Starting a small business is a lot of work, and staying organized is key to success.
Many entrepreneurs work their small business as a second or third job. Regardless if your small business is your main or secondary income stream, how can you make each minute of work count to the fullest? Our blog today will answer this by showing the tools that Boson uses to take care of business!
In order from least to most expensive:
Tasks organization: Trello – $0 to $8.33/user/month (when signing up annually)
This wonderful and simple app is brilliant for keeping track of tasks and “to-do” items. There is a free version that includes nearly full functionality, and a paid version that adds a few minor features. The ways to organize tasks or clients is nearly limitless with their “boards” system. Just create a board, add a description, attachments, tag colleagues, and start working! Adding additional labels makes organizing even easier. Trello also features powerful “power-ups” and a great mobile app for further expansion, and also has a business-class that integrates with tools like Slack, SalesForce, or Evernote.
Productivity: Slack – $0 to $12.50/user/month (when signing up annually)
Slack is another amazing tool that has nearly full features in their free version. The reason for this tool is to cut down on internal email, and we find this to be true. It helps us stay organized by requesting tasks and keeping communications within the appropriate channels. Paid versions include unlimited message viewability (free version is limited to 10,000 messages) and increased security and authentication protocol. This tool has integrations with other tools, just like Trello.
Email: Gmail – $0 to $10/user/month
We put this as third most important because the previous two tools we recommend using the free versions. For Gmail, we HIGHLY recommend instead using Google Apps for Work, starting at $5/user/month. The free version of Gmail uses the @gmail.com domain name, while the paid version allows you to use your domain (email@example.com for example). As a small business, one the least expensive ways to build your brand and establish yourself as a legitimate business is by using a email with your own domain name. Using a person email extension like @gmail.com, @yahoo.com or @outlook.com makes your business look inexperienced and not professional. Google Apps-based email is a very cheap and easy way to create a professional, secure, organized and spam-free email system for your small business.
File Sharing: Google Drive – $0 to $299/user/month
Included with Google Apps for Work is 30GB of storage with Google Drive. We know many clients who use Dropbox, which is also a great solution, but we find the integration with Gmail, and the ease of file sharing to be superior. And just like Dropbox, Google Drive has fantastic mobile and desktop integrations that we think are very helpful. This tool also allows for internal document editing through Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets, and also two newer tools called Google Forms (redesigned) and Drawings. This means that you can login to your drive from anywhere and edit your documents within the browser. There are also great integration abilities with many different third-party apps on Google Drive.
Accounting: Quickbooks Online – $9.99-$39.95 per month, but make sure and look for promotional pricing!
Quickbooks has long been the standard of small business accounting software. We have found the most recent iterations of their Online version are far less cumbersome and far easier to learn than the desktop version. There is also a portal to give access to a bookkeeper or CPA for easier tax prep and reconciling. Our company has been using this software since day 1 for invoicing and tracking expenses. There is indeed a learning curve when categorizing expenses, and it does take some time to input customer data initially, but this tool overall had been an excellent resource for our company and I highly recommend it for any small business.
CRM and Market Automation: Infusionsoft – $199-$599/month
While not necessary for all companies, a CRM solution can be vital for your small business (check out our previous blog detailing the importance of a CRM solution!) While this pricing may seem steep, we find that Infusionsoft’s flexibility and powerful features give a strong value-add for our business. Email marketing, sales automation, and a CRM are just a few of the features that Infusionsoft has at the ready. If you would like to learn more about this software, you can checkout a demo here.
Milanote is a tool for organizing creative projects into beautiful visual boards. By design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.
– Write notes & to-do lists, upload images & files and save things you find on the web
– Organize visually using the flexible drag and drop interface.
– Boards by default are a private place to think, but with a single click you can create a shared workspace for collaboration with your team
– Milanote is filled with hundreds of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a mood board to writing that perfect creative brief.
– Free version available with no time limit.
– PRO version $9.99 per month (monthly and annual plans)