The goal is to work smarter, not harder—so you can focus on the work you do best. Here are the 50 best tools and software for small businesses who want to put their best work forward.
At Flock, we understand small businesses because we are one, so we built this guide to small business tools and software with you in mind. When it comes to running a small business, having the right tool for the job can make a big difference. But choosing the right one is no small feat. The secret is to find the right kind of software with the right combination of tools that cater to the nature of your work and the business at large.
Realizing your team's potential to do great things is a critical first step towards investing in small business software and tools. When leadership understands the specific needs of individual teams they can begin to bridge gaps with smarter software and tools that foster growth, ignite communication and collaboration, and drive productivity and performance.
Why do you need small business tools and software?
Modern small business software and tools help small businesses operate more efficiently. Today’s technology enables real-time delivery and deployment of information to give small businesses immediate, reliable, and secure access to company data and information whenever and wherever you need it.
However, in order for small businesses to scale, prioritizing and optimizing teamwork is essential. Small business software and tools can be used to conquer everyday tasks from tracking employee productivity and performance to people and money management to streamlining communication and collaboration.
What are the benefits of small business tools and software?
Running a small business is a team effort. Aligning team goals with business goals will help you prioritize your short and long-term needs before making a buying decision.
As remote work and virtual workplaces continue to evolve, small business software and tools can empower your entire organization to achieve results faster by keeping your work organized, your teams in sync, and your business thriving.
Communication software and tools bolster teamwork and boost productivity. When teams practice good communication habits, they foster contagious chemistry that can impact culture, collaboration, and productivity. Never miss a beat when you’re always connected.
- Incentivizes meaningful conversations
- Ignites thoughtful dialogue
- Encourages deeper engagement
- Drives cohesive decision-making
Collaboration software and tools fuel every facet of your business. This is especially true for small businesses with remote teams. Modern collaboration software empowers teams to work smarter together no matter where they are.
- Creates a network shareable knowledge
- Cross-functional ideas exchange
- Ecosystem of shared resources
- Team alignment and problem-solving
Productivity software and tools help teams work smarter, not harder. Productivity tools can also have an invaluable impact on your overall performance by powering momentum and conquering procrastination.
- Create custom digital workflows
- Automate recurring processes
- Optimize teamwork and performance
- Divide and conquer projects, tasks, and to-dos
Marketing software can make a good marketer great with powerful tools that provide intimate insights about customers that help produce qualified sales leads.
- Automate scheduling
- Build a website
- Impacts employee performance
- Organizes tasks and to-dos
Modern accounting software and tools help you keep track of the money coming in and going out of your business—and you don’t need to be a financial guru to get started.
- Track revenue and expenses
- Handle taxes and payroll
- Generate custom reports
- Analyze and forecast finances
Operations management software helps monitor employee engagement and satisfaction, and establish quality control.
- Hire, onboard, and groom top talent
- Establish accountability and align goals
- Prioritize support and streamline feedback
- Build employee confidence and team morale
What are the best small business tools and software?
Choose from 50 small business tools and software to help run your business like a pro. Click on the categories below to jump to each section. This list has been updated as of Feb. 2020.
Communication Software for Small Businesses
Collaboration Software for Small Businesses
File & Document Manager
9. Google Drive
Productivity Software for Small Businesses
Marketing Software for Small Businesses
Social Media Marketing
31. Adobe Creative Cloud
Accounting Software for Small Businesses
40. H&R Block
Operations Software for Small Businesses
42. Help Scout
47. LinkedIn Recruiter
Learning and Development
49. LinkedIn Learning
50. General Assembly
Communication software and tools for small businesses
Direct, one-on-one, and team messaging software has emerged as the primary means of small business communication with the ability to send and receive information, ideas, files, and more all in real-time. Messaging provides instant access to information email cannot.
We believe Flock is the best small business software for team communication because it’s more than just a messenger: It’s a business collaboration hub that helps you get more done, faster. Flock changes the way you connect with your team with direct and group messaging channels, video conferencing, secure file sharing, shared notes, company directories, custom team mailing lists, and more—all from a single app. Flock does everything your small business needs to communicate and collaborate effectively...and still so much more.
