The Best Small Business Tools in 2024

If you’re a small business owner, you know the impact of every tool on your small business operations, processes, and, ultimately, profitability.

Smaller companies sometimes need to bring a higher added value than larger organizations and be even more agile and innovative. That is why a small business’s tools are vital to its competitive edge.

Track time automatically with zero effort

Timeular’s easy and smart experience, paired with its powerful reporting and leave-tracking functionalities, makes time tracking a delight.

In this article, we’ll compile a list of the best small business tools that can empower and amplify your impact, so your organization can thrive in the 2024 competitive landscape.

The right tool transforms a small business’ operations, helping to automate administrative tasks, have better time management, and ultimately scale faster.

Whether you’re just beginning your entrepreneurship journey or an established small business owner, this list will help you make an informed decision.

The best small business tools in 2024

time tracking app for small businesses

1. Timeular – Track 100% of your billable hours

Timeular is an automated time tracker that stands out with its smart, secure, and automated ways to track time, as well as its time tracking cube.

Why a small business like yours should track time:

  • Optimized processes: time-tracking apps enable small business owners and employees to gain insights into their time allocation. You’ll identify flaws in processes and time-consuming tasks and allow better business operations, task management, and productivity improvement overall.
  • Increased profitability: valuable insights such as activities your team’s time goes to versus the outcomes and the equivalent profitability are among the first indicators small business owners should consider.
  • Fair, transparent billing: for businesses that bill clients based on time worked or projects completed, a time tracking tool provides the accurate data needed for invoicing. It also gives leverage in clients negotiations on prices.

Why Timeular is a great small business tool? With its features, you can:

  • Automatically track time spent on each activity with a simple keyboard shortcut;
  • Easily build a time tracking habit with the physical tracking cube;
  • Automate time reports with just a few clicks;
  • Track PTO and employee leave absences with the leave tracker;
  • Keep project budgets in control with budget notifications;
  • Track overtime hours, to keep your team balanced;
  • Track billable and non-billable hours with a billable hours tracker;
  • Integrate Timeular with over 3000 other tools of your choice;
  • Rest assured, as all your data is stored locally, with 100% GDPR compliance at core.

“I would highly recommend Timeular for tracking time on small teams like ours. Timeular has been a game-changer for us, and we couldn’t be happier with our choice.”

Keith Reynolds, CEO of spokemedia.io

Track time automatically with zero effort

Timeular’s easy and smart experience, paired with its powerful reporting and leave-tracking functionalities, makes time tracking a delight.

2. Asana

Asana is a top-rated project management software to organize and manage tasks, projects, and teams more effectively.

Asana is a reliable tool for small businesses to:

  • streamline workflows
  • improve productivity
  • enhance overall project management.

Asana provides a collaborative platform that enables teams to coordinate their work and track project progress. It’s among the users’ favorite small business tools for managing projects.

A big project can be divided into more manageable tasks, contributing to easier communication between teams.

Asana can be integrated with a variety of other tools, such as project management tools and collaboration tools, communication apps, file-sharing platforms, and more.

TIP: Read our post and find out why Asana is a top productivity app.

Asana productivity and free digital planner

Setting up and configuring advanced features in Asana, such as dependencies or custom automation rules, may require some technical expertise or guidance.

When it comes to pricing, there’s the option of the Basic plan. After that, the Starter plan starts at 10.99$ per user per month and the Advanced plan at 24.99$ with the same conditions.

Integrate Asana with Timeular to track time automatically

3. Zoho Invoice

One of the best tools for small businessed, Zoho Invoice is a feature-rich invoicing software, designed particularly for smaller sized businesses.

With its intuitive interface, extensive functionality, and affordability, Zoho Invoice offers a comprehensive solution for managing invoicing and billing processes.

This platform offers customizable templates, automated recurring invoicing, and online payment integration. It makes it convenient for clients to pay invoices, and for businesses to track payments.

Another great feature offered by Zoho Invoice is the possibility of customizing invoice templates with a business’s logo and colors.

While Zoho Invoice offers a user-friendly interface, mastering all its features and settings may require some learning, particularly for users who are new to accounting software.

Another challenge that Zoho has to do with its customer support and the delays in getting assistance, however, Zoho Invoice is one of the free business tools on the market, allowing a free plan.

