Wondering if you have the right tools for running a successful online business? Keep reading to find out!

A somewhat scary fact is that around 50% of small businesses in the U.S. break down due to the lack of productivity and efficiency in the first four years.

We don’t want that to happen to you, do we?

So how do you go about finding the right tools for making your business more productive?

The market’s crammed with all kinds of easily accessible tools for starting your online business. But, the fact is that picking the right ones is almost always a process of trial and error (and quite a bit of torture).

No worries, we’re going to provide you with a list of tried-and-tested tools we’ve handpicked and sampled ourselves.

No longer will you have to agonize over an endless search for the right digital tools.

So, here’s the list, along with tips on how to select the right tool for your business:

1) Accounting Tool – “Xero”

Pricing: $USD 20-40 per month

Xero, one of the leaders in the accounting software category, is an ideal tool for optimizing, simplifying, and managing complex financial projects, as it is the ideal substitute for a well-experienced bookkeeper.

Three main advantages for smaller businesses:

  • Easy Setup: Anyone experienced in small-scale accounting can testify to how troublesome it can be to prepare an efficient working environment and to train employees from scratch. Xero scratches this problem off your endless To-Do list.

 

  • Optimized Transactions: Xero consolidates all transactions into one page, simplifying operations and the transaction process itself. It also offers visual representations (charts, diagrams, etc.) to give you a clearer look into your entire list of transactions.

 

  • Overview: Xero gives you a clear overview of the current state of your business. You’ll be able to decipher quickly what is working for your business and what isn’t.

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Alternatives: MYOB, Wave, Saasu and Freshbooks. Here’s a useful guide on how to choose the right accounting software for your business.

2) Appointment Scheduling – “Book Like A Boss” (BLAB)

Pricing: free-$USD25 per month

BLAB developers believe that entrepreneurship comes with the following advantages and disadvantages:

a) you get to be the boss of your destiny, and;

b) you have to hire a developer and designer for a simple booking page.

But, BLAB has tackled this concept and have created an app which nullifies that disadvantage.

Three main perks of using BLAB for your small business:

  • Multi-practice booking: sells products, books appointments, collects paychecks – all in one page which is both practical and saves money.

 

  • Simple to use for anyone: From weathered businesspeople to musicians and everyone in between, BLAB is the most popular booking software out there because of its versatility.

 

  • Fast and easy setup: In a hurry to start making money? You can get started with BLAB within 10 minutes.

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Alternatives: Calendly, Meetingbird

 

3)Online Automation – “Zapier

Pricing: free-$USD20 per month

Zapier is the big boss when it comes to the automation of tasks for small-to-medium sized businesses around the globe. Its main attribute is that it allows people that have no expertise with tech or coding to automate tasks between online apps.

Create, for example, synchronicity between your Facebook Lead Ads and your Google Sheets so that you can see all of your ads (archived, current, and upcoming) in one spot!

Three advantages for smaller businesses:

  • Free Version: You get to use some of the features on Zapier for free – no need to invest money into something that you’re initially unsure of. (Oh, but trust us! You’ll quickly gain your footing with this tool.)

 

  • No expertise needed: Zero coding, folks. No need for additional training or the added stresses of going through trial and error.

 

  • Versatility: Zapier synchronizes with all of the popular apps with new ones being added to the list on a monthly basis.

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4)Cloud Storage – “Google Drive

Pricing: free for up to 15 GB then $USD9.99 per month

We all know Google Drive is one of the most efficient tools for running a successful online business.

You probably already use its free form for business and nonbusiness activity alike. It’s arguably the best cloud-based storage and syncing tool out there but it still has more beneficial features.

Use it to create, store, and edit/collaborate on your documents, making it ideal for both solo and team projects.

Three self-explanatory advantages for smaller businesses:

  • Plenty of free storage (15 GB)

 

  • Desktop-to-desktop file syncing

 

  • Superb cooperation capabilities for teams

 

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5)Landing Pages – “Leadpages

Pricing: $USD25-48 per month

Leadpages allows you to build a landing page made of a welcoming layout, attractive headline, handsome looks, and email capture within several minutes.

It allows you to test value propositions, webinar headers, and audience response without the hustle of going through a complex site-creating process.

