The 105 Best Tools to Start Your Business in 2018
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The 105 Best Tools to Start Your Business in 2018
Any business can use these tools to quickly get customers, increase revenue, and automate operations
Written by Aaron Saari, CEO, This Is Growth
Choosing the right tools from the start is a crucial step toward making your business succeed.
With thousands of apps available, it’s hard to figure out which ones are the best for your business.
So I compiled the 105 best tools to get your business off the ground this year.
The focus here is on free and cheap tools that give you lots of bang for your buck. I also gave extra points to ones that are easy to setup and start using immediately.
But before you chose the right platform to build your website and business, you need to be standing (or sitting) on the right platform!
People weren’t designed to sit still for 8+ hours a day — it isn’t good for you physically or mentally. That’s why we’ve partnered with Fully to bring you this amazing list of tools!
The team at Fully is revolutionizing productivity in the workplace with their fantastic standing desks, chairs, and office accessories. A huge thanks to Fully for sponsoring this article and for supporting independent media like The Mission!
And now… onto the 105 Best Tools to Start Your Business in 2018!
1. Fully Workstation
A more active workspace = a more human workspace. Work right with the Jarvis desk and ‘an active’ chair. So, just what makes these desks and chairs so special? When you sit back in the chair, it leans you slightly forward so that your spine stays aligned. If that isn’t cool enough, the Jarvis desk is also easily adjustable, so feel free to sit or stand as much as you’d like!
We recently got some Fully gear at The Mission HQ and have been wayyyy more productive! Toasty likes it, too!
2. Sell your products with Shopify
Shopify is the best platform to sell your physical products both online or in-person. You can have a great looking store live in hours with your products loaded and ready to sell. Shopify also makes it easy to sell on other channels with a few clicks including Amazon, Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest, and eBay. And if the basic features aren’t enough, the Shopify App Store has custom apps for any feature you can imagine.
3. Create your website in no time with Squarespace
Squarespace is a great choice for almost any business site. It has award-winning templates that make it easy to create a custom site in no time and a drag-and-drop site editor to keep things simple. It’s hard to make a terrible website with Squarespace.
4. Wordpress gives your website superpowers
Squarespace is great but some businesses need a lot more features. That’s where Wordpress comes in. Wordpress powers 29% of the world’s websites. It’s a feature rich platform that is completely customizable. Wordpress is a solid choice if you need a lot of custom features on your website to support your business.
5. Build a community on Mighty Networks
If your business involves creating a community, check out Mighty Networks. Mighty Networks makes it easy to build a digital community where you can post events, publish content, and even charge for access. It looks great on all devices right out of the box and is free for unlimited members and a single host.
6. Publish your online course with Teachable
Teachable makes it easy to publish your course, sell to new students, and manage existing students. Teachable is a hosted service so it’s ready to go as soon as you signup. Course instructors have earned over $100 million by publishing their courses on Teachable. Teachable also has integrated affiliate marketing so other people can get paid to promote your course. It’s used by individual course creators as well as institutions and businesses such as the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Intuit.
7. Visually manage every project in your company with Trello
This might be the simplest project management tool that you can roll out in your business. Trello has an easy drag-and-drop interface that anyone can understand and enough features to make managing tasks effective but not overwhelming. You can assign tasks to people on your team and add images, checklists, and comments to keep things on track. It also integrates with hundreds of other apps so you can pull info from all your other business platforms.
8. Manage all your projects and internal communications with Basecamp
From its site: “Basecamp combines discussions, tasks, files, schedules & chat in one place, making it easy to see what needs doing, where to find things, and what’s going on”. It is the easiest-to-use, all-in-one solution for managing projects for your business. The platform is incredibly intuitive which makes it easy to start using for most companies. The best feature might be its pricing. Basecamp is $99 per month for unlimited users unlike most other platforms that charge by the user.
9. Things is the award-winning personal task manager that helps you achieve your goals.
Things is a powerful tool that keeps your personal task management simple but effective. It has enough features to be powerful but not so many that you’ll feel overwhelmed. You can add tasks from anywhere, sync your calendar, and keep your projects organized with headings, due dates, and reminders.
