Small businesses and entrepreneurs rely on digital tools for a number of areas of their business, it helps them save time, grow and work smarter. Problem is because there are so many it can become overwhelming and harder to choose and stay on top of.
When you run a small business, you need all the help you can get. You might not be able to hire ten new staff members to make your team run more efficiently, build that shiny website or look after your social media but there are a huge number of online tools available to take care of a whole range of tasks. From collaborating with teams to security and protection to communicating effectively with your clients, there are digital tools for pretty much every single thing on your to-do list.
Our free guide comes with tried and tested digital tools that will help you work smarter and ultimately supercharge your small business.
Digital Tools by Category
Our handpicked tools
Asana is designed to help teams organise, track, and manage their work. Simplify team-based work management, processes, marketing efforts and more all in one space.
Canva is a graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and more. The great thing about this tool is NO design skills needed.
Save hours daily by automating your email marketing and spend more time on your business. Get started in minutes with a free trial and see how it works for your business!
WordPress.com is one of the simplest and most popular ways to get your company online. This online, open-source website creation tool is probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system around. Get your business online with a ton of free themes and plugins to choose from.
WordPress.org is the self-hosted version. A great choice if you’re more confident with your online skills and don’t mind self-hosting your site. The software is free, as are many of the themes, and this is a quick and inexpensive way to build an impressive-looking website.
Squarespace website builder with hosting service. Perfect for those willing to spend a little more for the benefit of never having to worry about keeping software up to date or dealing with hosting companies. Choose between beautiful website design templates without the need to understand anything to do with coding or HTML.
Wix the free website builder. You could look at this as being a kind of free version of Squarespace (although there are paid plans too). The templates are a little more basic, but you point and click, drag and drop and, hey presto, you’re online with very little fuss.
Blogger is, as you would expect, primarily focused on blogging. If that’s what you want from your business website, this is perfect for you. Just start writing posts to begin building it up. If you want to make money from your traffic, it’s a simple process to add Google Adsense adverts to your Blogger site.
Grammarly a copywriter’s secret weapon. Increase your team’s productivity. Eliminate errors, add clarity and save yourself valuable time. This can be used every day to make messages, documents, and posts clear, mistake-free and effective. This integrates with your Chrome browser and Microsoft Word as well as emails and everywhere you enter text online.
Quuu a content curation This can be added to Buffer to share relevant articles with your social audience, without you having to spend time reading everything and assessing it. The perfect way to build a social following is by being active and presenting third-party content to your friends and followers in addition to your work. Enter topic areas and categories you’d like to target and it will either offer suggestions for your approval, or you can set it to post by itself.
Feedly lets you read more and know more. Feedly is a popular news application for various web browsers, mobile devices as well as a cloud-based service. You can compile news feeds from a variety of your favourite online sources for you to customize and share with your audience. You can also integrate this with the likes of Buffer to directly filter content through and save you another task.
Flipboard a news app you carry in your pocket. Keeping on top of trends and news in your industry is important. Access one place to see delivered personalised stories from around the web based on your interests and social connections.
Hubspot’s Blog Idea Generator is a fantastic resource if you are struggling to come up with ideas for a new post on your site. Fresh content is Google’s best friend but sometimes inspiration fails to hit. Simply tap in three nouns to do with your business to this online generator and it will churn out some title ideas that are primed for sparking interaction.
Creative Design Digital Tools
Pixabay solves the thorny issue of illustrating your website and blog posts. Copyright rules mean you can’t just save pictures from a Google Image search and use them as your own; you need to either use your content or royalty-free photos. Pixabay provides a vast array of the latter.
Canva provides an easy-to-use photo editor. The great thing about Canva is you don’t need to be a designer to use it. There are bundles of free templates as well as images and illustrations with the option to upload your media, such as your logo. The drag and drop feature does make it user-friendly for any business owner.
Unsplash a collection of beautiful free photos. It is dedicated to sharing copyright-free photography that you can download and use for any project. It’s always good to have a couple of good resources, and images can be key when promoting your business online.
Creative Market gives you ready-to-use design assets from independent creators. Graphics, fonts, themes, photos and more. There is a broad creative collection of templates starting at as little as $2! All the design assets are created by the talented community making every design unique. Don’t miss out the free downloads they offer every week.
Biteable is an online video maker. The drag and drop layout allows you to turn images and text onto eye-catching animations. Video is so important as part of your marketing strategy nowadays, and this is a great way to feature simple but effective clips without the expense and headache of hiring a specialist.
Lumen5 takes video a step further, taking content from your blog posts. This is a great way to market your online content without spending hours on the creative process and there’s even a basic plan that is completely free of charge. Enter your URL and the application will do the rest. It breaks it down and takes the key points from your post to create a short informative video. A great way to re-use your existing Each time a blog post is published, a new video is created and you are notified via email.
