30 must-have tools for successful small businesses (by category)

Having spent nearly two decades guiding over 60,000 individuals on the path to their richest lives, I understand that running a successful small business is one vital part of that journey. 

Today, I’m sharing a curated list of 30 tried and tested tools for small business owners, from productivity and project management to marketing and finance. These solutions can empower you to save time, increase efficiency, and potentially reduce operational costs. 

Let’s dive in and explore how these tools can help you achieve your business goals!

Table of Contents

Accounting Software


QuickBooks empowers business owners to do meticulous record-keeping and comprehensive reporting. When leveraged well, this tool can save you time, boost efficiency, and potentially cut operational costs. How?

First, QuickBooks allows you to effortlessly track income and expenses, categorize transactions, and create comprehensive financial reports, giving you a clear view of your business’s financial health. This means no more rifling through piles of receipts or wrestling with complicated spreadsheets!

Second, QuickBooks helps you save time by simplifying the tedious task of generating and sending invoices to clients with just a few clicks. It also helps you stay on top of your cash flow, alerting you to overdue payments and providing insights on your outstanding invoices. In essence, it streamlines your entire billing process.

Third, QuickBooks has built-in payroll features. This allows you to take your payroll in-house and eliminate the need for costly payroll services. Additionally, it can reduce the expenses associated with preprinted checks and extensive accountant hours.

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Xero, often considered the QuickBooks alternative, is a great choice for businesses in need of a top-tier accounting system. While QuickBooks is a solid option, Xero brings its own set of powerful features.

What makes Xero shine is its ability to accelerate and streamline your processes, providing you with unparalleled efficiency. From invoicing to bank reconciliation, Xero simplifies complex financial tasks, allowing you to spend less time on paperwork and more time growing your business. Its user-friendly interface is a breath of fresh air, making accounting tasks comprehensible even for those without a financial background.

Xero is not just about making your work easier; it’s about saving you money. With Xero, you can potentially reduce operational costs significantly — up to $18,000+ annually!

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software


Salesforce, often recognized as a powerhouse for enterprise-level operations, might seem like overkill for small businesses, but it can be the best thing you’ll ever invest in.

Salesforce is a dynamic platform that can redefine how small businesses operate. It’s a robust tool that streamlines operations, strengthens customer relationships, and propels growth. Consider it not as an expense but as an investment in efficiency and competitiveness.

Salesforce is one of the most cost-effective CRM tools for small businesses. It centralizes data, automates tasks, and delivers personalized experiences. The result? A significant boost in efficiency and a considerable reduction in operational costs. 

According to industry statistics, businesses implementing Salesforce CRM have been able to close 30% more deals, reduce the sales cycle by 18%, and save 14% of admin time. This makes Salesforce key in making your business more agile and responsive, as well as gain a competitive edge in your industry.

HubSpot CRM 

Imagine having all your customer data seamlessly managed in one place, saving you not just time but headaches, too. HubSpot CRM does just that. It’s a comprehensive platform that simplifies your marketing, sales, and customer service tasks — a real game-changer that builds on efficiency and focus.

HubSpot CRM automates marketing, tracks customer interactions, and helps you nurture leads with ease. Whether you opt for the free plan or the $45 monthly investment, HubSpot is a strategic choice for small businesses looking to manage prospects and customers effectively without breaking the bank. 

Project Management Tools


At its core, Asana simplifies the complex world of task management and collaboration. It’s like having a virtual project manager, ensuring your teams are organized, meet deadlines, and communicate effectively.

Asana streamlines project tracking, empowering your teams to work smarter, not harder. Productivity soars, errors drop, and teamwork becomes a breeze. Plus, the efficiency gained through Asana’s scalable approach translates to significant cost savings. 

In fact, managers using Asana report an average of 56.9% completed planned tasks each week  — the highest task completion rate compared to other project management platforms. This means that businesses save more money since Asana helps them cut back hours’ worth of weekly labor costs.


For small businesses, staying organized and boosting efficiency are like golden tickets to success, and Trello is your key to unlocking them.

Trello is a visual tool that helps your team track any project, task, or workflow with ease. It allows you to see the big picture and all the nitty-gritty details, making sure nothing falls through the cracks. With this project management tool, you can streamline tasks, promote collaboration, and ultimately supercharge productivity. 