Yes, these are all features in almost every other personal task manager. But Things wins with a simple design that makes it one of the easiest and most effective task managers on the market.
10. G Suite is your foundation
Running a business with your personal email looks unprofessional. It’s also a great way to have business emails get lost in the mix of spam, trash, or personal inquiries. G Suite by Google lets your separate the foundation of your business (email, calendar, documents) from your personal life.
11. LastPass remembers all your passwords, so you don’t have to
Lastpass stores your passwords so you can get rid of that Word document where you’ve been storing them for years. The Lastpass browser extensions fill in your usernames and passwords on any site with just one click. It does the same with your credit card info — which is super helpful when you’re not near your wallet. It also lets you share passwords without allowing the recipient to see the password itself. This is a fundamental infrastructure tool that you should start using immediately.
12. Know where your time goes with RescueTime
The internet is filled with distracting puppy videos and addicting news feeds. RescueTime shows you where you’re spending all your time online so you can optimize your schedule and operate more effectively. It even has features to block you from certain sites (like Facebook) and lock you out of browsing so you can rest your eyes if you’ve spent more than 10 hours online in a single day. It locked me out twice while writing this article.
13. Keep the books fresh with FreshBooks
FreshBooks is a cloud accounting service designed for small businesses and freelancers. Their interface is SUPER easy to use, you can securely access the information anywhere, and even automate your most common expenses. Make your business transactions easy to monitor, keep them secure, and sleep well at night knowing FreshBooks has got you covered.
14. Use LegalZoom so you don’t break the law
Setting up your business doesn’t have to be a huge headache. With LegalZoom, you can get your business established anywhere in the United States with a few clicks. LegalZoom will file all the necessary paperwork then send your business tax ID (EIN) as soon as your state approves it. You can also talk to lawyers about your specific business and get access to tons of free legal document templates.
15. Get legal advice on-demand with Upcounsel
You have legal questions. Employment contracts. Partnership agreements. Your landlord’s rent hike. UpCounsel hooks you up with lawyers on-demand. Just post your legal question and lawyers who are experts in that field will submit quotes along with their profile and experience. You choose who you want to work with, get on a call to discuss your questions, and pay the agreed rate through the platform. This is by far the best and easiest way to get legal advice immediately.
16. Create legally-binding proposals and contracts with PandaDoc
PandaDoc users have closed over $16 billion worth of deals with the platform. Pandadoc lets you create a library of common sections and templates for your proposals and contracts. You create the sections once then select those you need for each individual proposal. Boom — custom proposal in a few clicks. It also has legally-binding eSignatures so you can keep your life paperless.
17. Google Analytics to know what’s working (and what’s not)
You need to know where your website’s visitors are coming from and what they’re doing on your site. Google Analytics is a staple for every website. You should install it the day your site goes live.
18. Hotjar creates videos of each visitor to your website
What are your visitors doing when they get to your website? Hotjar makes it super simple to create heat-maps, user polls, and analyze your users’ activity. You can even get video recordings of your users on your site! Hotjar is another staple that I install on every site when I launch because it provides immediate access to crucial user data from the start. Oh, and it’s free.
19. Awesome video conferencing with Zoom
Zoom makes video conferencing incredibly simple. You can have tons of attendees, share your screen, and record the meetings. You can even take control of another attendee’s screen in case you need to guide them through a complex process. If you’re a distributed company or you have clients across the world, I definitely recommend ditching the phone calls for video calls with Zoom.
20. Powerful, free conference calls with Uberconference
But, if you are going to do phone calls… UberConference is your best option. It’s free and makes setting up a conference call incredibly easy. It includes call recording, screen sharing, and a call-in number so you have everything you need for effective conference calls.
21. Bring your team together with Slack
When it comes to team communications, you need to ditch email and text messaging. With email, the message gets lost within your overflowing inbox. And text isn’t searchable so you can’t find that important message from 2 months ago. Enter Slack. You can organize your business around topics, share files, and keep a searchable history of all the conversations across your company. Millions of people use Slack to simplify their communications including employees at Airbnb, Harvard, and Ticketmaster.
