Written by: Daniel Driggs | Best Company Editorial Team
Last Updated: February 24th, 2020
Each decision that supervisors, team leaders, or CEOs make drastically affects the company’s entire ecosystem. A leader should research and test each decision before choosing to move forward. This step is crucial for a company to thrive in competitive markets.
We asked CEOs, managers, and leaders about the tools and software that have proven to work for them. Here, these representatives share valuable insights and explain the benefits of using the most up-to-date tools and software in the following categories:
- Finance tracking
- Time management
- Communication platforms
- Review generators
- Social media
- Website design
- Work on the go
- Subscription-based services
- Human resources
Precise accounting is essential for any business’s success. Fortunately, there are some great software options designed to help small businesses tracking their expenses, prepare tax statements, project earnings, and more.
- Better tax returns
- Safe and easy to use
- High-level encryption security
Average cost: $5-$60 a month
Suggested software: Divvy, Quickbooks, Expensify
Expense management software
Expense management software often doubles as accounting software. This software helps track whenever an employee takes a client out to lunch, your HR representative buys something for the company or any other expense. It makes reimbursement simple and helps you keep an eye on your company's bottom line.
- Access to accounting software
- Track and understand companies expenses
- Reimburse employees for expenses with one tap
Average cost: $5-$60 a month
Suggested software: Divvy, Expensify, Taxbot, The Neat Company, Zoho, Freshbooks
Contributing experts: Nate Masterson, Nilesh Kadivar, Ellie Thompson, Kraig Martin, Josh Rubin, Jason Granger, Carlo Borja, John Hill, Emily Morgan, Vartika Kashyap, Ryan Underwood, Hamna Amjad, Mike Pearson, Ben Aston, Jeff Butler, and Smith.
According to Brian Tracy, “every minute spent in planning saves as many as ten minutes in execution.” These tools increase productivity, maximize resources, and foster organization.
- Simple to use
- Saves time and energy
- If wanted, clients can schedule an appointment without contacting you directly
Average cost: $5-$15 a month
Suggested tools: Calendly, SimplyBook.me, 10-8, and Checkfront
Time is money and money is time. These tools track where your employees are spending their time and making sure they are not wasting it on social media, texting, or anything else non work related.
- Save money
- Keep workers motivated
- See what areas individuals are spending the most time and how to optimize that task/assignment
Average cost: $5-15 a month
Suggested tools: Harvest, Hubstaff, TimeDoctor, Toggl
Most companies have several projects running simultaneously. Keeping track of all of them can be almost impossible. When companies struggle with managing their projects and tasks, using a project management tool is essential.
- Organize tasks, assignments, and projects in one place
- Build teamwork within the company by connecting tasks and assignments
- Help manage your company’s focus and energy to work in a more unified and clear direction
Average cost: $5-$99 a month
Suggested tools: Trello, Basecamp, Proofhub, TeamGantt, Wrike, Monday, ProofHub, Teamwork, AirTable, Asana, IFTTT (if this then that)
Internal communication platforms
Communication within a company is essential to ensure that employees are on the same page and working together towards a specific goal. Internal communication platforms allow teams to communicate about specific projects, get information quickly to the entire company, and allow employees to reach out to leaders about questions and concerns.
- Better unity on projects and assignments
- Team building
- Greater accountability by employees
Average cost: $8-$15 per month
Suggested platforms: Asana, Slack, Logo Design Guru
External communication platforms — VoIP, VR Headsets, etc.
Many companies are trying new methods to communicate with clients. Virtual reality headsets are 2019’s newest business trend, allowing customers and clients to communicate as if they were face to face. VoIP services such as Jive are able to let you call using a computer from anywhere in the world. It benefits companies who want to use a single phone number, companies that travel all over the world, or companies from outside of a country that wants to connect to people without using a global number.
- Connect to anyone around the world without paying extra
- Have multiple computers receiving calls from people calling the same number
- Connect to clients in a new way
Average cost of VoIP service: $20-$50 per seat a month
Average cost of VR Headset: $200-$300 single fee to buy the headset
Suggested VoIP services: Jive, RingCentral, TeamSpeak, Vonage
SEO — Backlink building, content optimization, title tags
Search engine optimization is the process of ranking high in Google, Bing, or Yahoo's algorithm for keywords your website promotes. It is how you bring organic traffic to your website. Each algorithm is different, but backlink building, content optimizing, and title tag services are key to ensuring your data is progressing.
