7 Handy (& Inexpensive) Tools to Help Your Business Thrive
We tested lots of products so you don’t have to!
One of the best things about running a business in 2017? The tools. Thousands of websites and apps designed to help your business save time, money, and sanity. But in this sea of options, which products measure up? We’ve clicked and tapped and tested a lot of tools and here are the gems we use on a regular basis.
Use for: Project management, communication
Project management tools are like underwear—you’ve got to try a lot of them before you find the right fit. Asana is the comfy, unrestrictive project management tool we’ve always dreamed of. Enter a project, set a schedule, assign tasks and sub-tasks, communicate with employees and clients about the project, automate reminders, store files, and much more.
Our favorite feature: The Dashboard page. It gives you a high-level view of your team’s progress on each project.
Pricing: Basic: Free, Premium: $8 per mo
Use for: Contracts and other secure signed documents
Have you ever been emailed a document that required your signature and gotten annoyed by how much time it took to print the document, sign it, scan it, email it back, and confirm that the sender received it? We have too. Don’t even get us started on documents that require multiple signatures. (Screams into a pillow.) Thanks to HelloSign, you’ll never have to go through that mess again. HelloSign lets you securely send and receive signed documents with you and/or your recipients jotting your e-John Hancocks on the e-document.
Our favorite features: Bank level security, integration with Gmail and Google Drive
Pricing: Free, Pro: $13 per mo, Business: $40 per mo
Use for: Data back-up
Every business needs a back-up plan. We don’t mean a Plan B, we literally mean a plan for backing up your files. Backblaze is a set-it-and-forget-it online back-up solution with military grade security. There are no data size limits and the back-up is continuous and automatic.
Our favorite feature: If your computer is stolen, the “Locate My Computer” function will detect the IP address of your machine the next time it’s online and provide a map right to the location of use. Thankfully though, we haven’t had to use that feature!
Pricing: $50 per year per computer
Use for: Tracking mileage
When your car starts moving, this app starts tracking your trip automatically. (As long as you’ve got your phone with you.) When you’ve reached your destination, tracking stops automatically. To designate whether your trip was for business or pleasure, swipe right or left. Easily add parking expenses and toll costs with a few taps. If you work standard 9-to-5 hours, you can even set Mile IQ to ignore any car trips taken while you’re off work. Easy breezy!
Our favorite feature: The reporting function lets you generate monthly or yearly reports and saves the report as a PDF or .csv file. Your company’s Accounting Department will LOVE you!
Pricing: Free up to 40 drives per mo, Unlimited drives for $5.99 per mo or $59.99 per year
Use for: Creating and sending surveys
Collect data to make informed decisions about your employees, your customers, and even prospects. With SurveyMonkey’s user-friendly interface and helpful tools, even statistical neophytes (beginners) can build effective polls and surveys. Integrate with MailChimp, Eventbrite, Salesforce, Marketo and more to reach existing customers and prospect lists.
Our favorite features: The ability to offer a single survey in different mediums. For example, we embedded a survey on our website and also emailed the survey to our customer list. Design tools that let us style our surveys for brand consistency.
Pricing: Free, Select: $26 per mo, Gold: $25 per mo per user, Platinum: $85 per mo per user
Use for: Accounting, invoicing/payments, tracking expenses
Quickbooks is a great tool with extensive functionality, making it perfect for businesses with any type of accounting needs. Quickbooks is very easy to learn and it has an app which makes tracking very quick! You’ll be creating invoices and pulling reports within minutes. The invoicing feature makes any business look professional with the branded templates that allow you to insert your own brand and colors. You can track expenses and employee time, accept credit and debit card payments (as well as ACH bank transfers), and download reports into Excel.
Our favorite feature: The app. It’s excellent. It actually makes accounting kind of fun. Kind of.
Pricing: Independent Contractor: $5 per mo, Simple Start: $10 per mo, Essentials: $21 per mo, Plus: $28 per mo
Use for: Storing and sharing files
You may already be one of Dropbox’s 500 million users. If you’re not, you should be, especially if you or members of your team telecommute. Dropbox is especially useful for people/companies who frequently send large files to each other and to clients—files that are too large to send over email or require heightened security.
Our favorite feature: Having the option to password-protect files and/or set them to expire
Pricing: Dropbox Basic: Free, Dropbox Pro: $9.99 per mo or $99.00 per year, Business Pro: $8.25 per user per mo, Business for Teams: $12.50 per use per mo
Do you have a favorite time-saving app or service you’d like to share?
If so, get in touch with us here!
We’d love to share your story in a future post.