22. Create stunning graphics with Canva
You don’t need a graphic designer. Canva makes it simple to create amazing graphics for your blog posts, social media, and almost anything else that requires basic design. With tons of templates, custom graphics, and Guy Kawasaki’s endorsement, Canva is your best free option for great graphic design that you can do all by yourself.
23. Snappa for beautiful designs with stock photos included
Snappa is a lot like Canva but with a slightly different interface and a massive library of free content you can use. Snappa provides over 50,000+ HD photos, graphics, and templates that are great for tons of design projects. I use both Snappa and Canva for different purposes, but you’d be fine with either one.
24. Unsplash for tons of free high-quality stock photos
Sometimes you need a few great looking photos to make your website or other marketing materials really stand out. Unsplash is a huge library of free photos from amazing photographers around the world. You can find photos of everything here — people, business, nature, food and anything in between. They’re all free and high-quality so it’s always my first stop when I need stock photos.
25. Create awesome graphics for social media with Pablo
If you’re using Buffer, I definitely recommend trying out Pablo. It has over 600,000 images along with stylish fonts and templates to use across all your different social media channels. You can resize an image with a few clicks so you don’t have to recreate images to fit the size requirements for each channel. And because it integrates with Buffer, you can add your graphics to your posts with ease.
26. Use Skitch to explain anything with a screenshot
Skitch lets you annotate screenshots and PDFs. It’s a tool created by Evernote that makes it simple to add arrows, text, and other markups with a few clicks. It’s great for creating images to add context to your blog posts or creating images to explain processes in your Process Street checklists.
27. Crowdsource all your design needs with 99designs
99designs should be your first stop if you need custom design. You post your design request and designers from around the world will submit designs for you to choose from. Choose the design you love and the designer gets paid. 99designs is a great way to see your business come to life whether it’s a book cover, logo, or entire website.
28. Design Pickle has unlimited custom designs for a flat monthly rate
Design Pickle gives you unlimited design for a low monthly fee. It’s perfect for businesses that need custom graphics, such as a t-shirt store, or for restaurants and bars that want to keep their marketing materials fresh every week. If you’re just getting started, Design Pickle is a much better option than hiring a full time designer.
29. Create a 15-second marketing video in 15 seconds with Promo
Promo is the video marketing platform for every business. You can create 15-second high-quality videos with music, text, and your logo in minutes. You pay per video but the price can be as low as $20 per video. Promo includes a high-quality video and music library with over 3.5M clips. You don’t pay extra for the video and music clips — it’s all included in a single price per video. These are great for weekly promotions in bars and restaurants or even Facebook video ads for any business.
30. Make custom marketing videos with Animoto
Create custom videos for your business with tons of templates and free music. Animoto’s video editor makes it easy to turn your videos and images into professional marketing videos. This is a great platform if you have your own images and videos that you want to turn into marketing videos.
31. Turn your blog posts into videos with Lumen5
Lumen5 uses stock imagery and music to turn your blog posts into videos. It pulls the written content from your posts then suggests background images that align with the content. You select the phrases that you want Lumen5 to display and it fits them into the video template. The end product is a video with animated images, a soundtrack, and your written content. Lumen5 is the best way to double your content by turning all your blog posts into videos.
32. Create custom videos using over 2.5 million stock videos, images, and music with Wave.video
Wave.video has everything you need to make amazing marketing videos with nothing but an idea. It includes a library of over 2.5 million videos and images, great templates, and 300,000+ music tracks. You can also resize your videos in a few clicks so they’re ready for multiple platforms (including Instagram Stories, Facebook, and Youtube) without recreating them from scratch. And if you don’t like the included videos and images, you can upload your own. Wave.video charges a monthly subscription that allows you to create unlimited videos.
33. Create animated videos with Powtoon
If you want animated videos, PowToon is your answer. This video builder includes tons of templates, animated characters, and unlimited downloads for a low monthly subscription. It’s used by companies big and small including Starbucks, Costco, and Coca-Cola.
