Tech Tools that Make Small Business Life Better
I’m that guy who’s constantly introducing friends and clients to amazing new software tools. I realized I’ve never shared these recommendations here… so today’s the day!
Here’s the top five tools that make my life SO much better as a small business owner. I’ve used each of these for years.
None of these companies are paying me to be included, but of course I’m including my referral links so we both get free stuff if you sign up. I hope these recommendations help you start 2020 more efficient and effective than ever!
Email & Sales Magic!
For real: this tool has DRAMATICALLY increased my income. It’s done that by helping me stay on top of my sales opportunities. Client prospects often used to fall through the cracks. We all know it takes a ton of follow up to move these conversations to close, so it’s easy for business opportunities to fall through the cracks.
Boomerang allows you to easily set followup reminders that are triggered if nobody responds to an email. I use it for almost every email I send. I’m asking for a meeting, I’m asking for feedback on a project… whatever it is, I don’t want it to fall through the cracks. So I set a “Boomerang” for the message to come back at a specific time, only if nobody has replied. If I get a reply, the Boomerang disappears. If I don’t hear back, I get a reminder at just the right moment.
If you do sales, you can see how much cash this could help you bring in. If you do project management, or work with other people, I’m sure you also see how this will make you look like you’re SUPER organized!
Try it. I can’t recommend Boomerang highly enough.
Pricing: $5 – 15 per month (if you do sales, this is the best ROI ever!)
Payroll Made Easy (& Fun?)
If you have employees or contractors, you know how much of a mess payroll can be. I used to work with Paychex and ADP, and they are fine, but they were built back in the pen & paper era.
When I started hiring at Movers+Shakers, I was thrilled to discover Gusto: the payroll system built for the Internet age. And so much cheaper!
No longer do you need to collect W-4s or W-9s, no longer do you need to get manual signatures, no longer do you need to navigate software built to mirror the flow of paper forms.
Gusto saves me SO much time, it’s just easy to use. And super fun with little animals and fun messages floating around. Their call center is also super helpful and easy to reach. I pay all my contractors through it as well.
If you want to make payroll easier, January is the easiest time to switch to a new provider.
Pricing: I use their basic package which is $39/month + $6/employee.
Phone & Video Conference that Just Works
I don’t know how the Zoom engineers did it, but their video conferencing just seems to work so much better than the others. In my experience, the video and audio quality is better, and the user experience is more streamlined.
I’ve been using it for over 3 years, and like it much better than Skype, Google Chat, Bluejeans, or Uberconference.
Pro tip: their Google Calendar plugin is AMAZING and allows you to schedule a Zoom meeting with one click.
I also use Zoom to host webinars, super simply.
Pricing: $15/month for unlimited meetings
Try it: Here’s my referral link.
Easy & Secure Password Management
If you are still writing your passwords on paper, or way worse, using the same password for multiple accounts, you are setting yourself up for a security disaster. If hackers break into any company you use, they can log into all your other accounts that use that password.
For years we’ve been hearing “use a password manager.” As someone who’s been using one for over 6 years, I can say I’m a big fan.
The New York Times described Dashlane as “life-changingly great.” It allows you to have a very high level of security — AND convenience!
It generates super-cryptic passwords for each site, and then automatically logs you in through plugins on your browser and phone. So you only have to remember one master password, and the rest is super secure and super easy.
Pricing: $60/year, and so worth it for the peace of mind.
5: G Suite
Professional Gmail & Office Suite
Most of you are probably using this already, but for those who are not, I love to recommend Google’s professional version of its Gmail and “Office” products.
When you create a G Suite account, you get to migrate your work email, calendar, etc into the Gmail system we’re all familiar with. I used to use and love Outlook, but it just hasn’t kept up with my cloud-based life.
Also – I have become a power use of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides (Google’s versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). They now have (almost) as many features as the Microsoft versions. The killer differentiator is SUPER easy real-time collaboration. No more revision issues or merging collaborators’ versions of documents.
Pricing: $6/user per month
What software do YOU love as a small business owner? I’m always looking to discover the latest & greatest.
Leave your tips in the comments below! Thanks!