Google Analytics is the master of all website analytics programs. It can look a little complicated but there is plenty of support on the site to give you the overview of the users who visit and their behaviour. The sheer amount of data available makes this invaluable as you search to provide the best experience and ensure the most conversions possible through your website.
Brand24 the social media monitoring tool. Ever wondered what people are saying about your business online? You don’t want anything slipping through the net. This picks up mentions on either the free or paid version, letting you know when and where you have come up online. You will find that you can get a lot out of it without paying anything.
Monster Insights brings Google Analytics to your WordPress.org dashboard. This means no more flicking between programs – everything you need is in one place. The benefits of Google Analytics straight from your dashboard.
Yoast SEO provides a simple traffic light system for your SEO. This nifty system will tell you how your WordPress blog post ranks for readability and SEO so you don’t publish until you get the green light. Both are vitally important if you want Google to rank your page as highly as possible. This plugin offers advice to make sure every article lights up green.
BackupBuddy backs up and restores. There’s nothing worse than losing all your precious website content. This WordPress plugin brings you peace of mind by backing up your data that you can then download and install on any self-hosted WordPress site.
CRM and Email Digital Tools
MailChimp a marketing platform for small businesses. What’s great is they offer free distribution of newsletters for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. You don’t need to know anything about design to make beautiful mailouts; that’s part of the service. The paid plans offer more functionality, but the free service is perfect if you are just starting.
InfusionSoft helps businesses automate their marketing processes. Manage emails, organise, and sell online. Put all your customer info in one place so it’s easier to see the latest status on tasks, sales opportunities, and email results.
AWeber is similar to MailChimp but without the free option. However, AWeber is much more open to allowing affiliate links in mailouts, which could swing your decision if that’s a major part of your business.
ActiveCampaign – This one is a gem. Your all in one CRM marketing machine. Manage your email marketing, marketing automation, sales automation, and CRM (Customer relation management) all using this one tool.
Asana is a beautifully simple app that allows you to track the progress of your team’s work. Everyone knows what they need to do and when they need to do it by to achieve the end goal. You can even set the tasks and sub-tasks out on a calendar to see if there are any gaps or overlaps. This is definitely a top choice when it comes to digital tools.
Trello is just right for those who need to visualise how tasks are progressing. You can collaborate with colleagues on boards, moving items through the key stages from beginning to completion. It’s like a neat digital version of shifting around Post-it notes on a wall, without the danger of them losing their stickiness.
Evernote a note-taking app for your smartphone, tablet and computer. It’s exactly what the name implies: an application that serves as your notetaker, to-do list, ideas etc. The beauty of Evernote is that it syncs automatically across all your devices, and across all your operating systems making it easy for you to use on the go.
OneNote is a Microsoft program that you already have access to if you use a Windows computer at work. There’s no need to download anything, you can use it to collect important information, just like a physical folder or file. If you find something you want to keep online, hit ‘Print’ and ‘send to OneNote’ to keep it for later. It takes great notes and allows you to flag important items to follow up and link between pages. You can also share all this vital information with workmates.
Google Keep is the perfect note app for you if you already use Google Drive and Gmail. It syncs seamlessly with a widget on your Android phone, making it ideal for jotting down ideas on the go, ready to come back to them in the office. Or for entering address details on your computer so you have them handy on your phone when you’re out and about.
Zapier connecting and automating using your favourite apps. Connect the apps you use every day to automate your workflow and triggers that your apps can’t currently perform. This does cut out the legwork. You can do so much with this app with it having over 1000+ apps and easy integrations. It’s so easy to get started.
IFTTT If This Than That. Provides the same solution as Zapier. It is easy and free, very similar to what Zapier does. This connects all your devices, so they work seamlessly together. The internet doesn’t always play nice, but luckily IFTTT is here to help and to achieve what you thought was impossible.
Process Street a simple workflow software for businesses. Workflows and processes are those tasks and projects you tend to do over and over. Setting this up each time can be time-consuming and can also mean it is more likely to have flaws each time and no consistency. A perfect space for you to create checklists, workflows and standard operating procedures in seconds.
Calendly helps you find a time that’s good for everyone. It is a simple, easy-to-use, yet powerful scheduling software, which will save you time and improve service quality. Add this to your website with a simple HTML code or just share your link, sync with your Gmail calendar and more. Best of all it’s free!
LastPass makes and remembers your passwords, so you don’t have to! Trying to remember every single password and login can prove difficult especially whilst trying to keep them as secure as possible. LastPass solves this with its password manager and password generator that locks your passwords and personal information in a secure vault. Never forget your login details again no matter how many you have. You won’t look back after working with this digital tool.
Storage and Transfers
iCloud Drive is the perfect connection between your Mac, iPhone and iPad. Save a photo into iCloud Drive on your phone and it immediately appears on the drive on your computer too, preventing you from having to email yourself, which wastes time and clogs up the server.