34. Videoblocks has inexpensive stock video for video marketing
If the video builders above don’t have the stock videos you need, check out VideoBlocks. Videoblocks includes 4K videos, motion backgrounds, after effects templates and tons of other stock videos. You pay a low subscription price to access unlimited downloads of their basic library of videos and can buy premium videos created by videographers around the world.
35. Create how-to videos with Screenflow
Screenflow makes it easy to create how-to videos and other custom videos. It’s especially useful if you want to create a video of your app or anything else on your mobile phone. It captures the video and allows you to add text, transitions, and sound to create a professional final product — all without hiring a professional. This is my go-to screen capture tool when I create videos for online courses.
36. Facebook Business Manager unlocks the power of Facebook and Instagram
Facebook Business Manager lets you control your entire Facebook presence including ads, product catalogs, pixels, pages, users, and content from one easy to use platform.
One of the most basic but useful features is user and partner management which allows you to add users and outside agencies to multiple Facebook assets at different access levels. Every business should be using Facebook Business Manager.
37. You need Facebook Ads
Facebook is the the best paid marketing platform in the world right now. You can get your brand in front of over 2 billion people across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and the Audience Network (apps, publications, and websites). Not only do you have access to all these people, but you also can tell your story in many formats. You can use videos and images, capture leads from an ad, or dynamically show products from your store that users viewed 30 days ago. Facebook ads are hands-down the best way to get your brand in front of a highly targeted group of new customers.
38. Adwords is a staple for every business
Google search ads are another staple for almost every business that’s doing paid marketing. People are searching for your brand, product, or service so you need to ensure you’ll show up at the top of search results. The only way to guarantee that position is with paid ads. SEO takes months to push you to the first page if it even works at all. Adwords ads can get you to the top immediately.
39. Get your products on Google’s Shopping tab with Google Shopping Ads
Would you like your products to show up on the shopping tab on Google searches? Then you need to setup Google Shopping Ads. This can be a little complex to setup, but platforms like Shopify have many apps that make the setup simple. These are paid ads so you’ll need a Google Adwords account.
40. Edgar ensures you never forget to post on social media
Creating new content is a time consuming task that many small businesses push to the bottom of their list. Edgar helps you recycle your content to lighten your content creation workload. With Edgar, you schedule social media posts based on categories. Then, you fill those categories with content. When a category is on the schedule, Edgar posts the next new post from that category to your designated channel. When Edgar has gone through all the new posts, it begins reposting the best performing posts again.
41. Hootsuite automates all of your social media management
Hootsuite helps you manage all your social media in one place. It’s used by over 800 folks in the Fortune 1000, and Forrester named Hootsuite the leader in social media management solutions in 2017. It’s definitely an enterprise level tool but the smaller plans are suitable for small businesses and startups. It’s a great tool to track competitor brands, schedule your content across platforms, engage with followers, and manage your social media team.
42. Buffer makes social media scheduling easy
Buffer lets you schedule your posts across Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter and Google. It’s used by over 8 million marketers and companies including Business Insider and the Denver Broncos. It has a browser extension to keep content curation simple and Pablo (mentioned above) to make designing graphics easy.
43. Post Planner fills your content calendar with high-engagement content
Like all the social media management tools mentioned so far, Post Planner lets you schedule posts. Additionally, it also surfaces high engagement articles for you to share to your audience. It’s a great tool if you grow your audience through content curation instead of content creation.
44. Secure your Internet with Hotspot shield
Hotspot Shield secures your Internet in otherwise questionable areas. Browse the web safely knowing that Hotspot Shield is protecting all of your private information. The app is easy to navigate, use, and install… plus it’s free to download! Join their 500 million other users and secure your web surfing.
45. Dropbox to save all your files in the cloud
Your business needs a central location for all your files and Dropbox is the answer. For less than $10/month, you can store 1,000GB of data so you never lose a file again. You can share files or entire folders with employees and clients with a few clicks and later unshare them when they leave the company or you stop working together. You can also create expiring links for those times you need to share sensitive documents.