Email Marketing Software


If you’re in the eCommerce game or you’re a marketer aiming to create powerful email content, Mailchimp is your go-to tool. With Mailchimp, you can reach your customers more effectively, engage them like never before, and watch your small business thrive. 

Mailchimp also saves you hours every week by helping you automate key email marketing tasks, such as managing two types of users at once. Imagine what you could do with that time — focus on strategy, dive into customer relationships, or just enjoy a little more work-life balance.

The power of Mailchimp doesn’t stop at email campaigns though. It has user-friendly tools for website analytics, too. 

Constant Contact

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the complexities of email marketing and online surveys, Constant Contact is here to simplify customer relationships.

Just like Mailchimp, Constant Contact understands that efficient communication is at the heart of a thriving small business. It’s not just about sending emails but about managing customer communications with finesse, promoting your products or services, and ultimately, boosting those sales figures. 

And the best part? You don’t need a PhD in marketing to make it work for you.

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Website Builders


For small businesses, establishing a robust online presence is crucial. That’s where WordPress shines. It simplifies the tedious task of website creation and maintenance. With a user-friendly interface and an extensive ecosystem of plugins, it becomes a Swiss Army knife for your online presence.

What makes WordPress great is its customization capabilities. It allows businesses to fine-tune their websites’ design and functionality to their exact specifications, creating an online hub that reflects their brand’s unique identity. This means that managing your website becomes not just efficient but also highly cost-effective.

WordPress is a master in content management. It empowers businesses to publish high-quality content effortlessly, a key aspect of attracting and retaining customers. In addition, it offers tools to manage leads effectively, saving precious time and streamlining your marketing efforts.


At its core, Webflow is about empowering small businesses to build and manage their online presence without the need for extensive coding expertise. It’s a godsend for those who want complete control over their website’s design elements, from colors to fonts, buttons, and placements — you name it!

Webflow helps you craft a digital storefront that resonates with your brand. The efficiency gained from having a platform that seamlessly integrates design and functionality is invaluable.

Social Media Management Tools


Picture this: all your content organized in one place, ready to be scheduled and posted across all platforms without the need to juggle between different apps and tabs. Not only does Hootsuite help you boost efficiency, it also helps you reclaim those countless hours spent on manual posting.

Hootsuite’s automation tools seamlessly integrate with your content calendar, turning what would be hours of manual work into a few clicks. If you’re ready to revolutionize your social media game while saving time and costs, make Hootsuite your go-to.

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Buffer is a platform that not only simplifies but elevates your social media game. How? By offering automation services that make building an organic audience a breeze. No more drowning in the sea of manual posts and updates — Buffer is your shortcut to a robust online presence.

But the cherry on top? It’s the gift of time. Thanks to its automation framework that takes time-consuming tasks (like scheduling, publishing, and analyzing your posts) off your hands, you’re looking at approximately 84 hours per year saved on social media management. 

Communication and Collaboration


Slack is like the central hub of your business operations. While it’s a lifeline for remote teams, brick-and-mortar businesses can harness its power as well. With Slack, you’re not just managing messages but also streamlining team collaboration and supercharging business productivity.

Slack offers real-time messaging, file sharing, and a structured environment for project management. That means your teams can communicate seamlessly, share vital files instantly, and keep project workflows organized and on track no matter where in the world they may be. 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a virtual workspace where your team can chat, hold video conferences, and collaborate on documents — all in one place. No more drowning in endless email threads or searching for that elusive file. Microsoft Teams brings everything together, reducing clutter and streamlining your communication.

Practical benefits? Plenty. It simplifies project management by centralizing discussions and updates. Need to share a file? No problem: just drag and drop! 

With Teams, you’re not just saving time but also cutting down on operational costs tied to scattered emails and disjointed workflows.

Inventory Management Software

Zoho Inventory

Imagine an all-in-one software suite designed to make your inventory management a breeze. Zoho Inventory is the tool that helps you cut through the chaos, boost productivity, and compete effectively in the digital age. 

From tracking stock levels to managing orders and handling invoices, Zoho Inventory does it all. That’s why it earns a spot as one of my favorite cost-effective inventory tracking systems for small businesses.


