Running a small business is hard. Don’t make it more challenging by using outdated tools, techniques, and technologies. Here are 53 sanity-preserving cloud-based tools to help you stay focused on what you do best.
The right tools can make a significant difference when you’re running a small business. If you’re still using excel spreadsheets, pdfs, word documents, or worse – pen, paper, filing cabinets, and printers, you’re missing out.
But with so many options for the latest greatest cloud-based tools for productivity, business operations, human resources, and more, it can be challenging to find what’s best for you.
If you’re looking for the best cloud-based tools for you and your team, you are probably an excellent match for Team 80’s remote accounting services. We’ll focus on your accounting so that you can focus on what you’re great at – running your business.
Small business tools and software can help your business be more efficient. And efficiency can help your business earn more dollars.
Cloud-based tools help you collaborate, distribute information, and manage people and processes in real-time securely – no matter where you or your teams do their work.
What are the benefits of using cloud-based software and tools?
It takes a village to run a productive and successful small business. And as our virtual workplaces continue to improve and evolve, small business-specific software and tools can help you scale and see faster positive outcomes by keeping you and your teams happy, productive, organized, and in sync.
There are five primary small business tools and software categories:
- Communication and Collaboration
Cloud-based software for communication and collaboration can improve teamwork and productivity from any location on nearly any device. The tools help your employees improve their communication skills and habits and promote a healthy culture that prioritizes collaboration and engagement. And in an era when employee engagement is down and turnover us up, anything you can do to keep employees happy, loyal, and productive is a win.
Cloud-based tools for productivity help you and your workers stay organized and efficient. Organized, efficient, and productive employees are satisfied and engaged, and, most importantly, they stick around.
Cloud-based marketing software can turn every small business leader into an expert marketer. Today’s marketing software can put your business in front of the right people, in the right places, and at the right time, filling your sales pipeline with qualified leads.
Accounting software keeps your finances on-track and the money flowing without burying you in spreadsheets, payroll, and forecasts.
- Human Resources and Operations
Managing people and operations is difficult for time-strapped small business leaders. HR and Operations-specific cloud-based tools can help keep employees happy and engaged and gives them a self-directed environment to manage their schedules, benefits, and payroll, so you don’t’ have to.
- Communication and Collaboration
Here are our picks for the 53 best cloud-based tools for your small business.
Cloud-Based Collaboration and Communication Tools and Software
- Slack: Slack is a messaging platform for workplaces and teams. The cloud-based collaboration software can be used across devices and platforms and comes with features allowing users to chat one-on-one or in groups. Slack also includes video collaboration so your employees can meet face-to-face.
- Webex Teams: Webex Teams keeps your people connected through file sharing, messaging, whiteboarding, and video and voice calling. It’s a collaboration tool robust enough for enterprise organizations but also perfect for small businesses.
- GSuite: GSuite is Google’s collection of cloud-based applications designed specifically for businesses like yours. GSuite lets you access Gmail on your domain and includes 30 gigabytes of storage for each user, making collaboration easy.
- Zoom: Zoom is a cloud-based video collaboration tool that rose to stardom during the pandemic. Users can collaborate on video in real-time and share and annotate each other’s screens. We also like to use Zoom for live and recorded webinars.
- Jira from Atlassian: Jira is a cloud-based project management tool from the Australian software development company Atlassian. Atlassian initially designed the platform to help developers track software bugs and issues, but it’s evolved into a product family to help teams work together more efficiently.
- Microsoft Teams: Teams is Microsoft’s chat-based collaboration tool. Like Webex Teams, it allows users to share documents and files, conduct virtual meetings, and with additional licensing, Teams can completely replace your existing phone system.
Cloud-Based Productivity Tools and Software
- Evernote: Evernote is an easy-to-use project management application designed for efficient note-taking, archiving, and task management. It lets you create, collect, and organize different media files, storing everything in the cloud instead of on your desktop. We love using Evernote to capture notes and ideas when inspiration strikes.
- Smartsheet: Smartsheet is a SaaS platform designed for small business work management and collaboration. It lets you assign tasks, track project progress, share documents, manage calendars, and more.
- Mavenlink: Mavenlink is an award-winning resource and project management software that helps your small business be more agile and helps you quickly and easily manage resources and projects, with business insights that help you make smarter decisions.
- Monday: Some people call Monday the Swiss Army knife of project management tools. Monday lets you efficiently organize and manage projects and tasks, but that’s not all it does. The cloud-based tool can also be used as your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) and includes easily customizable templates. We love Monday’s calendar integrations that give us daily reminders to help us always stay on track.
- Asana: Asana, like Monday, is a cloud-based SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) project management tool designed to help keep teams organized and collaborating efficiently. It lets you create and assign tasks to specific team members, establish deadlines, and collaborate with in-platform chats and messaging.
- Trello: Trello is another project management and collaboration tool that lets you organize projects into boards and helps you see what’s being worked on, which team members are working on each project, and how close projects are to completion. Imagine taking your whiteboard covered in post-its and transferring it to an easy-to-use digital space – that’s Trello.