46. Evernote is your second brain
Though you can use Evernote to share documents and processes across your business, I recommend using it for storing your own thoughts and documents. Evernote is the best tool to store everything digital in your life. I use it to store receipts, articles, business ideas, quotes, and everything else that I never want to forget.
47. Tapfilliate to turn your customers into word of mouth marketers
Word of mouth marketing is still one of the best channels for getting new customers because we trust social proof above all other sources. Tapfiliate makes it easy to let anyone promote your products and earn a commission. It’s great for online stores, courses, coaching, and any other product or service that people might recommend to their friends or followers.
48. Maitre to build hype before you launch (or after)
Launching your business is a huge day and you want to do it right. Build momentum ahead of time with Maître. This super simple tool lets you create a referral system in minutes. When users sign up, they get a unique link that they can share with their friends and followers. Offer rewards to the people who get the most friends signed up before your launch and you’ll see a huge list of hungry customers when you do take off.
49. Connect your business apps and automate workflows with Zapier
All-in-one software solutions are rarely the best option when you’re getting started. Instead, get the best apps, software, and tools for your specific business type. Zapier lets you integrate all your business apps and create custom workflows so you can automate processes across your business. Zapier can connect over 1,100 apps and is used by big companies like Adobe and Spotify.
50. IFTTT connects all your personal apps
IFTTT helps you automate your life. Connect everything from Alexa to Instagram to smart home devices and social media. IFTTT is the simplest way to get get all your personal apps sharing data and automate processes in your life so you can focus on getting your business started.
51. Autopilot automates your customer journeys
Automating your marketing is cool. Autopilot makes automation easy. You can create a customer journey that includes personalized text messages, physical mailings, emails, and more. Customers hate generic marketing so use Autopilot to make your brand experience personal both online and offline.
52. Turn paper forms into mobile forms with Device Magic
Device Magic is a lifesaver for businesses with hourly employees and complex processes. Ditch all your paper forms and replace them with easy to build forms that are right on your employees mobile phones. You can have the data sent to multiple sources like email, spreadsheets, or custom apps so you can cut all the manual data entry out of your day. Fun fact: I took me less than a day to turn a two week process into a 2-hour process with Device Magic.
53. Put all your email addresses in one super-powered inbox with Polymail
With open and click tracking, send later, reminders, and email templates, Polymail turns your inbox into a sales machine. You can create automated follow-up campaigns based on a recipient’s actions (or inactions) so you aren’t trying to remember who you need to followup with every day. They also have a team plan so you can keep track of all your sales people and collaborate on outreach.
54. Mixmax lets you track email opens and clicks within Gmail
Mixmax turns your Gmail or G Suite inbox into a super-powered sales machine. You can insert calendar scheduling, polls, and surveys with a few clicks. It’s also got open and click tracking, email templates, and email scheduling. Team plans are available, so you can track all your company’s outreach under one dashboard.
55. Find anyone’s email address with Email Hunter
B2B sales is hard. Email Hunter makes it easier. Type the domain for the person who’s email you need and Email Hunter will return the common format for email addresses on that domain. You can search for an email address using a first name, last name, and domain or you can use it to verify the email addresses that you have in your list.
56. Clearbit Connect makes it easy to get in touch
with anyone — right from your inbox.
Clearbit Connect not only lets you find and verify email addresses but also adds tons of social data right in your inbox to the emails you already have. With a simple, free Chrome extension, you can see the face of and social media info for anyone who emails you.
57. Automate your website’s growth with Sumo
You want to turn the visitors to your website into leads so you can turn them into customers. Sumo lets you add lead capture, heatmaps, and other automations to your website with a simple line of code. It integrates with everything and is used by powerhouses like Airbnb and Tony Robbins.
58. Salesforce is the ultimate CRM
#58 on our list, but #1 in our hearts. We are happy Salesforce customers ourselves and are proud to be a part of their AMAZING trailblazer community. Use Salesforce to manage all of your marketing, sales, services, and team activity. Their super sleek interface is easy-to-use and will revolutionize how you and your team handle business. Be sure to try out their free trial. Plus, if you sign up now, you can get 3 months of G Suite by Google Cloud for free! :D
59. Grow your business with Hubspot
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing platform. It includes a CRM, marketing suite, and sales suite that keep all your customer history in one place to use across all your sales and marketing programs. The free starter plans have tons of features to get you off the ground so you can upgrade when you’re ready to really grow your business.
