Every small business owner or first-time entrepreneur wants their company to grow. One of the best ways to succeed in what you do and open up new horizons is to choose the right software tools. They will help you cover your everyday needs and maximise the productivity of your employees. With plenty of applications available nowadays, making the right choice is not that simple though.
To help you ease the agonies of choosing, we have made a list of the most useful tools and their alternatives. They are designed to address the key challenges small businesses and first-time entrepreneurs might face. Enjoy your reading!
1. Cloud file storage: Dropbox
The next item on the list is a cloud storage and file management solution. For the vast majority of small businesses, creating tons of different documents is something natural. Therefore, you should have a reliable cloud storage solution that allows you to access your files from anywhere, keep a secure backup and, most importantly, easily share your files with your clients and employees.
Dropbox is a cloud storage platform that is considered one of the oldest and most popular cloud storage services today, although there are many alternatives. It allows you to keep all your files securely stored, up to date and accessible from any device. You can also quickly send any file to anyone, even if they don’t have a Dropbox account. Backing up important folders and file synchronization are included as well.
Dropbox is also good when it comes to online collaboration. Dropbox Paper, a special service for document editing, is a single virtual space where your team can collaborate. You can use Paper to share documents and files and collaborate on them. Thus, your team can centralise its work in one place.
The Standard tariff plan with 5 TB of storage space for small teams (3+ members) costs $12.50 per user per month.
Alternatives: Box, Nextcloud, Sync
2. Project management software: Kissflow Project
The right project management software can make the workflow within your team more organized and more efficient. Among other options, Kissflow Project is definitely worth a try. Not only does this solution offer a free lifetime license for small teams with up to 3 members working on one project but it also has everything you would expect to see in a project management tool.
Kissflow allows you to plan your team’s work, see who’s working on what and deliver better results with minimal tracking. Its philosophy is based on the idea that project management software shouldn’t be difficult to master. The application interface is simple and lets you get the big picture at a glance.
Using Kissflow, you can easily keep track of all your project progress, make smart decisions based on data-driven reports and stay organized by planning your tasks and setting priorities. Missing a deadline is almost impossible because the app automatically sends you reminders when your tasks and projects approach their due dates.
If the free version is not sufficient to satisfy your team’s needs, you can always upgrade to a paid version with more features (for example, timeline visualization and backlog support). The Starter tariff plan for 5 users and 5 projects is available at $35 per month.
Alternatives: monday.com, Wrike, Teamwork
3. CRM software: Less Annoying CRM
The importance of a good CRM software tool for small businesses is beyond all questions. Getting more customers and building long-term relationships with them is always essential. If you don’t know what CRM platform you should opt for, it might be a good idea to choose Less Annoying CRM.
This solution is specifically designed for small businesses. It offers an all-inclusive package for task management, contacts, tracking leads and making follow-ups. The interface is intuitive and easy to use. You can see all your notes, tasks, files, events and information related to a certain contact, all in one place.
With Less Annoying CRM, you don’t need to switch between different apps anymore. Your tasks are built into the CRM so that you can track everything in one place. You can even set up sharing with other team members so that everyone can stay on the same page.
Less Annoying CRM is totally web-based, which means that you can access it from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. Migrating to this platform is easy because you can export your contacts from your current system to a spreadsheet and upload that to Less Annoying CRM.
The pricing policy of this software is simple: $15 per user per month with no complicated pricing tiers hidden fees.
4. Communication: Telegram
For small businesses, it’s vitally important to reduce costs if possible. When it comes to internal communication, the best option is to use a totally free app. And here comes Telegram.
It’s a free mobile and desktop messaging app. Telegram is cross-platform and works on iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can use your Telegram account on all your devices at the same time — your messages and chats instantly synchronize across any number of your phones, tablets or computers.
Telegram is more than just a messaging app. It allows you to send text and voice messages, make audio and video calls and share an unlimited number of photos, videos and files of up to 2 GB each. That means you can use Telegram as secure cloud storage.
As for security, this solution offers end-to-encryption and Secret Chats where you can order your messages, photos, videos and files to self-destruct in a set amount of time after they have been read, and they will disappear on both ends.
Alternatives: Viber, WhatsApp, Skype
5. All-in-one business management software: ONLYOFFICE Workspace Cloud
If you need a versatile solution to control all business processes, it might be a good idea to opt for ONLYOFFICE Workspace Cloud. It is a web-based office productivity suite that includes a set of apps for efficient online collaboration and team management. This solution offers online editors for text documents, spreadsheets and presentations and a bundle of productivity tools, all accessible within your browser via a single interface.
ONLYOFFICE online editors are fully compatible with Microsoft Office files (docx, xlsx and pptx) and support other popular formats, including the OpenDocument Format (ODF). Their tabbed interface makes it easier for new users to get started: all the tools are organised in convenient tabs for better navigation.
Real-time document collaboration is what makes ONLYOFFICE great: you can share and co-edit documents in real-time, leave comments, communicate with your co-authors via the built-in chat and switch between two co-editing modes (fast or strict). The solution also offers encrypted document collaboration in real time in the so called Private Rooms.
On top of that, the solution is equipped with different productivity tools: document and project management, calendar, email, CRM, instant messaging, etc., which makes ONLYOFFICE Workspace cloud an all-in-one solution that could be a good option to manage all business processes.
Apart from the cloud version, there is also a self-hosted version of the solution that you can deploy on your server for more security: this way you can have total control over your data.
ONLYOFFICE Cloud Service is totally free for teams with up to 5 users. The Business tariff plan starts from $5 per user per month.
Alternatives: Microsoft Office 365, Google Workspace
We hope this article helps you to make the right decision when selecting the best software for your business. Already use any of these software tools? Share your feedback in the comments section below.