4. Wave

Wave is an all-in-one financial management small business software created with micro businesses at core.

It offers a comprehensive suite of various tools for small businesses, including accounting, invoicing, receipt scanning, and more.

Wave is one of the best free tools for small businesses with limited budgets, as it gives access to multiple functionalities, among which some are free.

It provides essential features for managing income and expenses, generating financial reports, and tracking cash flow.

It also allows to scan and upload receipts, automatically extracting relevant data for expense tracking. Wave integrates with a wide range of banks.

While it’s incredibly helpful for small businesses for being free, it may not be as scalable or feature-rich as some other accounting software options.

As businesses grow and their financial needs become more complex, they may need to consider alternative solutions.

Using Wave still requires the purchase of add-ons. Invoicing and accounting services are free, add-ons for mobile receipts, or payroll, among others, start at 8$ per month.

5. QuickBooks

An effective RescueTime alternative, QuickBooks is a renowned accounting software that offers a comprehensive range of features tailored specifically for small businesses. With its approach, it has established itself as a trusted and reliable solution.

Offering a very user-friendly interface, one of the key advantages of QuickBooks is that it helps small businesses operate faster due to streamlining their accounting processes.

quick books time keeper app

It simplifies tasks such as invoicing, expense tracking, and financial reporting. It’s quick and easy to create and send professional invoices, track customer payments, and automate recurring billing, which saves you valuable time and effort.

However, it can be among the business tools for users without a background in accounting or bookkeeping. It may take some time to completely master this platform.

When billed annually, prices start at 183.60$ per year, offering a 30-day free trial. If you’re not sure about the investment, it’s possible to go for a monthly plan.

6. ADP

ADP is a provider of human resources and payroll solutions, with a set of services tailored to the needs of small businesses.

It offers a robust platform and advanced features that aim to help small businesses manage and streamline HR processes. As well, it simplifies payroll management and ensures regulations compliance.

Using ADP’s services allows companies to perform payroll services, including payroll processing, tax management, benefits administration, and time and attendance tracking, among others. It offers scalable solutions that can adapt to the evolving needs of businesses.

TIP: Read our post to learn how to calculate payroll hours.

A big plus of ADP, which makes it a great tool, is that as companies grow and the workforce expands, ADP provides flexibility in adjusting the business processes of an organization. It allows adding new employees, adjust benefits, and incorporate additional HR modules.

It’s important to note that ADP’s services may come at a higher cost compared to some other HR and other payroll software solutions.

The cost might be too high for businesses with limited budgets and its integration options with other third-party systems may be limited.

ADP offers four plans for its payroll software but unfortunately, the pricing is not public. The cost is based on the number of employees and the complexity of needs. You can get a quote by completing the pricing form on ADP’s website.

7. Slack

Slack is most probably among the best collaboration tools for small businesses that revolutionized communication in the last couple of years.

This team communication and collaboration platform offers a wide range of features designed to streamline communication in a company, regardless of its size. Though, it’s preferred among organizations with a smaller headcount.

Its real-time messaging feature allows small business teams to communicate and collaborate seamlessly. Users can create channels based on different teams, projects, or topics, making it easy to organize discussions and keep conversations focused.

Another note worthy of mention for Slack is its integration functionality. It integrates with a wide range of third parties. So you’d be able to choose multiple tools to merge it with such as Google Calendar, Google Drive, Hubspot, Jira, and Zoom, among others.

Just like other digital tools, Slack is available on mobile, for both iOS and Android, and on desktop.

Slack’s robust search functionality ensures that important information and past conversations are easily retrievable.

slack

Being loved by many teams worldwide, Slack enhances team collaboration, cooperation and communication. It adds up a sense of flexibility that is beneficial for small businesses with remote or distributed teams.

Hard to believe, but true, as it has such useful features, Slack is a free small business tool, with limited integrations and message history for the free account. Prices for more complete plans start at 8.75$ per user per month.

8. Square

Square is a financial technology company that offers a range of tools and services created for small businesses.

It offers a user-friendly point-of-sale (POS) system, payment processing solutions, and management features.

It’s among the small business tools a tiny organization would need to run its operations and accept payments efficiently.

This tool offers various payment processing solutions, including credit card processing, mobile payments, and online invoicing. It’s also possible to use its inventory management features.