WeTransfer for your larger files, it couldn’t be simpler. Upload a big file, then enter your email address, the address you want to send it to, and an optional note and it’s done. The recipient receives a mail with a link they can use to download the file and you receive a message when they do so.
Google Drive is like Microsoft Office, but a hundred times better. You can create Word, Excel and PowerPoint-style documents within your drive and share them instantly with your team. Collaboration is easy too; any number of people can view and edit a document at the same time, there’s a live chat box for users to communicate through and the research tool allows you to look things up without leaving the app.
Never again will you have to save a Word doc, exit from it, shout across the room to tell your colleague they can now open it and then repeat the whole charade when you want to check the changes they have made.
Dropbox is another great method of sending files that are too big to email. You just need to upload the item to your box, generate a link and send that to anyone you want to allow access to. They download it to their computer and can use it right away. Access files on the go from all your devices allowing you to work and edit wherever you are.
Skype is a simple way to have face-to-face meetings. This gives you the ability to communicate with multiple people without needing to be anywhere near each other, geographically. Video conferencing is much more effective for making sales than a traditional phone call and is the next best thing to meeting a client in person.
Zoom offers a similar proposition to Skype. The difference is you can also split your meeting attendees into smaller groups, who can chat between themselves in breakout sessions before returning to the main call. The interface is accessible and easy to use.
Slack provides a shared workspace for all your team’s communications. Everything is archived and searchable, so there’s no need to spend time reading to the bottom of email chains to find out where a project is currently standing. If you miss a meeting, you can catch up easily and keep the project moving. Collaborating with your team and clients couldn’t be easier.
Time Management and Reporting
Toggl the hottest time management tracker around. The simplest time tracking software out there to help you get things done. Ideal for teams, freelancers & agencies looking to keep track of time spent on projects as well as time spent working on your business. This integrates with other digital tools including Asana and also has both a desktop and mobile version available.
Harvest simplifies timesheets and billing. If you are looking for simple you found it. This offers not only time tracking features but also a fast online invoicing and powerful reporting software. Simplify employee timesheets and billing.
RescueTime a time management software. Wonder where all that time went. Get a personal analytics report that tracks and shows you what and how long you spend doing it. A digital tool that does help you be more productive.
Wave an invoicing and accounting software. With the free version of Wave, you’ll receive accounting and reports functionality, you’ll be able to create and scan invoices and the ability to scan receipts directly into the system. No, this isn’t a one-stop-shop for all your bookkeeping needs but you will be able to get pretty far using the basic service.
Xero offers a cloud-based accounting software platform for SME’s. This cloud-based accounting software connects people with the right numbers anytime, anywhere, on any device. For accountants and bookkeepers, Xero helps build a trusted relationship with small business clients through online collaboration.
Stripe online payment processing for internet businesses. Looking for a trusted online payment system? Stripe gives you just that, a suite of payment APIs that powers commerce for online businesses of all sizes. Trust is key when it comes to divulging personal details online, making sales more likely.
HelloSign is a cloud-based electronic signature Signing a contract is going to be part of your sales workflow so you want to make this as easy as possible. This enables users to sign, fill out, send, retrieve, and save documents paperlessly and effortlessly. The free version allows you up to a maximum of 3 documents to be sent a month with an option to upgrade.
DocuSign allows you to easily collect signatures online or via a mobile device. This is the perfect tool for collecting information from clients and remote employees. This means that documents and projects can be greenlit more quickly.
Sales Digital Tools
Email Hunter finds email addresses from anywhere on the web, with just one click. Collect email addresses from any website using this app. When you are on a website all you need to do is click on the Email Hunter button in your browser to get every email address found related to the this is a paid tool with a free trial currently being offered.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator a powerful sales tool. LinkedIn’s paid plans are valuable for finding and connecting with potential and current customers etc pretty much anyone you think can help you grow your business. As a paid feature it will depend on which subscription will best suit your sales goals and budgets.
Shopify is a leading e-commerce service provider. When it comes to digital tools this one is popular particularly for product based businesses. It allows customers to integrate a shopping experience directly on top of their website. Shopify helps with inventory management & order & payment processing.
Meetup – We are what we do! This is great if you are looking to get out there and meet new people and businesses. You can find local gatherings & networking events in your niche and what’s best is it’s always free for attendees.
Eventbrite discovers great events and lets you create your own. If you are looking to hold your event this is a great platform to create your online ticketing tool. Also, another great one to discover events that match your passions and niche.
As you can see there are digital tools for every area of your business. We suggest downloading this guide, printing it and then highlighting all those that appeal or match the functionalities and results you are looking for. If you need any assistance getting setting up any of these digital tools contact us we would love to assist.
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