10 Online Tools Every Small Business Owner Should be Using to Work Smarter

The small businesses that are most successful are the ones that have found ways to work smarter. There are literally thousands of online tools that enable businesses to work smarter and free them up to focus on important tasks. Here are ten of the best small business tools to help you put your best work forward.

Tool #1: Google Docs

Today, the smarter way to collaborate and share files is by using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The files are stored in your Google Drive and are a great way to avoid endless back-and-forth emails when you collaborate on different documents.

As a business tool, you can employ Google Docs to systemise your business operations while boosting your productivity and employee efficiency.

Tool #2: Rescue Time

To properly prioritise and take control of your time, you first need to know what you are spending your time on every day. You can manually track your time using a spreadsheet, but that’s more of a task to add to your to-do list and more cognitive load.  

That’s the problem that RescueTime solves for you. RescueTime automatically tracks your time in the background while you work on your computer. It tracks the time you spend on websites and desktop applications and sends detailed reports showing a breakdown of time spent on each activity. With this information, you can rescue your time and spend it more wisely on more important things.

If you want to set a time limit on each activity, RescueTime can help you with that. RescueTime is available as a desktop app on Windows and Mac as well as Android and iOs.

Tool #3: Adobe Sign (Formerly EchoSign)

Tired of mounting piles of documents in your cabinets? Adobe Sign is your ultimate solution. Adobe Sign makes signing contracts a trouble-free experience with its e-sign technology, without the need for a printer or a scanner.

The Adobe Sign approach is eco-friendly – you simply upload your documents to Adobe Sign and send them to the other party.

How does it work? Simply enter your name and initials and Adobe Sign will store your signed documents on their server to refer to you whenever you need them. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on paper, printer ink, and a scanner, Adobe Sign saves you time, money, and stress, while also contributing to protecting the ecosystem.

Tool #4: Wave

Wave is a business accounting software and most of its tools are absolutely free—invoicing, receipts, payroll, receipts, and much more.

Payment collection via credit card or the running payroll, however, are paid features. The best feature of Wave is its ability to fully brand and customise invoices with advanced features such as recurring billing and automatic payments.

Tool #5: Zapier

Zapier is a web-based tool that enables you to connect standalone applications with one another across various environments. Basically, Zapier is a workflow automation tool. Instead of spending so much time doing this yourself or paying someone else to manually do repetitive tasks, you save time and money using Zapier to automate your work processes.

Zapier calls this connection Zap, once triggered, it will automatically perform the task it was pre-programmed to do. For example, you can create a Zap to automatically create Trello cards when new tasks are added in Microsoft To-Do.

Tool #6: GoCo

HR is complicated and is even worse when you are managing it on paper. These days, many business owners are transitioning their HR workflows to modern all-in-one platforms such as GoCo.

The online human resources and benefits application simplifies on-boarding and off-boarding of employees, performance management, time-off tracking, benefits management, HR workflows, compliance management, and many other functions.

Integrating payroll and accounting applications gives you more flexibility without having to grapple with paperwork.

Tool #7: Sococo

Sococo is a dream come true for remote teams with all the perks of a traditional office environment, without the overheads.

Just log in to your virtual office to see who’s working, communicate with colleagues through text, audio, or video chat, and make conference calls right from your office. Try the free plan to start out with Sococo, and you’ll be hooked to the feeling of working in a community, rather than feeling somewhat isolated.

When used with a business phone system, it can also help you cut communication costs, improve productivity, and simplify communications with your customers. To choose a phone system  that’s suitable for your business, make sure you research different options and find out about app integration. Here’s an excellent guide to business telephone systems if your knowledge is a little light in this area.

Tool #8: Bitrix24

Bitrix24 can be used for team collaboration, time management, employee engagement, eLearning, cultural development, and gamification.

This platform extends beyond HR and has broad capabilities including CRM, managing contact centres, telephony, and project management. Its HR features stand out for companies of any size and are effective.

Tool #9: Pipefy

You can’t automate everything in your company – some tasks will always need human inputs. By standardising your business processes and automating parts of them with templates, Pipefy helps you optimise those tasks.

It also integrates with Zapier, so you can trigger processes in Pipefy using actions in your other business software.

Tool #10: Monday.com

Looking for a better platform for your remote team? Then consider Monday.com. Monday.com enables you to automate routine work and synchronises all information in a central database so that your workers can keep track of specific tasks and operations.

Equipped with communication tools, email functions and a knowledge base, you can even integrate the system with Google Drive, Pipedrive, Dropbox and other apps, meaning that you can integrate the platform with your favourite collaborative tools.

Final Words

Remember that when tools such as these are implemented by your competitors, you suffer in comparison. The goal is to use the tools to boost your productivity and motivate yourself so that you can concentrate on the activities that are most important to your company. That’s why you need to know what the best available tools are. We hope you find this list of business tools useful for your small business.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.