60. Automate physical mail with Lob
We all get mail. But unlike email, we can’t filter our physical mail into a spam filter. Physical mail is still a very real and valuable marketing channel. With Lob, you can automate and customize your physical mail campaigns so you stand out in the stack when recipients empty their mailboxes. You can send mass campaigns to zip codes or integrate with apps like Autopilot so your customers receive on-demand physical mail based on digital actions.
61. Send better email with MailChimp
MailChimp is still a powerhouse for sending emails to your subscribers and customers. You can automate your emails so they send based on user actions like clicking specific links. It has a super simple drag-and-drop email builder and plans that scale with your business.
62. Keep your email marketing simple with ConvertKit
ConvertKit is email marketing designed for bloggers by bloggers. They focus on email deliverability and automation so your emails get to the inbox and have the right message at the right time. Unlike some other email marketing platforms, ConvertKit only charges based on the number of subscribers, not on the number of emails sent. This makes it a great option so you only pay more as your business grows regardless of the number of emails you send to your subscribers.
63. Automate your e-commerce marketing with Drip
Drip is intelligent e-commerce marketing automation. It integrates with everything including e-commerce platforms, membership platforms, payment processors, CRMs, and Zapier. Drip lets you create automated, action-based marketing campaigns to keep your customers engaged and buying your products. It’s used by tons of marketers for its ease of use and massive collection of integrations.
64. Start a newsletter in minutes with Revue
If you just want to curate content and grow a following, Revue is for you. Start curating the internet and sending a daily, weekly, or monthly newsletter in no time. Revue has a Chrome plugin so you can save content to a library then drag and drop it into your templated newsletter. You also get a custom landing page to make subscriber signup easy. It has a free plan to get you started so you don’t pay anything until you’ve started growing your list.
65. Start a sponsored newsletter with Curated
Use Curated if you want to add sponsored content to your email newsletters. Curated lets you create newsletters by creating a curated library of content then adding it to your newsletter template. But it’s most powerful feature is the sponsored content tool which makes it easy to sell sponsored content slots for your newsletter. Advertisers can request a slot and submit content for you to approve and add to your newsletter in a few clicks.
66. Make building lead pages easy with… Leadpages
Leadpages helps you generate leads and sales for your business on the web, in emails, via text messaging, and on social media. Its simple lead page builder is hard to beat and it integrates with everything from Facebook Ads to email marketing platforms.
67. Create sales funnels, collect payments, and pay affiliates with Clickfunnels
Clickfunnels is an all-in-one sales funnel platform. It has an easy to use drag-and-drop page editor, allows you to process payments, and includes affiliate tools so anyone can get paid to promote your products and services. Fun Fact, they give out annual awards to users who make it into the “two comma club” by selling over $1,000,000 in products or services using Clickfunnels.
68. Outsource everything with Upwork
Hiring and managing freelancers from around the world is easy with Upwork. You can find people from anywhere to do almost anything and pay them by the hour or by the project. It takes minutes to post a project for free and you aren’t required to hire any of the applicants if none of them are a good fit. They also have a premium service that will hire freelancers for you from a vetted pool of the best freelancers on Upwork.
69. Get anything done for as little as $5 with Fiverr
Fiverr is great for simple, quick tasks and projects when you don’t want to pay a lot of money. Freelancers turn their services into products so the pricing is simple and straightforward. Most tasks start at just $5 and are delivered with 24 to 48 hours.
70. Toptal hooks you up with the best developers and designers in the world
If you need custom software development or app design, go to Toptal. Toptal’s community of developers and designers is limited to the top 3% of freelancers of applicants so you know you’re working with the best. Toptal puts their freelancers through a rigorous screening process before allowing them on the platform which means you can hire in 0–3 weeks instead of vetting freelancers for months. You’ll pay more than you would on a marketplace like Upwork but the quality and customer experience will make up for the price difference.
