small business tools.

Boris Dzhingarov is a business news writer who covers a wide range of issues.

Many people want to launch a business as a way to break free of the 9 to 5, take control of their lives and finances, and enjoy the freedom that comes with being their own boss. Many find, however, that it’s not always what they expected it to be. Whether starting a business on the side or launching a full-fledged operation, starting a company is a lot of work. It requires a lot of time, attention, and effort and can run you into the ground.

Luckily, there are a lot of tools and resources available to entrepreneurs who are starting up a business that will help things go more smoothly and make the process ten times easier. For working on a startup, here are twelve tools most businesses can’t do without:

eChecks – Cashflow is a very important part of any business, and eChecks makes it easier to manage. eChecks can send or receive check payments in second via email, then print them and take them to the bank to cash. Better yet, eChecks can be integrated with Quickbooks for easy bill payments.

Due – A free tool that helps track the time spent on projects for billing or productivity, Due makes payment processing fast and easy. Not only does it help track time to accurately bill clients, it also offers invoice templates, reminders, reports, and more.

Mint – An Intuit company, Mint helps to budget money, stay on top of bills, and see everything in one place. It’s easy to use and provides data in real-time so it is easy to know how much is in the bank accounts, where credit cards stand, etc. It even offers custom tips based on each account and spending habits.

Shake – The law can be complicated to understand, and lawyers can be expensive, but drafting contracts is difficult and could end up with agreements full of loopholes. With Shake, create (and sign) legally binding agreements in a matter of minutes. Once done, send it off to the other party where they can sign digitally too, giving both parties a copy to reference and govern the agreement made.

Shopify – Whether it is an ecommerce business or not, a website is mandatory. Most consumers are turning to and shopping on the web, making it imperative to have a website where they can go to purchase. Shopify is a user-friendly ecommerce platform that makes it easy to design the perfect site and run the brand in a consistent way.

Google Analytics – One of the most important aspects of running a business is knowing where traffic is coming from and understanding the target audience. Google Analytics makes that possible by pulling info from the site then providing a code that will track visitors to the site. It also displays valuable data about visitors, how the site is performing, and many other useful metrics.

Upwork – When starting a business, typically cash is tight but the skills of many different employees are needed. Instead of trying to go without or borrowing money to hire them, use Upwork to find qualified freelancers who will help get the job done until full-time staff are needed.

Zendesk – Customer service is one of the most important aspects of almost every business, but when first getting started most startups may not have the capacity to handle it as it needs to be handled. That’s where Zendesk comes in. Zendesk offers several different products from live chat to call center software that can help manage customer service seamlessly.

Hootsuite – Social media is a major part of consumers’ everyday lives. They’re on it for fun, they’re on it for information, and they’re on it to find businesses. Managing different social media platforms can take a lot of time and effort, though. To host awesome social media pages without spending much time on them, Hootsuite is the perfect tool. It manages all of the social media platforms in one place, schedules posts in advance, and shows how posts are performing.

CanvaCanva is a tool that enables the design of professional graphics for social media, websites, flyers, etc., and professional experience is not needed. It’s easy to use and straightforward thanks to pre-built templates that can be completely customized.

Unsplash – A picture’s worth a thousand words, and stock photos can be expensive. Unsplash hosts hundreds of stock photos that can tell a story or convey a business message without needing to spend a dime.

Slack – Communication is extremely important. Whether working with a remote team or if the team is all in one office, Slack is an indispensible tool. It connects teammates and opens lines of communication so everyone can easily stay in touch and keep up-to-date on project timelines, pending items, etc.

These tools take some effort to understand and incorporate into a business, but they are invaluable because they save time, money and effort.