While Square’s basic POS system comes with a free plan, some advanced features and services may come at an additional cost. Customization is also limited with this tool, an aspect that may not be beneficial for some businesses.

There’s a Free plan available, followed by the Plus plan (29 dollars per month) and the Premium plan (custom fees).

9. Google Workspace

Google Workspace’s is one of the most powerful business tools for small businesses. The previous statement is proven by its high adoption: It’s used by 3 billion people, according to Google’s estimates at the end of 2023.

It has a variety of features at an affordable price: Docs, Sheets, Slides, Gmail, Chat, Drive, Meet, Calendar, Jamboard, Keep, and Forms.

With its cloud-based approach and seamless integration, Google Workspace provides small businesses with a powerful set of tools to manage tasks and commitments efficiently.

The Workspace fosters collaboration among team members by providing editing tools with real-time feedback and commenting features.

Google Drive, offers secure cloud storage, enabling small businesses to store and access their files from anywhere, on any device.

Google Workspace for small businesses

All its features and tools allow small businesses to create and edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and schedules within a single ecosystem, increasing efficiency and minimizing the need for third-party software.

It offers flexible pricing plans, allowing businesses to pay only for the number of users they have, making it cost-effective for most small business owners and teams.

For businesses, prices start at around 6$ per user per month. As we mentioned, from here, prices increase according to the different features available and how many participants are to be included in the same project.

Concluding, Google workspace is a versatile environment for small business growth, with high impact.

TIP: Increase business efficiency and profitability by adopting the best Google Calendar time-tracking integration.

10. LivePlan

LivePlan is one of the best small business tools that helps to:

  1. create professional business plans
  2. track business plan progress
  3. make informed strategic decisions.

It simplifies the process of creating a business plan by providing step-by-step guidance and customizable templates.

LivePlan helps small businesses outline their vision, analyze market opportunities and user behavior research, set financial goals, and develop strategies to achieve them.

A tool such as LivePlan is particularly interesting for entrepreneurs or small business owners who may not have extensive experience in business planning, especially when it comes to the financial aspects.

Its financial forecasting tools are also useful for creating detailed projections.

LivePlan provides features to track actual performance against the projected financials, monitoring small businesses’ progress.

However, it’s worth noting that while it offers customizable business plan templates, the range of industry-specific templates may be limited as well as its integration options with other software tools.

LivePlan’s subscriptions start at 20$ per month (Standard), while the Premium plan goes for 40$ per month.

11. BambooHR

BambooHR is among the most utilized small business tools for human resources management.

This tool is designed to streamline HR processes and improve employee management, offering small businesses a centralized platform to manage essential HR functions, such as:

  • employee data management
  • onboarding
  • time-off tracking
  • performance management

The standout feature within BambooHR is its centralized database with employee information, being simple and quick to use. It allows for the inclusion of personal details, employment history, time-off balances, etc.

This removes the pain of handling manual paperwork, clunky spreadsheets or other people management tools.

BambooHR also helps to simplify the onboarding and hiring process, by automating tasks like paperwork, document collection, and policy acknowledgments. However, it doesn’t include built-in payroll processing capabilities.

Pricing for BambooHR is not clear, as the cost may vary based on the number of employees and the desired features. To find out the subscription prices it’s necessary to fill out a form on their website.

12. MailChimp

Mailchimp is a well-known email marketing platform widely used for small businesses to build, manage, and automate email campaigns, is one of the three top marketing tools.

It offers a user-friendly interface and powerful tools, that allow for the creation of email campaigns, as well as the follow-up on their results.

Mailchimp empowers small businesses to connect with their audience, drive engagement, and grow their customer base. Its automation features are what make the difference for a small business.

Personalized email journeys created in the tool help save time and effort by automating repetitive tasks. Such tasks can be welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, or post-purchase follow-ups.

Note: It’s important to mention that an email marketing tool such as Mailchimp is not a customer relationship management platform. An example of a CRM is Hubspot.

Mailchimp allows the segmentation of email subscribers based on various criteria, such as demographics, purchase history, or engagement levels, and provides detailed reporting of these campaigns.

While Mailchimp offers a robust set of features for most small businesses, there may be certain advanced features or integrations that are not available within the platform.

Businesses with specific and complex requirements may need to explore third-party integrations. It’s important to note that deliverability depends on factors such as email list quality, sender reputation, and adherence to anti-spam regulations.

