Finding the right tool stack for your business is akin to finding the right mattress for your sleeping habits. Hitting that sweet spot can revolutionize your workflow and boost your productivity, and it can also help your team collaborate more seamlessly.
Here are our favorite new tools for business owners, from apps that save you time (or help you manage it better) to accounting programs to project management software to communication tools.
Cool Time-Saving and Time Management Tools
As a business owner, you’re used to juggling multiple tasks and having a long to-do list—but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use some help in that area. Luckily, there are plenty of great tools to help you both save time and manage your time better.
- Toggl: This free time-tracking software can help your whole team up their productivity by tracking how much time is spent on each task, whether done in your browser, on your computer, or on your phone. Each time report can help you pinpoint idle moments as well as find tasks and clients that suck up too much time.
- PomoDone: The Pomodoro Technique is a highly effective yet simple time management method that involves dividing your time into 25-minute intervals of work broken up by 5-minute breaks, with longer 25-minute breaks every 4 work intervals. If you don’t have a Pomodoro kitchen timer on hand, free apps like PomoDone will do the trick.
- RescueTime: We often wander toward distractions like social media and online shopping out of habit, without even noticing it. One of the best ways to truly “rescue” your time is to make distractions impossible to get to. Apps like RescueTime eliminate workplace distractions by blocking certain websites and apps from your computer for a pre-specified block of time so you can focus on the task at hand.
Cool Accounting and Money-Saving Tools
Whether you’re a sole proprietor or the CEO of a big company, you should never tackle bookkeeping on your own. Plenty of tools can automate your financial data and make accounting a breeze.
- Sunrise: From invoicing, expense tracking, and payments to closing the books and preparing your taxes, Sunrise is an accounting app that does it all for you. Connect your business bank account and business credit cards to see income and expenses automatically uploaded into financial reports. Plans range from free self-service plans to a robust Corporate plan, and all plans come with unlimited invoices and bank transactions. Freelancers will benefit especially from personalized invoices that allow clients to pay by credit card and financial reports that make filing taxes easy.
- Gusto: As your team grows, you’ll want to start thinking about getting a dedicated system for payroll and benefits. Gusto helps with onboarding, payroll, insurance, HR, paid time off, and compliance all on one platform.
- Trim: If you’ve ever realized you’re still paying fees for a monthly subscription you never use, you’re not alone. Trim is an automated tool to help you cut costs by analyzing your budget to find areas where you can trim expenses, including both old subscriptions and bills that can be negotiated or lowered, such as cable and insurance. You can even have Trim negotiate with your bank to lower your interest rates or waive fees.
Cool Project Management and Organization Tools
When it comes to organizing your workspace, projects, and to-dos, using the right tools can completely change the way you work and save you tons of time.
- Asana: One of the most popular project management tools, Asana helps you assign tasks to your team members, send reminders as due dates approach, and track their progress all in one place. It’s extremely intuitive and comes with several plan options, including a basic free version.
- Trello: Similarly to Asana, Trello is a project management tool that helps you visualize and track your team’s progress. Many people like the way that Trello uses cards for each task that can be placed on different boards, as it resembles the way one might organize projects and ideas physically on a whiteboard or with post-it notes. The app is completely free and supported on mobile.
- Evernote: This jack-of-all-trades notes program is great for everything from brainstorming and note-taking to writing up documents and creating presentations. It’s a cloud-based system, making it easy to collaborate across teams, and there’s both a free and affordable premium version.
- Boomerang: If you love the idea of achieving “inbox zero” but rarely do it, Boomerang is a Gmail tool that will get you there on the daily. It allows you to do things like set response reminders, draft and schedule emails to be sent at a future date, and send out recurring messages.
- LastPass: Keep all of your passwords in one place with LastPass, a secure app that encrypts and saves each of your passwords so you can automatically enter them upon returning to any site you’ve logged into before. LastPass also comes in handy if you need to share a password with your team members. For example, if you have a company subscription to a service you want your employees to access, you can have them download LastPass, log on to the company account, and the app will log into company subscriptions without ever showing your password to the employee.
Cool Communication Tools
When it comes to improving communication both within your team and to the outside world, these tools get the job done.
- Grammarly and Hemingway: This classic program combo will help you ensure you never make another typo in a presentation or send a confusing email again. Grammarly checks your spelling and grammar across all platforms and does a far better job than your typical spell check, and Hemingway revises documents for clarity, tone, and readability.
- AwesomeScreenshot: This free browser extension will up your screenshot game by allowing you to automatically upload screenshots and create a shareable link. It also lets you draw on your screenshots—a useful tool for putting together presentations, blog posts, or instructional documents.
- HARO: Also known as Help a Reporter Out, HARO is one of the best free services for gaining publicity. Every day, you’ll receive an email with a list of requests for sources from reporters and journalists. They might be looking for a financial expert to comment on the stock market, or they might be looking for restaurant owners to discuss trends in sustainable food. You respond, and if your pitch is relevant and useful, you and your business could end up featured in some of the biggest publications out there.
With these tools combined, your productivity will skyrocket.