- Google Drive: Google Drive is Google’s cloud-based storage solution. Drive allows you to save files and documents online so you can access them from any place on any device. It also allows you to share documents with people inside or outside your organization quickly.
- Dropbox: Dropbox is a cloud-based file sharing service used by both small businesses and enterprise organizations. With Dropbox, you and your employees can save files online and sync them to all your devices. According to Dropbox, the tool helps you “reduce busywork so you can focus on the things that matter.”
- Grammarly: Most people aren’t grammar, spelling, and writing experts. But with Grammarly, a cloud-based spell check and grammar tool on steroids, you’ll never have to worry about sending a professional email with typos or grammatical or spelling errors again. Grammarly even has a Google Chrome extension to edit as you write in Google docs (we used it while writing this blog).
- Front: Front is a customer communication platform combining applications, emails, and teams in one place. The tool includes features that allow you to automate workflows and customer touchpoints and a universal inbox to see people, apps, and emails in a single view. It also includes easy-to-build email templates and helps your people collaborate better so they can help your customers faster.
- Flock: Most small businesses suffer from having their communications spread across ad hoc messages, emails, and other tools. Flock lets you bring people together to collaborate, assign and track tasks, and discuss ideas in one place. It takes the best aspects of the collaboration-specific tools on our list and combines them with project management software capabilities like Asana and Monday, but in one place.
- Todoist: Todoist lets you plan, organize, and collaborate with employees on projects of every size. You can use Todoist to organize your day, manage tasks, schedule reminders, track goals and habits, and quickly add new projects.
Cloud-Based Marketing Tools and Software
- Hubspot: HubSpot is an all-encompassing cloud-based marketing platform and CRM that allows you to build automated workflows, track and create email and social media campaigns, automate social media publishing, and even build websites and landing pages. HubSpot gives small businesses the tools they need to market like a pro, and their support and learning center is second to none.
- Marketo: Marketo helps you market your small business with lead management, consumer marketing, email marketing tools, and more. The software works across multiple digital channels to automate marketing campaigns, and sales lead generation for B2C and B2B small businesses. We love that Marketo lets us gather data about website visitors like pages viewed, time spent on each page, and each customer visit’s date and time.
- Zoho: Zoho is a powerful CRM that acts as a single repository for your marketing, sales, and customer support activities. It’s an excellent tool to streamline your policies, processes, and people in one platform.
- Buffer: Buffer is a cloud-based application for web and mobile that allows you to manage your business social media accounts easily. With Buffer, you can schedule and publish posts from your desktop or phone and analyze metrics to improve social media engagement and reach.
- Sprout Social: Sprout Social is a social media publishing platform that makes it easy to find, manage, schedule, and monitor all of your business social media accounts and campaigns. It also has powerful social listening tools that you can use to monitor competitors and see what’s being said about your business and businesses like yours online. Sprout helps your business build and grow stronger social media relationships.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a cloud-based social media management tool that offers a free version that’s good enough for most small businesses. Publish social media posts like a pro and watch your audience grow.
- Mailchimp: Mailchimp gives your small business everything it needs to build, execute, and manage sophisticated email marketing campaigns. Mailchimp also provides data and analytics so you can monitor email campaign performance and make changes as needed.
- Canva: Canva is an easy-to-use graphic design tool that allows small business owners to create custom graphics for websites, social media, infographics, and more. Here’s the best part, Canva is free.
- FunctionFox: FunctionFox is a web-based project management and timesheet application for creatives and small business marketers. It includes easy-to-use estimates and timesheets, progress and time reports, task management, scheduling, calendars, and more.
- Shutterstock: Most small businesses don’t have photographers on staff to feed them new images for marketing. But with Shutterstock, that’s no problem. Shutterstock lets you choose from millions of images, and with multiple packages and price points, you can get all the stock photos you need without breaking the bank.
- Hashtagify: If you want your small business to succeed on social media, you need to use hashtags that have the right impact. Hashtagify allows you to search and compare relevant hashtags, so your social media marketing is always on-point.
Cloud-Based Accounting Tools and Software
If you’re considering cloud-based accounting tools, we’d love for you to consider Team 80 to handle your accounting needs. Not only do you get a Colorado based accountant to help keep your books in order and review your outlook, but some of the tools below are included with our services at no additional fee. Contact us today for your free assessment to find out if Team 80 can save you time and money.
- Xero: Xero is one of the tools we include for our clients with our Team 80 services and earns our strongest endorsement. Many small business owners are love Xero for its data import, reconciliation features, sales and purchase transactions, and project tracking. It’s also easy to set-up and use, which is always attractive to small business leaders. Like all others on our list, the software lives in the cloud, so it’s accessible from any location at any time, from almost any device. Included for free with Team 80’s services.
- QuickBooks: Intuit Quickbooks is one of the most popular online accounting tools for small businesses. Its depth, extensibility, flexibility, and simple functionality makes accounting easy for time-strapped small business owners and leaders.