Pro: $4.50 per user/mo.
Slack shares many of the features as Flock but it comes at a higher cost per user, per month. Compare Flock vs. Slack.
Standard: $6.67 per user/mo.
Plus: $12.50 per user/mo.
Email is still the most widely used business communication tool. While email is not ideal for quick discussions or decisions, it does establish a thread for robust dialogue, specifically when communicating with multiple internal or external stakeholders. It’s absolutely vital for SMBs to have a professional email address that represents your business and your brand.
Titan is modern business email that means business. Get a professional email address to match your website's domain name without having to pay a bunch of money for a bundle of add-ons you don't need. Build your brand and your business on the back of Titan.
Free 30-day trial, then $1.50 per user/mo.
Gmail’s professional counterpart gives SMBs a customized email address and access to Google’s full suite of business products and admin tools that help consolidate and optimize your organization’s communication.
Free 14-day trial, then $6 per month
Video conferencing software and tools give small businesses the flexibility of communicating face-to-face from just about anywhere—the home, the office, or a job site—across all devices. The right software and tools integrate screen-sharing, screen-recording, and video streaming capabilities that give SMBs powerful tools to conduct professional virtual meetings.
Video conferencing is essential for globally dispersed and remote teams. Flock gives small businesses the ability to host online meetings and webinars with video-conferencing software built right into the core messenger. Start a video call directly in a conversation channel and share your screen during a live stream or presentation. Flock video conferencing lets you communicate with anyone face-to-face and in real-time from anywhere.
Pro: $4.50 per user/mo.
Zoom is one of the more popular small business video conferencing apps on the market. Its free plan lets you host unlimited 1:1 meetings or group meetings of up to 100 participants with a 40-minute limit, and includes custom meeting IDs and screen-sharing capabilities in HD.
Pro: $15 per host/mo.
Business: $20 per host/mo.
Collaboration software and tools for small businesses
The primary purpose of project management tools is to track teamwork and optimize productivity. Small businesses rely on project management software and tools to ensure that teams carry a balanced workload and tasks get completed on time.
Asana is an essential small business tool that teams use to stay focused on the goals, projects, and daily tasks of a growing business. The ability to view all of your projects in calendar view, list view, or board view, and assign tasks with due dates to multiple stakeholders is a beautiful thing. Asana’s aesthetically pleasing user interface and versatility are a few reasons why it’s one of the more popular project management tools on the market.
Premium: $11 per user/mo.
Business: $25 per user/mo.
Like Asana, Trello lets you work more collaboratively with boards, lists, and cards that help you to visually organize and prioritize team projects like a pro should. Small businesses use Trello for a lot—from product planning to content strategy to budgeting. There’s not a whole lot that Trello can’t do to improve the way your small business works and collaborates.
Business: $10 per user/mo.
File & Document Manager
Data management and file-sharing systems are essential to small business operations and team collaboration. File sharing software backs up all of your important files and documents in the cloud and syncs them across all your devices—all the while keeping a record of relevant and shareable data accessible throughout the entire company.
Google Drive is the most popular cloud-based small business file management and sharing software, and it’s absolutely free. You can create, store, and share all types of files from documents to slide presentations to spreadsheets to images and edit them collectively as a team in real-time. Google Drive even lets you sync your files across all your devices and share them publicly or privately with external stakeholders.
Basic: Free, 15GB
G Suite: $6 per month, 30GB
Google One: $2 per month, 100GB; $3 per month, 200GB; $10 per month, 2TB
Dropbox has long been known for its blazing-fast sync speeds ideal for larger, more unique file types often used by developers and designers. Plus, its best-in-class user experience and a plethora of add-ons like watermarking, tiered-admin roles, and file recovery give Dropbox the edge for product development and creative teams.
Individual Plus: $10 per month, 2TB
Individual Pro: $17 per month, 3TB
Teams Standard: $12.50 user/mo., 5TBTeams Advanced: $20 user/mo., Unlimited
Note-taking tools ensure everyone on your team is fully engaged and on the same page—literally. Digital note-taking tools integrate across many productivity platforms and are the most resourceful way to keep all relevant information together and accessible. Attach notes to a message or email, or convert them into tasks or to-dos.