71. Create quick how-to videos with Soapbox
Soapbox makes it easy to create quick screen capture videos. I use it to create how-to videos for clients and friends but it’s also a great way to document processes for yourself. Install the Chrome extension and you’re ready to start capturing your screen. The best part — Soapbox includes storage for all of your videos via Wistia (which happens to be the creator of Soapbox).
72. Visualize your business with Lucidchart
Complex processes are hard to explain and are crucial to remember. Lucidchart is a great tool to build visual process diagrams so you can document your company’s processes. Use process diagrams to explain how things work to investors, employees, or clients. Visual explanations are a much better way to close deals than written explanations alone.
73. Turn your processes into digital checklists with Process Street
If you’ve read the Checklist Manifesto then you know the immense value of checklists for keeping processes on track. Process Street makes it easy to turn your processes into checklists. You can then assign those checklists to employees and track progress on processes across your company. These are great for tasks like employee on-boarding, marketing campaigns, and other complex processes where you can’t afford to miss any steps.
74. Automate your human processes with Pipefy
You can’t automate everything in your business — some tasks will always have human requirements. Pipefy helps you optimize those tasks by standardizing your business processes and automating parts of them with templates. And it integrates with Zapier so you can use actions in your other business software to trigger processes in Pipefy.
75. Start collecting digital payments with Stripe
Getting a merchant account from a bank to process payments can be a headache. Stripe can have you setup and ready to receive payments in minutes. It has an easy builder if you need to collect payments within your app or on your website. It powers payments for organizations big and small including Target, Lyft, UNICEF, and Instacart.
76. Square turns your phone into a point of sale system
Square makes it easy to process payments for brick and mortar businesses. It’s used at coffee shops, restaurants, barbers, auto shops, and thousands of retailers across the country. You can turn any phone or tablet into a point-of-sale system by downloading the Square Register app and attaching the card reader. If you’ll need a point-of-sale system to run your business, you should definitely get Square.
77. Collect payments globally with Paypal
Paypal is another staple for almost every business. Allowing your customers to pay with Paypal immediately builds trust due to Paypal’s top of the line fraud protection for both businesses and consumers. It can also be integrated with most other platforms where you’ll be selling and includes easy invoicing tools. Unlike Square and Stripe, you can also make payments from your Paypal account so it’s a great way to keep your business transactions separate from personal transactions until you get your business bank account.
78. Find out what your competitors are using with Builtwith
BuiltWith lets you see the tools and apps that any website is using. You can enter the domain of the site at Builtwith.com or install the Chrome extension to get the info while you’re on the website itself. You can also use BuiltWith to find all the sites that are using a specific app or service. For example, if you’re a Shopify developer and want to get new clients, you could download a list of all the sites that are using Shopify (for a fee of course).
79. Mention tells you who is talking about your brand
Mention is great for finding news on topics related to your company or finding people who are talking about your company. You can set up alerts so you’re notified when your brand is mentioned on social media or blog posts so you can join the conversation. You can also set up notifications to spy on your competitors so you’re always on top of what’s happening across the competitive landscape.
80. Get free appointment scheduling with Calendly
Scheduling meetings is a huge headache with back and forth emails that seem to never end. Calendly makes the process simple with appointment booking that looks great on all devices. It integrates with your calendar so you’re never double-booked and can collect payments if you charge for meetings. They just rolled out a chrome extension that lets you easily add calendar availability to your emails.
81. Acuity Scheduling automates your appointment scheduling
If you have complex appointment scheduling with multiple people and resources then you should check out Acuity Scheduling. It makes appointment scheduling easy with calendar integration, resource management, automated emails, embeddable booking forms, and tons of other features. Fun fact: their entrepreneur plan is free if you build your website on Squarespace.
82. Track your team’s time with Harvest
Harvest makes managing the tasks, time, and expenses for projects easy. This is a great tool for small teams where it’s crucial to track how much time and money you’re spending on a project. Your team can track their time from anywhere whether on their computer or their phone. You can create estimates and send invoices all from within the Harvest platform. Harvest takes the headaches out of running an hourly or project based business.