- Plooto: Plooto gives small business owners an affordable cloud-based tool that makes managing accounts payable and accounts receivable streamlined and efficient. Plooto provides end-to-end AP and AR automation, and their secure electronic payments and smart approval workflows expedite your accounts payable process.
- FreshBooks: FreshBooks is a well-rounded and intuitive double-entry accounting experience that supports estimates and invoices, as well as expenses, time management, and projects.
- Wave: Wave is a free cloud-based accounting tool that’s excellent for small businesses like yours. Wave features reconciliation tools, cash basis reporting, tools for banking, payroll, and more.
- Sage50Cloud: Sage50Cloud is a small business-specific desktop accounting software that brings together financial tools with comprehensive customization options. Its integration with Microsoft 365 sets Sage50Cloud apart from its competitors. Here’s the downside, Sage50Cloud is only available for Windows machines.
- Zoho Books: Zoho Books is an excellent choice for small business leaders and founders on the hunt for cloud-based accounting software. The platform has an exceptional user experience, a rich toolset, and Zoho Books is reasonably priced.
- GoDaddy Bookkeeping: GoDaddy Bookkeeping has a direct Amazon, Paypal, eBay, and Etsy integration, so it’s excellent for small business entrepreneurs. It’s inexpensive, has a decent dashboard and invoicing tools, and calculates quarterly tax estimates.
- Sunrise: Sunrise is cloud-based small business accounting software that includes double-entry accounting, an excellent dashboard and user experience, decent sales form handling, Gusto and Zapier integrations, sales tax rulesets and a transaction timeline.
- Kashoo: Kashoo is the last on our list of cloud-based accounting tools and software, but that doesn’t mean it’s less useful than the preceding platforms. Kashoo has a clean and straightforward user interface (UI), excellent income and expense management capabilities, free email, phone, and chat support, and the platform integrates with SurePayroll. Kashoo simplifies small business accounting.
Cloud-Based Human Resources and Operations Tools and Software
- SentricHR: Small business leaders and founders are often mired in manual HR processes, spreadsheets, and paper. SentricHR’s excellent user interface and customizable dashboards make managing people and payroll easy and allow your HR department to go completely paperless. The cloud-based HR software offers core HRIS (Human Resources Information Systems) features, like benefits administration, hiring and onboarding, payroll, time and attendance, expense management, and more.
- Gusto: Gusto offers similar features to SentricHR but at a lower price point. It’s easy and straightforward with a clean user interface and includes payroll processing, benefits administration, employee hiring and onboarding, time and attendance, and more. Included with Team 80’s services.
- Paylocity: Paylocity provides cloud-based payroll services and HR software for small businesses like yours. Paylocity includes core HRIS features as well as tools for employee recruiting.
- Zenefits: Zenefits is a people operations management platform in the cloud and offers all the Human Resources tools your business needs to stay compliant. The software provides an excellent user experience and dashboards, along with tools for hiring, onboarding, payroll processing, benefits administration, and more.
- Bamboo HR: Bamboo HR is an HRIS designed with small businesses like yours in mind. The intuitive and easy-to-use platform makes managing people and staying compliant easy so that you can focus on your business.
- Namely: Namely is another cloud-based HRIS that offers similar features to the others on our list: benefits administration, payroll, time and attendance, employee onboarding, talent management, and more.
- Netsuite: Netsuite is a cloud-based software that makes it easy for small business founders and leaders to manage essential business operations from a single platform. Netsuite has CRM, ERP, and even eCommerce tools, making it valuable for small to medium-sized businesses.
- Zendesk: Zendesk is a cloud-based support ticketing platform that helps you efficiently track and solve customer support tickets. Zendesk helps small businesses like yours improve customer relationships and experiences with responsive and personalized support across every channel.
- DocuSign: DocuSign is a cloud-based software that allows small businesses to securely sign and approve documents digitally, from any location on practically any device. DocuSign is an essential tool if your small business runs on agreements and contracts.
- HelloSign: HelloSign is a tool in the cloud that allows you to request and add legally binding signatures to any document electronically.
- 15Five: 15Five is a cloud-based performance management software that helps you uncover employee pain points so you can make better decisions and drive sustainable growth. The tool gives you visibility into managers’ practices and helps them become better leaders through improved emotional intelligence (EQ).
- LinkedIn Recruiter: You need to recruit and retain top talent to beat out your competitors. As the number one professional networking social media platform, LinkedIn has access to a global talent pool. LinkedIn Recruiter is their talent search tool that helps you find and engage your small business’s best people.
- AngelList: AngelList is a powerful recruiting tool for small businesses and startups and an angel investment platform. More than 30,000 of the world’s most successful startups built their teams with help from AngelList.
- Help Scout: Help Scout is a customer service support tool in the cloud designed to support and convert small business customers. The software provides multi-channel support and includes chat and email, with self-service tools for activity and data to ensure an excellent customer experience.
Stop wasting time managing the little details that keep you from doing what you do best. Level-up in 2021; get in touch today to learn more.