Todoist keeps everything on your plate organized and accounted for. Get a clear overview of your workday and your schedule, and prioritize projects so you’ll always know exactly what to work on next. Never lose track of an important task or to-do again.
Premium: $3 per user/mo.
Evernote has been around forever and is still one of the premier note-taking apps available. Save web pages, bookmark articles, and clip PDFs to the app, or use a pre-made template to build a business plan, a to-do list, or a full-blown research report.
Premium: $8 per month
Business: $15 per user/mo.
Productivity software and tools for small businesses
Organizing your digital workspace for optimal focus and productivity and less context switching has become the new standard for employees who moderate multiple accounts across various applications. Aggregating content and information from these apps in a centralized dashboard is where Google Chrome’s web browser falls short and these workspaces shine.
Shift is the modern workstation for highly productive teams and entrepreneurs who want to get things done more efficiently. Shift lets you manage all of your apps, extensions, social media accounts, and email accounts in one beautiful desktop application. It’s the kind of productivity software that changes everything by keeping everything you're doing right in front of you.
Advanced: $99 per year
Station is a next-generation dashboard that rules all of your apps. The “smart dock” as it’s dubbed, groups all of your apps, tabs, and open web pages in one place to let you context switch and multitask across different accounts, faster. Like Shift, it also comes with a focus feature that lets you turn off notifications so you can concentrate on getting things done.
Teams: TBD (as of Feb. 2020)
Time management tools help you keep track of time spent throughout the workday. This helps teams optimize effort and productivity with a deeper understanding of how profitable certain projects truly are. After all, time is money when it comes to small business growth.
TimeDoctor is the productivity cure-all for time wasted. TimeDoctor not only tracks the total amount of time spent on your work, but it also provides an analytical breakdown of how much time is spent on each project, client, or task. Time Doctor is accurate to the second, so you can easily bill clients or pay employees based on tracked time.
Basic: 14-day trial, then $10 per user/mo.
According to ResueTime, only 10% of people say they feel “in control” of how they spend their workday. But focusing for a long period of time on a single task or project can have a massive competitive advantage. RescueTime helps you identify how you spend your time, what you spend it on, and when you’re most likely to perform your best work.
Premium: 14-day trial, then $6 per month
Process automation helps teams execute the recurring processes within a common or customized workflow. Even the most complex cross-functional and repetitive processes — like employee onboarding and scheduling — can be automated with ease and in real-time thanks to process automation software and tools.
Zapier is a best-in-class process automation software for busy teams. Connect more than 1,500 of your favorite business apps and tools so you can focus on your most important work. Zapier automatically moves necessary information between applications with a central command. Stop wasting time on repetitive tasks—automate them—so you can do more of the work you love.
Starter: $20 per month
Pro: $50 per month
As the tagline says - "Automate like the Fortune 500", Automate.io is an easy-to-use & affordable solution for integrating cloud apps & services to create simple one-to-one integrations or complex workflows.
Users can now automate sales, marketing, and business processes in minutes and save 40+ hrs/week.
And the most interesting part? It doesn't require any IT help and users can integrate their apps without coding through a drag-and-drop interface.
Basic: Forever Free Plan
Small businesses use shared calendar tools for time-management and scheduling.
Calendly helps small businesses schedule meetings without the back-and-forth of emails. It works with existing Google, Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud calendars and automates tasks with Salesforce and Zapier. Set buffer times between meetings using seamless timezone detection so everyone’s on the same page.
Premium: $8 per user/mo.
Pro: $12 per user/mo.
Businesses book meetings faster with Doodle. Quickly schedule 1:1s with outside parties without guessing or inquiring about availability. A first-come, first-served open block for appointments lets guests see and respond to your changing availability without you having to constantly update them.
Starter: $4 per month
Pro: $6 per month
Team: $30 per month
Marketing software and tools for small businesses
Customer relationship management (CRM) software and tools manage all of your company’s touchpoints with existing and potential customers—and so much more. A robust CRM solution can help companies stay connected to goals that drive profitability.
