Being a small business owner comes with its own unique rewards, like being able to work when and where you want, choosing the direction of your company, and let’s face it, being your own boss! With those rewards comes responsibility, and often require you to wear many hats within your company. Because we can’t possibly keep all the balls in the air all the time, it’s important to find processes and tools to lean on to help ensure you stay on track.

We’ve compiled our top five online tools that help keep us organized, efficient and operating smoothly, in hopes that these might help other small businesses succeed as well. If you have tools you’re using, let us know in the comments!

  1. Operations: Our business wouldn’t be where it is today without some of the remarkable online tools available. We’ve leveraged some unique tech-based tools to help keep us efficient and organized at all times. The programs we can’t live without include:

    • Trello: This is a free online tool that allows you to create various columns (e.g., steps in your process) and then create cards that fall within each of those columns (e.g., client orders, prospective client communication, etc.).

    • ToDoIst: This is a free online checklist that has an app version as well. That means you can tackle your To Do List wherever you are, and it also has a sound effect each time you check something off the list. #satisfying

    • Google Docs: The Google Business Suite truly is remarkable. For less than $10 a user per month, everyone can access to the same online repository of information, including SOPs, process algorithms and pricing matrices.

  2. Marketing: There are an endless supply of marketing tools out there to help streamline your social and digital efforts. Our approach is plan about two weeks worth of content all at once, so we can set it and forget it. Our favorite tools:

    • Later App: This social scheduling tool offers a limited-feature free version. You can schedule up to a month’s worth of social content, which means you can efficiently plan your marketing messaging and then don’t have to revisit until the following month!

    • Planoly: Works in much the same way as Later, but only offers an app-based version. So if you’re on-the-go working from your phone a lot, this is a great option for you.

    • Campaign Monitor: Think Constant Contact but for professionals. This enewsletter platform provides a clean interface, great features for tracking your subscriber list and engagement, and great metrics. Plus, it’s got an inexpensive introductory price.

  3. Accounting Software: Being able to pull ad hoc reports, itemize expenses, easily invoice clients and monitor profit margins is critical to business growth. If you’re ready to go beyond a spreadsheet and bank register, check out these accounting tools:

    • Quickbooks: This is the industry standard, and has amazing reporting features. You can pull profit and loss statements, run payroll, track client invoices, send statements and more.

    • FreshBooks: If you’ve not quite graduated into QuickBooks, FreshBooks is a great middle step that allows you to monitor high level metrics, create customer profiles and track time.