pages and improve your search engine ranking. It has an easy to use form and guide that you fill out for each of your websites pages and blog posts to make sure they meet requirements of search engine algorithms used by Google & Bing.
3. Marketing Automation Platform with Newsletter and Mailing List Tool
We use MailChimp which integrates with our mailing list opt-in tool on our website. Anyone who signs up for our mailing list on our website is added to our MailChimp database automatically. We then use our custom designed newsletter templates in MailChimp to send out emails and monthly newsletters to all of our mailing list contacts. It’s free to use for up to 2,000 contacts and 12,000 sends.
We can design a custom MailChimp template and help you set up a mailing list opt-in on your website. Just get in touch and find out how we can help you stay in touch with your customers.
4. QuickBooks Accounting Software for Self Employed Freelancers or Small Business Owners
One of the best investments in your new startup business will be accounting software to help you easily manage the financial end of your new business. This is a task that many new freelancers and startups find to be the most difficult so it’s important that you get a software that makes it easy. One of the best online accounting software available is QuickBooks accounting solution. With QuickBooks, you can easily create and send invoices from anywhere, take snapshots of receipts, connect directly to your bank account, estimate tax, complete HMRC self-assessment, sort business and personal transaction and track mileage transactions. Their basic package for freelancers starts at $6.00 per month with promotions often offering discounts. They also offer a more advanced package for small businesses.
You might decide you want to go with a free financial or invoicing tool because they are available, but keep in mind that this solution might not grow with your business and might not offer all of the features of a paid version like QuickBooks. They also might not be able to provide the HMRC self-assessments or other tax features.
5. Customer Relationship Management Database Solution
A great free option for small business owners and freelancers and one we also use is Capsule CRM. It’s great because it can scale with your business. It starts out with two users with 250 contacts for free and you can upgrade to the professional version for $8.00 per month per user and up to 50,000 contacts.
6. Open Office Software for Creation & Collaboration on Documents, Spreadsheets & Presentations
If you want to avoid the cost of Microsoft Office for Windows PCs or iWork on Macs, you can use open software from Google like Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. For more robust features similar to MS Office or iWork you could also use the Open Source LibreOffice software for creating documents, spreadsheets or presentations.
The great thing about these cloud-based office solutions is that you can easily collaborate simultaneously with clients or other members of your business. It makes it much easier than using tracked changes and sending documents back and forth over email.