Hubspot’s CRM software brings marketing, sales, and customer service tools together under one roof with popular features like lead generation, analytics, and automation. It puts everything you need to know into a central hub for stakeholders to access. Run a full-blown inbound marketing campaign and share key insights on revenue, traffic, and prospecting. The basic version is free forever, but you can upgrade for advanced features as you scale.
Basic: Free, upgrade as needed
Zoho CRM is another popular CRM solution for small businesses that brings companies and customers together via one integrated platform giving marketing, sales, commerce, and customer service an intuitive lens into every customer. Build pipelines and help sales acquire more leads with marketing automation tools and omnichannel workflows that streamline customer journeys at scale.
Basic: 15-day trial, then $12 per user/mo.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing software is used primarily to monitor, manage, and analyze social interactions and automate post scheduling. Aggregate your social media feeds across multiple accounts and stream them via a single dashboard on a range of devices.
Buffer lets you build your social following and grow your brand by planning, scheduling, and publishing social media content that drives engagement across all the popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Pro: 7-day trial, then $15 per month
Premium: 14-day trial, then $65 per month
Business: 14-day trial, then $99 per month
Hootsuite is a leading all-in-one social media management tool that helps you bolster your social presence. It drives deeper engagement more with customers by automatically scheduling and sending round-the-clock social media posts, comments, and replies.
Pro: 30-day trial, then $29 per month
Team: 30-day trial, then $129 per month
Email marketing tools are used to automate and schedule promotional campaigns mainly for products and services. Marketing teams also use these tools to maintain relationships with customers and clients. Email marketing supports a wide range of digital marketing initiatives and is a way to supplement social media marketing and content marketing campaigns.
According to Mailchimp, email marketing averages $52 ROI for every dollar spent. Its industry-leading email marketing tool is part of an all-in-one platform designed to help grow your business faster and increase revenue. Mailchimp is fully customizable and integrates seamlessly with many of the marketing tools on this list.
Essentials: $10 per month
Standard: $15 per month
Send emails that pop with ConvertKit’s fully customizable templates and embeddable forms lets you collect email addresses directly from your website and turn your readers into subscribers. Tag subscribers based on their interests, activity, and more to help you segment your audiences and send the right message to them at the right time.
0-1k subscribers: $29 per month
1-3k subscribers: $49 per month
3-5k subscribers: $79 per month
From logos to websites to blog posts to email templates and social media pages—design can distinguish your brand from the competition. Whether you have a single graphic designer on your team or a full creative staff, modern digital design tools allow for varying levels of expertise and functionality.
Adobe Creative Cloud is an industry-leading digital design suite with a collection of desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX and more. Many professional designers view Adobe as the standard for digital design software.
Individuals: Starts at $10 per month
Business: Starts at $34 per month
Students & Teachers: $20 per month
Schools & Universities: $15 per month
Canva is the design platform for DIY creatives. Beginner level designers and marketers can utilize stunning, premade templates that make it easy to turn content ideas into professional designs using Canva’s drag and drop features. Whether you need a photo collage or a social media mockup, Canva makes it possible for anyone to create amazing designs.
Pro: 30-day trial then $10 per month
Enterprise: 30-day trial then $30 per month
A website builder is an all-in-one tool that builds websites without the need for manual coding. A good website builder includes some type of drag-and-drop functionality which allows you to build web pages and structure featured layouts easily. Many website builders incorporate a user-friendly interface that integrates with third-party tools and plugins that dramatically optimize the performance and enhance the functionality of your website.
According to WordPress, 35% of all websites on the internet use its platform. Choose from more than 54,000 plugin tools—from online stores, image galleries, search and analytics tools, payment platforms, and more—that help showcase your products, services, content and more.
Pro: 30-day trial then $10 per month
Enterprise: 30-day trial then $30 per month
Wix is a website builder that gives you the freedom to create, design, manage and develop your web presence the way you want. Whether you’re promoting your business, showcasing your work, opening your store or starting a blog—you can do it all with the Wix website builder.