- More organic traffic
- Better content
- Better marketing
Average cost: Backlink building ($0-$1,000), Content optimizing ($1,000), Title tag testing ($500-$1,000)
Suggested SEO tools: HARO (Free, Backlink building), Mention ($25-$600, Backlink building), Marketmuse ($1,000, Content optimization), ClickFlow ($500, Title tag testing)
Plagiarism is a huge issue in the marketing industry. Plagiarized content compromises trust between you and your customer, not to mention the potential legal issues. Fortunately, this software can ensure your content is not stolen.
- Alerts you of potential plagiarism
- Check your work for plagiarism
- Protects your trust with employees and customers
Average cost: $11 per month
Suggested tools: SEMrush, Grammarly, EasyBib.com
Contributing expert: Ajay Prasad
Reviews are becoming more and more important for consumers and businesses. We trust word of mouth more than anything else, and consumers are basing their buying decisions on reviews. Review generating companies help businesses get real reviews from current and past customers.
- Builds credibility
- Promotes brand awareness
Average cost: $15-$500 per month
Suggested tools: Podium, Repugen, Womply
Keyword research is essential for your company's website. Understanding what keywords you're targeting, why you’re targeting specific keywords, and the amount of traffic your site receives because of those keywords is crucial to bring in more business. Whether you spend thousands of dollars for pay to play or spend countless hours in optimizing your content, you must take the time to research important keywords.
- Find keywords more easily
- Find high traffic, low competition long tail keywords
- Work smarter, not harder
Average cost: $99-$1,000 per month
Suggested software: SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs
The sheer volume of data available in the digital world is overwhelming. A data can understand and read the data your company has free access to through Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Small businesses that can't afford to pay a full-time data analyst are turning to software that will read it for them. These reports are key to gaining an edge on your competition.
- Save money and resources
- More focused direction as a company
Average cost: $33-$500 per month
Suggested tools: DashThis, SAP Lumira, Google Chart Tools, Klipfolio
Once a service is complete, or you’ve sent your client the finished product, sending the invoice is the last step. Wasting time tracking down clients who haven't paid you is annoying and stressful. Invoice management services show when a client has opened the invoice you sent them, or if something went wrong in the delivery and it ended up in spam or anything else.
- Better ROI
- More customer engagement
- Higher chance to get money for services rendered
Average cost: $20 a month
Suggested tools: Xero, SAP Concur, Armatic
Social Media Marketing
Social media tools
Social media is the future of marketing. Just a few years ago, Facebook closed its doors to Google’s crawlers because Facebook realized it was a direct contender to Google. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, SnapChat, Pinterest, and many other social media platforms are continuing to grow and so is the cost of advertising on their pages. Ensuring your company is relevant on social media is an important step to gaining more users and trust with your clientele. Social media software helps companies schedule posts, helps customers understand how market on social media, and gives companies the edge when competing with their competitors on social media accounts.
- Greater outreach
- Build customer care
- Simple platform
Average cost: $129 per month
Suggested tools: Hootsuite, TweetDeck, Buffer, Social Reach
You probably see thousands of ideas and bits of information in a day. And with the human brain only able to remember four things at a time, according to LiveScience.com, those ideas are usually lost. Swipe files are a type of software that tracks and manages your ideas, quick thoughts, documents, and anything you want to remember at a future time. Place good articles, books, important documents, or future assignments into your swipe file to review at a future point in time.
- Remember quick thoughts, ideas, and documents
- Create folders to organize ideas
Average cost: $3-10 per month
Suggested tools: Evernote, GoogleKeep, Microsoft OneNote
Customer Relation Management (CRM)
Customer relation management or CRM is a system that stores customer data, shares information with colleges, and tracks business to client interactions. It helps companies manage relations with customers, keeps a record of important meetings and phone calls, and is used by thousands of companies.
- Store important data
- Better customer relations
- Cheap and easy to use
Average cost: $65 per user per month
Suggested software: Salesforce, Zoho, Streak
Storing important documents, invoices, payments, or data safety can be an onerous task. With thousands of hackers trying to steal data, making sure that your important documents are safe is a top priority. Many companies have created internet vaults with 256-bit encryption to ensure that your data or important documents are safe. These online storage platforms are also nice when traveling or while using different devices because you can access them from anywhere in the world.
- More secure
- More storage
- Cheap and easy to use
Average cost: Depending on how much storage, $5-$30 per month
Suggested tools: Google Drive, Google Docs, Microsoft 365, WaveApps
Many companies now require individuals who log in to their site to have a password with more than 10 characters, use 5 symbols, have capital letters, or even use emojis. Creating an easy password to remember is getting harder and harder. Good thing there is software now that helps you remember passwords, share it safely with coworkers, and keep it all protected to make sure you don’t have to reset your password too often.