Track time automatically with zero effort

Timeular’s easy and smart experience, paired with its powerful reporting and leave-tracking functionalities, makes time tracking a delight.

Why are small business tools so important?

Business apps and software are crucial for small businesses for several reasons, starting with a very important one:

they are needed to increase efficiency and productivity, to promote growth.

Small businesses often operate with limited resources and manpower, so business tools automate repetitive tasks, streamline workflows, and enhance productivity.

By leveraging the right management tools, an organization can optimize its operations and keep it balanced and thriving.

Business tools such as the ones listed here are also key to helping small businesses survive. Many offer cost-effective solutions that eliminate the need for manual processes or hiring additional staff.

With the right task automation apps you can automate tasks such as accounting, inventory management, or social media marketing, businesses can reduce overhead costs and allocate their resources more strategically (TIP: Find the different resource allocation methods).

The automation of the various processes helps free up time and resources for small business owners and employees. This enables them to focus on strategic initiatives, business development, and nurturing existing and potential customer relationships, fostering growth and success.

Aside from better time and management resources, the business tools you use in your small organization are also extremely valuable when it comes to gathering information. For example:

  • time tracking will guarantee all billable hours are accounted for;
  • accounting platforms help guarantee that taxes and other obligations are paid;
  • marketing tools will aid in building brand awareness (and others such as understanding what social media posts work based on Google analytics etc.) ;
  • a project management tool will ensure your projects are on track, and you’re aware of any bottlenecks;
  • HR tools keep every information about employees, and so on.

The data and insights gathered enable small businesses to adapt their strategies, identify opportunities, and stay ahead in a competitive market.

Small business tools like the ones listed help companies be professional, organized, and efficient organizations.

They can enhance customer experience, streamline customer communication, and deliver high-quality products or services. This image of professionalism can help small businesses compete with larger players in the market.

Billable hours: what are and why they are important for your revenue

If you want to become a pro on billable hours, we advise you to read have a read in our post.

How to choose the best small business tool?

Choosing the best small business tool, software or application involves careful consideration of several factors: needs, ROI, budget, integrations, feedback and recommendations, etc

As always, the first concern must be identifying the business needs. Identify the areas where software can bring the most value and address pain points.

Prioritize your needs based on urgency and importance. Of course, to do this you need a budget. Be realistic about what you can afford while also considering the potential return on investment the software can provide.

The key to keeping functionality at center stage is to look for software that offers the core features you need while also providing room for growth.

Don’t forget to consider the software’s ability to integrate with other tools or systems you currently use or plan to use in the future. Integration can help streamline workflows.

Ask the right questions, namely if the software you choose offers adequate documentation, training resources, and accessible customer support channels.

Reach out to other small business owners in your industry to gather their feedback and recommendations. Word of mouth is many times the best reference.

To make it easier for you, here’s a list of criteria you should consider when choosing your tools:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: As budget constraints are often a concern for small businesses, choosing a free business tool or one at a smaller cost is essential. An example of such a tool is Google Analytics. It can provide valuable insights without needing extra expenses.
  • Scalability: It’s important that your tools can grow with your business. Project management tools, for instance, should be able to handle more complex projects and team sizes without losing functionality.
  • Ease of Use: Tools should be user-friendly and require minimal training. This is particularly true for tools like social media management tools or email marketing platforms, where simplicity can significantly improve efficiency.
  • Integration Capabilities: The ability to integrate with other tools is crucial. For example, a CRM tool should ideally integrate with email platforms or file-sharing systems to streamline workflows.
  • Feature-Rich: Tools should offer a comprehensive set of features that cater to various business needs. For example, optimization tools should provide a range of functionalities from SEO to content optimization.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making: Tools should enable businesses to make informed decisions. Analytics tools for instance, offer insights that can guide marketing and optimization strategies.
  • Accessibility: Cloud-based tools or those that offer mobile support increase accessibility, allowing team members to work efficiently from different locations.

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Conclusion

As a small business owner, you’re aware of the impact a tool can bring, and its vital importance in your organization’s scalability.

The right small business tools can make a significant difference, empowering businesses to overcome challenges, streamline processes, and maximize their potential.

While each tool has its pros and cons, small organizations need to evaluate their specific needs, budget, and scalability requirements before making a decision.

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