Personal: $13 per month
Unlimited: $17 per month
Pro: $22 per month
VIP: $39 per month
Web hosting software and tools (or website hosting providers) enable businesses to host custom websites or web pages and store their data securely on a protected server network. Most hosting companies will also let you register a custom domain name.
GoDaddy offers more than just a platform to build your website, it offers everything you need to create and run an effective, memorable online business. GoDaddy offers a wide range of affordable hosting plans that include powerful online marketing tools with personalized support.
Web Hosting: Starts at $6 per month
Wordpress Hosting: $7 per month
Business: Starting at $20 per month
More than 2 million registered domains use Siteground to host websites. For those businesses that don’t know where to start, Siteground offers a full web hosting solution with premium features and the additional support you need to launch your site and keep the engine powered on the back end. Siteground is also widely known for its automated WordPress migration.
Startup: Starts at $4 per month
GrowBig: $6 per month
GoGeek: Starting at $12 per month
Accounting software and tools for small businesses
Track your income and expenses. Manual bookkeeping creates a bottleneck at the end of the fiscal year whereas bookkeeping software allows you to create and maintain financial records throughout the year. This helps you monitor your financial records year-round which in turn helps you forecast and avoid critical errors and future problems.
QuickBooks has been the holy grail of accounting software for some time and we don’t think that’s changed. Developed by trusted Intuit, QuickBooks is built for small and medium-sized businesses and billed as an all-in-one cloud-based accounting platform for everything from money management, bill pay, and payroll functions..
Simple Start: $12 per month
Essentials: $20 per month
Plus: $35 per month
Advanced: $75 per month
FreshBooks is an all-in-one cloud accounting software for entrepreneurs and small business teams. It completely automates administrative accounting tasks like tracking expenses, invoicing, and vendor relationship management. Its award-winning customer service is always free and supported by real humans, which for young businesses, is a saving grace.
Lite: $15 per month
Plus: $25 per month
Premium: $50 per month
Millions of customers use Xero as their go-to accounting software. Its approach to accessibility provides ease of access for business owners and it’s built to scale. But outside of QuickBooks, finding the right kind of accounting software that doesn’t put Mac users at a disadvantage has always been a chore. Xero's cloud-based accounting software (available for both PC and Mac) is a full-suite solution that doesn't compromise functionality on a Mac or an iPhone.
Early: $9 per month
Growing: $30 per month
Established: $60 per month
Wave is award-winning accounting software designed for entrepreneurs and the majority of its tools are absolutely free—invoicing, payments, payroll, receipts, and more. However, collecting payments via credit card or running payroll comes with a price tag. Wave’s best feature is the ability to fully brand, customize, and personalize invoices with advanced features like recurring billing and automatic payments.
Good payments software is the first and last line of defense when it comes to processing the money going in and going out of your business. Professional payments tools make it extremely easy to issue and collect all forms of payments and manage deductions.
PayPal for business lets you accept all major forms of payment. Start accepting credit cards and PayPal payments or send invoices online and take payments from your mobile devices. Simply add the PayPal button to your website and give your customers a fast, safer way to pay.
Standard: $0 per month; 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Pro: $35 per month; 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
Stripe helps power millions of small businesses in more than 100 countries and across nearly every industry. Start collecting payments via card, ACH, or other popular payment methods instantly. Stripe provides billing software for everything from per-seat pricing to metered billing out of the box. It also gives you the ability to set custom pricing, automate the collection process, and sync billing and payment data with your other accounting software and tools.
Payments: $0 per month; 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
As a small business owner, doing your taxes can be intimidating, but modern tax software can maximize your deductions and help alleviate your frustrations.
TurboTax saves you time by transferring last year's information into your TurboTax return. It’ll automatically import your QuickBooks income and expense accounts and classify them for you, as well as walk you through all your deductible business expenses—from vehicle and supplies to advertising and travel.
State: $50 per state
With over 60 years of tax preparation experience, H&R Block is dedicated to serving small business owners with industry-leading software, services, and in-person expert guidance to manage your business' tax needs.