- Store all passwords in one location
- Never forget a password again
Average cost: $3 per month
Suggested software: 1Password, OneLogin, Dashlane
Create a website
Creating a website in the past used to take a lot of skill, but now it's simple and easy. Programming companies have created templates, documents, pages, or images that would look good on a website. These companies help you purchase your domain, get ranked on Google, build a website, and provide you with direction on how to edit, fix, or update your site.
- Clear direction
- Ideas and help in creating a website
- Ensures no major issues
Average cost: $10-$500 per month
Suggested tools: Wix, Wordpress.com, GoDaddy.com
Translate your website into a different language
Once your company starts gaining traction on Google, translating your website into different languages is an important step to gain more and more traffic. Instead of just putting your information into Google Translate, hire a professional translator. Online translating services help thousands of companies translate their entire site correctly and quickly for a reasonable price.
- Gain access to billions of potential buyers
- Build customer trust
- Expand your business globally
Average cost: $0.30 per word
Suggested tools: LingoHub, GetLocalization, Transifex
Manage payments, fix website design, sell goods, set up subscriptions, and add new products with simple directions and guidance.
- Finds and corrects issues with your site
- Provides feedback and support
Average cost: $29-$79 per month
Suggested software: Shopify
Bug tracking tool
With more people coming to a website, issues and bugs are bound to come up. Making sure that your clientele is happy and satisfied with their visit is very important. Bug-tracking tools help small businesses reach out to customers and see if there were any issues with their visit to the company's website.
- Build customer trust
- Ensure your website is working
- Pinpoint exact problems quickly
Average cost: $29-$99 per month
Suggested tools: BugHerd, Monday, Zoho
Work on the Go
When you're on the go, an internet strengthener can be powerful and useful. This tool will connect multiple lines of internet to give you maximum connecting power. It will take Wi-Fi, LTE, 3G, and anything else and strengthen your internet to help you work wherever your traveling.
- Work on the go
- Find a connection throughout the world
Average cost: $9 per month
Suggested tools: Speedify, NordVPN, CyberGhost
Rewards credit card
Although this doesn't seem like much, a rewards credit card tied to all of your business expenses will earn you lots back in return. Make sure that your rewards tied to the credit card will benefit your clients, employees, or yourself.
- Save money
- Greater ROI
- Get rewarded for doing what you have too
Whether you have 30 customers or 30,000, emailing is exhausting and annoying, but also important. Although automatic email outreach was invented you still may have to send a few emails, but not nearly as many. You can easily promote events, new content, discounts, as well as respond to similar emails.
- Respond to multiple emails at once without people knowing
- Reach out to clients about blogs, products or anything quickly and simply
- Gain extra traffic and sales through connecting with clients more often
Average cost: $10-$100 a month
Suggested tools: Zoho, Shout Outs, Mail Chimp
Subscriptions are a difficult thing to manage, you have thousands of accounts coming in, and thousands of people who are wanting to quit a subscription. Certain services were created to help manage churn by reaching out to customers to fix expired credit cards, emailing customers about exceeding credit card limits, and by diverting people who are wanting to cancel their subscription.
- Fix issues with customers credit cards
- Quickly email customers who exceed credit card limits
- Diverts customers who are attempting to leave service
Average cost: $9-$19 per month
Suggested software: ChargeBee, Pipefy, Gainsight
HR Tools and Software
Onboard and training tools
Creating an Onboard packet, storing training videos, and helping new employees get up to speed is an important process for growing a strong business. The quicker the new employees can get up to speed the sooner you are wasting money but generating money.
- Store company training documents, packets, and other key documents needed for new employees
- Get everything from them (passports, bank and account numbers, shirt sizes, etc.) quickly and efficiently
Average cost: $6-$15 per employee per month
Suggested tools: BambooHR, Trainual
The odds of your finding the perfect individual for an open position was once been a hassle, but with new tools, websites, and software designed to finding the perfect employee, finding potential employees has been easier than ever.
- Pinpoint the perfect employee
- Quickly replace company turnover
- Reach out to hundreds of potential employees at once
Average cost: Depends on how much you are willing to spend, but just posting is free
Suggested software: Indeed, Monster, Linkedin
The bottom line
These tools have brought companies a greater return on investments, better customer retention, clearer direction, and overall success. Let 2019 be the year your company leverages the power of these tools to find the same success.