TradeGecko is an advanced inventory and order management software designed with the unique needs of online businesses in mind. Managing inventory can be a nightmare, but TradeGecko turns it into a streamlined process, ensuring you never face stock-outs or the headache of overstocking again.

In a nutshell, TradeGecko helps you reach your growth goals in a sustainable way. It saves you time, increases efficiency, and potentially reduces operational costs by keeping your inventory optimized and your orders flowing seamlessly.

Point of Sale (POS) Systems

Square POS

Imagine having the ability to make informed decisions at your fingertips, all while improving customer service and boosting your revenue. All this is possible with Square POS.

This tool simplifies the complex world of payment processing, turning it into a seamless experience for businesses. Beyond just handling payments, it’s a powerhouse for streamlining inventory management and sales tracking. 

But here’s the real kicker: Square POS can help you save a whopping 12 hours per week per staff, 57% fewer voids due to out-of-stock items, and ​​35% fewer refunds.

Shopify POS

Shopify POS streamlines the sales process, making it a breeze to manage your business’s transactions, whether they’re happening in the store around the corner or in the digital realm.

It works by simplifying complex sales operations, helping small businesses save crucial time and serve their customers better. If you’re looking for smooth sales management, reduced operational hassles, and higher customer satisfaction, Shopify POS is for you.

Payment Processing


At its core, Stripe simplifies the way businesses accept payments from customers. That means you spend less time fretting about payment processing and more time doing what you do best: running your small business.

Stripe really shines for those businesses that work with subscription models and rely on recurring payments. It’s like having a payment assistant that handles the nitty-gritty details of customer payments, so you don’t have to. 

With Stripe, it’s all about increasing efficiency. And as we all know, in the world of small business, efficiency often translates to savings.


Wise has made its name by making international transactions way more affordable for small businesses. No more getting hit by hidden fees or unfair exchange rates! With Wise, you’ll be singing “money, money, money” because it keeps more of it in your pocket.

Here’s how it works: Pretend you need to pay an overseas supplier or receive payments from international customers. Those traditional banks can be downright greedy with their exchange rate markups and sneaky fees. 

Wise is the opposite. It’s transparent and gives you the real exchange rate, no funny business. And it costs a fraction of what the big banks would charge. I’m talking about savings of up to 8 times compared to the old-school banking giants! That’s cash you can reinvest in your business or just tuck away for a rainy day.

Customer Support and Helpdesk


Say your customer has a question, a concern, or just wants to shower you with praise. Zendesk swoops in, streamlining your customer support so fast it’ll make your head spin. Response times? Blink, and you’re done.

When your clients feel heard, valued, and, most importantly, swiftly attended to, they go from being mere customers to becoming raving fans. Zendesk helps you cultivate a customer base that not only sticks around but also grows with you. 


Freshdesk is all about speed, expediting responses and resolutions with lightning efficiency. With Freshdesk, you don’t just answer questions — you answer them faster.

Freshdesk’s goal is to build a loyal customer base. When competition is fierce, keeping your customers happy is a must. Freshdesk empowers your business to do just that, making your customers feel valued, heard, and, most importantly, taken care of.

Marketing Analytics

Google Analytics

In a world of countless digital interactions, understanding what’s working and what’s not is how small businesses can get ahead. Google Analytics takes the guesswork out of your online efforts. It saves you time by providing insights that would otherwise require a small army of analysts.

Small businesses often operate on razor-thin margins. Google Analytics helps you make decisions rooted in hard data, meaning your efforts are precise, your marketing is efficient, and your operational costs are minimal. 

In simple terms, data may be king in the online world but it’s all about what you do with it. Google Analytics ensures that your online presence is finely tuned for success. 

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If you’ve ever wondered how you can master the complexities of SEO and get your business noticed online, then Ahrefs is what you need.

These days, just having a website won’t cut it. You need to stand out in a sea of equally compelling online content. Ahrefs simplifies SEO, demystifying the process of making your business rank higher in search results, attract organic traffic, and truly establish its online presence.

With Ahrefs, you can build on your strategy. Ahrefs gives you the dashboards you need to see how your website content is performing. It helps you understand what’s working, what’s not, and where you can optimize. This kind of insight is invaluable for small businesses, saving you time and effort by directing your focus where it truly matters.