State: $37 per state
Operations software and tools for small businesses
Customer support software is a key business tool that allows you to manage customer service requests and track customer engagement using real-time reporting and response times. Most modern customer support software platforms incorporate a ticket system or a chatbot that utilizes process automation workflows to streamline communication and problem-solving.
Zendesk is actually CRM software for support, sales, and customer engagement that’s designed for small businesses to create better customer relationships—basically a CRM for customer support. You get an all-in-one help desk solution that generates insightful data on engagement that keeps customers happy and conversations flowing.
Essential: $5 per user/mo.
Team: $19 per user/mo.
Professional: $49 per user/mo.
Help Scout is an all-in-one platform customer support tool designed for small businesses to convert and support your customers. Help Scout offers multi-channel support with email and chat, and additional self-service tools that compile customer data and activity to ensure a great customer lifecycle experience.
Standard: $20 per user/mo.
Plus: $35 per user/mo.
Legal documents like contracts and formal business filings require authorized signatures. Small businesses can think of contract management software as a digital filing cabinet for all the important documents that contain highly sensitive information.
Whether you’re approving a purchase, closing a sale, or signing an agreement, DocuSign enables anyone to electronically sign agreements from anywhere. Choose from more than a dozen applications and more than 350 different integrations, covering the entire agreement process—from preparing to signing, acting on, managing agreements, and more.
Personal: $10 per user/mo.
Standard: $25 per user/mo.
Business Pro: $40 per user/mo.
HelloSign makes it easy for small businesses to sign documents or request signatures from up to 20 different people in any order, or all at once. When the document is completed, everyone gets a copy delivered to their inbox. Check your document’s progress with status notifications that keep you in the loop throughout the entire process.
Standard: $13 per user/mo.
Enterprise: $23 per user/mo.
For many small businesses, performance management tools help drive business decisions related to everything from mental health to career development to compensation. Performance reviews set clear expectations and guide employees down the right path by providing periodic feedback relating to the individual, team, and company-wide goals.
BambooHR’s performance management software collects and organizes all kinds of information throughout the employee lifecycle—hiring, onboarding, evaluation, and more—and gives you the insights you need to support your most important asset: people. Its approach to performance management incorporates the latest tools for measuring engagement that helps you champion culture and drive organizational growth.
Essentials: $6 per employee/mo.
Advanced: $8 per employee/mo.
15Five is performance management software that brings the best out of your employees. Its holistic platform lets managers focus on individual and team growth and performance with weekly check-ins, progress updates, and real-time private and private feedback.
Basic: $7 per user/mo.
Plus: $14 per user/mo.
Recruiting is a human resources and operations management tactic that handles the process of posting jobs and acquiring talent. Recruitment software streamlines the entire candidate search and hiring process—from the job post to the job interview.
LinkedIn’s recruiter tools help you source the right candidates faster by searching beyond your personal connections with more than 500 million LinkedIn members. Its 20-plus simple-to-use filters and smart recommendations lets you create a search based on ideal candidates you may know and contact them directly on LinkedIn using customized templates. Build, track and manage your workflow with folders, reminders, and to-do lists.
LinkedIn Lite: $100 per month
AngelList is more than just an angel investment platform, it’s a powerful recruiting tool for startups and small businesses—and a goldmine for top talent. From seed-stage to post-IPO, 36,000+ of the world’s top startups have built their teams using AngelList.
Source: $200 per month
A-List: 20% per hire
Learning and Development
Providing on-the-job training and investing in employee development and growth is part of a winning operational approach that cultivates core culture and grooms budding talent.
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network with nearly 660+ million users worldwide. Formerly Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning lets you pick and choose the courses you want—from business, engineering, creative, and more—and as many as you want for one affordable monthly cost. Choose from a huge depository of professional courses online and complete them at your own pace.
Monthly: 30-day trial then $30 per month
Annually: 30-day trial then $20 per month
General Assembly is a leading source for training, staffing, and career transitioning. It specializes in today’s most in-demand skills from web development, data, design, digital marketing, business, and more. Businesses can leverage its 40,000-plus professional alumni to provide mentorship, help employees fill skills gaps, and foster a culture of lifelong learning.
Varies by course
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