Useful tech tools every small business owner should use

By Shelbie Watts

As a small business owner, you’re busy. Keeping a pulse on your customer base and tracking revenue and expenses is hard enough, but you also have to maintain employee happiness and productivity. Without the right tools, staying on top of everything is a challenge. 

Luckily plenty of tools are available in our tech-enabled society to help alleviate many of those pain points. From inventory maintenance to team communication, taking advantage of these solutions will save you time and energy, and possibly pad your bottom line. 

We’ve explored five groups of tools and came up with a list of suggestions for you to consider implementing into your business. 

Customer management tools

Larger companies have been using customer relationship management (CRM) tools for years, but now many platforms are offering small business-focused solutions that are inexpensive and robust in features. 

  • VTiger: Offers sales, marketing, and project management features in an affordable package. It also provides a help desk tool where customers can ask you questions.
  • Zoho CRM: Provides many customization options to help growing teams, and even offers AI capabilities to identify qualified leads. 
  • Freshworks: Makes it easy for beginners to get started with many ways to learn the robust platform. 
  • Bitrix24: A great option for businesses who want an affordable solution packed with useful features. 
  • Agile CRM: Notable for its comprehensive marketing capabilities.

Expense automation

Between accounts receivable (what people owe you) and accounts payable (what you owe others), expense management can be time consuming. And we haven’t even gotten to expenses you need to reimburse employees for.

Invoices and expense reports used to have no better home than a folder on your computer—or even worse, in an actual filing cabinet. Recently we’ve seen the rise of a technology called Optical Character Recognition, or put in English—the electronic conversion of typed or handwritten text into machine-encoded text. 

That means you can take the data from your scanned documents and import them into an easy-to-use accounting software. You’ll save time, improve accounting accuracy, and forego the headache-inducing routine of rushing to find pieces of paper. 

  • Freshbooks: Easy-to-use interface that offers a wide range of features, even on their most affordable plan. 
  • Expensify: Team members can track receipts and submit to employers, free for up to 25 scans per month. 
  • Shoebox: A no-fuss option that offers verification by humans to ensure accuracy. 
  • Zoho Expense: Allows you to pin receipts to reports, categorize expenses and add additional data fields. 
  • Concur:Tailored to helping track employee business travel expenses.

Inventory management tools 

Inventory management software frees up your time by tracking items through the supply chain, helping you keep your finances in check and reducing costs. A growing number of cloud-based solutions are now available to small businesses to improve operational workflows and scalability. 

  • inFlow Cloud: Best for budget-conscious retail businesses, this barcode-based inventory tool works with price scanners and can be used for every step of the order management process.
  • MarketMan: Focuses on food and beverage establishments and streamlines procurement, delivery, accounting, and profitability. 
  • Webgility: Provides ecommerce inventory management with product listings to control pricing, product, and profits. 
  • Canvus Stockpile: Free solution that has no user or product limits for simple inventory management.  
  • SalesBinder: Another free solution that provides a robust suite of tools for recording and tracking inventory, as well as CRM capabilities. 

Digital marketing tools 

You don’t need a big budget to market your business these days. Utilizing the power of the internet by connecting with your customers through social media and email campaigns can provide a large return on your small investment. 

If you use a comprehensive tool, you won’t have to worry about putting too much time into a solid online marketing strategy. 

  • Hootsuite: Provides one management platform for all social media channels and allows you to schedule posts for multiple days in one session. 
  • Mailchimp: Email marketing system catered to beginners that lets you email up to 2,000 subscribers for free. 
  • Delivra: Helps generate and manage email campaigns customized to your target audience, offers customizable templates. 
  • Trumpia: SMS automation platform that helps you manage messaging campaigns and communication across all digital channels.
  • KISSMetrics: Analytics tool tailored to small businesses that helps track the activity on your website as well as the success of your digital marketing campaigns. 
  • BuzzSumo: Provides content insights that help you generate ideas, create impactful content, and track your campaign’s performance.

Team management 

A robust team management platform is a necessary solution to running your business as smoothly as possible. Homebase offers a wide range of tech tools that help you schedule shifts, track employee time and performance, and even run payroll. 

You can do all this and more in one easy-to-use dashboard, from wherever you are. 

  • Scheduling: Our easy-to-use tool helps you optimize your schedule, adapt on the fly, and ensure your team is in sync. Once you publish a schedule, your team is instantly notified in text, email, and the app.
  • Time tracking: The smart time clock system lets you track employee hours, prep for payroll, and get control of your labor costs. You’ll even get alerts when team members are late clocking in for their shifts.
  • Communication: Get your team in sync with our built-in messaging system that makes it as easy as possible to stay connected and informed. 
  • Payroll: Homebase automates your payroll process, so you can pay your team in a matter of clicks. We instantly convert your timesheets into hours and wages, taking the pain out of every pay period. 
  • Hiring: In one platform, you can post jobs on the top hiring sites, track applicants, and onboard new employees with ease.
  • HR: We provide expert HR guidance to help you stay compliant and manage your team. You can automate the onboarding process, and even speak with certified HR Pros to get answers to your specific questions.