Three advantages for smaller business:

  • Simple use, done in a matter of minutes

 

  • Templates for successful sites

 

  • Useful tests without any additional investment

 

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Alternatives include: OptimizePress, Thrive Leads, Instapages

 

6)Marketing Automation – “ActiveCampaign

Pricing: $USD17-149 per month for 1,000 contacts (Get pricing based on your number of contacts.)

A pure gem in the marketing software world, ActiveCampaign pushes your software to the max with rapidly increasing workflows, user-friendly and intuitive interface, and pointers to help you realize your automation goals.

Three advantages for smaller businesses:

  • Affordable pricing: for only $9 per month you can start using this neat program.

 

  • Interface & Pointers: absolute beginners can easily master ActiveCampaign.

 

  • Zapier integration

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7)Task Manager – “Asana

Pricing: free-$USD9.99 per month

Stagnation in workflow and miscommunications in task management are things that Asana plows through with ease. This is really a flexible tool with delightful dashboard interface and the ability to create/assign/track tasks throughout your team with loads of other useful perks.

Three advantages for smaller businesses:

  • Flexible, simple, powerful

 

  • Packed with features for detailed task-management

 

  • The free version is available for up to 15 members of your team.

 

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Alternatives: Trello, Podio

 

8)Social scheduling – “MissingLettr

Pricing: $USD15/40 per month

MissingLettr has garnered its reputation as a rather competent social media management tool available as a digital software.

The formidable aspects of MissingLettr give reports, metrics, and visual streams for several profiles simultaneously, for all the most popular social media and forms of internet presence.

Each individual blog post can have a 12-month long campaign for each blog post — it is the most focused software of its kind!

Three advantages for smaller businesses:

  • Focus:  MissingLettr allows you to focus on each individual post as a target of its marketing campaigns.

 

  • Pricing: Relative to the advantages it offers, MissingLettr is cost-effective.

 

  • Social media management, analytics, influencer identification, and engagement measures: Yes, all of that!

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Alternatives: Meet Edgar, Hootsuite, Buffer

 

9)Reporting – “Baremetrics

Pricing: $USD50-500 per month

Manually handling piles of complex data ultimately leads to inaccuracies, ineffectiveness, and a lot of other inefficient things you wished you’d taken the time to avoid. Enter Baremetrics, your savior from those nasty troubles!

It deals with metrics related to subscriptions, such as MMR and Customer Lifetime Value. Combining different resources for a unified chart, it is the most effective tool for SaaS-based reporting of all kinds.

Three advantages for smaller businesses:

  • Forecasts: for cash flow, MMR, and the number of your customers

 

  • Tracking all kinds of customer insight

 

  • Direct integration with a vast number of other business tools

 

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Alternatives include: Klipfolio, Cyfe and a few others listed here.

 

10)Live chat – “Intercom

Pricing: ~$USD50-100 per month

Looking for some intelligence on the relationship between your customers the products and services they buy from you? Intercom can easily prove to be just the right thing for your business.

It’s a behavioral and user intelligence assessment tool which has a set goal of improving and having you profit from your communication with your audience. It provides reactive insights and proactive patterns of targeted messages as well as in-apps and behavior-tracked messages.

Three advantages for smaller businesses:

  • Live Info: Track your online visitors’ presence – when they come and go, what they look for, and peak activity times.

 

  • Profiling: Data-packed profiles of your average customers from chosen groups and different categories.

 

  • Triggered messages: Establish the presence of your sites with automated messages and popups to guide and help your customers navigate your page.

 

11) Quick Videos – Loom

Save time typing by recording quick and easy videos using Loom.

There are several use cases for this fantastic tool – our favourite being for team training and quick updates, customer onboarding, sales and client communications.

Loom allows your captured videos to be instantly shared among the members of your team, wherever they are. It represents a blend of info-sharing and visual-providing that can be a quick replacement for both!

Neat, right?

Here’s an example of an actual video recorded in Loom:

Now it’s your turn!

Choose any one of these tools for running a successful online business and watch your productivity and effectiveness skyrocket. You can even give combining a few of the tools a try.

When the operations of your business are running smoothly and your customers are happy, even impressed, you’ll watch your profits boost as well.

Got some tools that you love that aren’t on this list? We’d love to hear about it.

If you would like to join a community of like-minded people helping each other to fast track their business, please check out Build.Live.Give’s Facebook Group.