Remember, when it comes to SEO, it’s the informed decisions that make the difference. By simplifying the process, Ahrefs empowers you to make the right moves.

HR and Payroll Software


The days of slogging through endless paperwork and worrying about whether you’re in compliance with tax regulations are over. With Gusto, you can breathe easy. This nifty tool takes care of payroll and HR tasks like a pro, ensuring that you’re on the right side of the taxman and drastically reducing the risk of those costly, hair-pulling errors.

Gusto is your personal admin assistant. It automates the nitty-gritty, so you don’t have to. Payroll, tax filing, and benefits management? Check, check, and check. 

No more juggling spreadsheets, no more late-night tax panic sessions. Gusto simplifies your life, saves you time, and makes sure your small business keeps on running smoothly instead of getting tangled up in paperwork.


Imagine having all your employee data neatly centralized, effortlessly ensuring compliance, accuracy, and legal adherence. That’s what BambooHR can give you. No more rifling through piles of paperwork or worrying about whether you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

Employee onboarding can be a headache, but not with BambooHR. It automates the process, streamlining those crucial first days for your new team members. Time tracking? Check. Leave management? Double-check. BambooHR handles the small details so you can focus on reaching your business goals.

Cybersecurity Tools

Norton Small Business

Norton Small Business shields against cyber threats, viruses, and pesky malware attacks that can wreak havoc on your operations. It’s like having a virtual security detail that doesn’t sleep, taking the protection of your business data as seriously as you do.

With Norton Small Business, you don’t just secure your valuable data, you also safeguard your time and sanity. You can work without worry, knowing that your business is protected from unexpected downtime and costly data breaches.


Ah, passwords. Remembering them, resetting them, and ensuring they’re secure can be a real headache. Lucky for you, LastPass streamlines your login process by keeping all your passwords in one secure place.

No more fumbling through a myriad of passwords. It’s a digital key that unlocks the door to your accounts with a single click. LastPass ensures only the right eyes see what they need to see. 

Unauthorized access? Not on LastPass’s watch!

Cloud Storage and Backup


Think of Dropbox as your cabinet in the cloud where you can store your files, accessible from anywhere. No more cluttered desktops, no more missing files, just organized digital spaces.

Beyond that, Dropbox enables streamlined collaboration. No more email attachments that get lost in the void. With Dropbox, you and your team can access, edit, and share files in real time. It’s like a digital conference room where everyone’s on the same page, reducing the dreaded version control chaos and improving client interactions.


Imagine your business data safeguarded against the unpredictable chaos of hardware hiccups, accidental deletions, or the dreaded “uh-oh, where did it go?” scenario. That’s where Backblaze shines.

This cost-effective solution automatically backs up your computer’s data while you’re hard at work without skimping on security or performance. It’s also as user-friendly as your favorite smartphone app. No tech wizardry required! You set it and forget it, and it goes to work, diligently backing up your data. That’s precious time back in your day and potentially lower costs by avoiding expensive data recovery services.

Even better, Backblaze can cater to a wide range of users and scenarios. Whether you’re a solopreneur, a startup on a shoestring budget, or a growing business with expanding data needs, Backblaze has your back.


Why do you need small business tools and software?

Small business tools and software streamline operations, automate tasks, and improve efficiency, allowing you to focus on growth and strategy. They help manage finances, customer relations, and daily tasks effectively, essential for scaling and maintaining competitive edge.

What are the benefits of small business tools and software?

These tools boost efficiency, provide valuable insights, enhance professionalism, and improve organization. Automation reduces manual effort, while analytics guide decision-making. They help maintain consistent communication and manage operations smoothly, crucial for business success.

What tools for small businesses are essential for beginners?

For beginners, essential tools include accounting software (like QuickBooks), customer relationship management (CRM) systems (like Salesforce or HubSpot), project management apps (like Trello or Asana), and marketing tools for email campaigns and social media management. These foundational tools support key business operations, setting a solid groundwork for growth.

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Written by

Host of Netflix's "How to Get Rich", NYT Bestselling Author & host of the hit I Will Teach You To Be Rich Podcast. For over 20 years, Ramit has been sharing proven strategies to help people like you take control of their money and live a Rich Life.