83. Toggl lets you track time everywhere
Toggl is ideal time tracking for individuals. Their Chrome extension allows you to track time from all the project management apps above and it has apps so you can track your time even when you’re offline. Toggl will help you ensure you’re staying on budget for projects from anywhere.
84. Automate your shift workers’ scheduling with When I Work
Managing shift workers is hard. Scheduling hours, tracking when employees trade shifts, calculating hours and submitting payments. When I Work solves all these problems. It includes features that let your employees trade shifts, check in to their shift based on their location, and request time off all from their mobile phones or computer. Managing shift workers is easy with When I Work. Oh and it’s free for up to 75 users.
85. Magic is your on-demand assistant
Most business owners could use an assistant. Actually, we could all use an assistant. Magic is the easiest way to get help on any task immediately. With Magic, you text your request and someone from their team will begin working on it. You pay 59 cents per minute with no startup fees or subscription fees. It’s simple, straightforward and immediately valuable.
86. Fancy Hands is your simple virtual assistant
If you want a more predictable rate than Magic, check out Fancy Hands. Fancy Hands charges a flat monthly rate for a specific number of tasks. Each request can be something that will take up to 20 minutes. You can submit via text, phone, or app and their 100% US-based assistants will begin work. Tasks rollover if you don’t use them all in a single month. They can do all kinds of tasks such as scheduling meetings, purchasing products or services, and making calls on your behalf. They also have a team plan so everyone on your team can make requests from a single allocation of tasks per month. Fancy Hands is the easiest way to immediately hire an on-demand assistant at a predictable, low rate.
87. Tasks Everyday is your $6.98/hour virtual assistant
If you need someone that can do a lot more than a few tasks per month, check out Tasks Everyday. Their virtual assistants cost as little as $6.98 per hour and are based in India and the Philippines. Tasks Everyday is great because they take all the headaches out of the hiring process. When you sign up, they do a deep dive into your needs to determine the exact skills that your assistant will need. Then they either match you with an assistant in their current workforce or find and hire one for you. Your assistant works on a set schedule that you choose via text, phone, or a task manager like Trello. Because this is a managed service, you can request a different assistant if yours isn’t working out and your account manager will find a new one. Tasks Everyday is ideal if you have ongoing tasks that can be handed down to an admin assistant.
88. Zirtual is your US based virtual assistant
If you want an hourly, dedicated, US-based virtual assistant, check out Zirtual. Zirtual provides virtual assistants on a monthly subscription that includes a set number of hours. Their lowest tier plan includes 12 hours for $398 per month. Assistants are available via phone, text, and email during set hours. All of the assistants are college educated, available on a set schedule, and are dedicated to you so you’re working with the same person every time.
89. Amazon Fulfillment packs and ships your products for you
Shipping your products to customers is a headache. You need to buy boxes and packing materials, pack your products safely, then bring them to a shipping service like UPS, Fedex or the post office. Amazon Fulfillment takes care of all of this for you. You ship your products in bulk to Amazon and they will pick, pack, and ship items to your customers for a flat rate. Amazon Fulfillment integrates with e- commerce platforms like Shopify so you can focus on selling your products instead of fulfilling them.
90. Turn your designs into print on-demand products with Printful
Listen up designers, photographers, and musicians. Creating merchandise from your designs, photos, or brand sounds like a daunting task. Printful takes the headaches out of the process by printing your products as customers buy them. There are no minimum orders and they have tons of products including shirts, hats, leggings, canvas prints, and more! Printful is a full white label service so products are shipped to your customers under your brand name. You never have to buy inventory up-front and can focus completely on creating great designs and marketing your brand. The best features is their mockup generator which creates mockups of shirts, hats, and other products then pushes them directly to platforms like Shopify so you’re ready to sell in minutes. Printful is the easiest way to create an online store filled with products in just a few hours.
91. Simplify your HR and benefits with Zenefits
HR is every business owner’s nightmare. Simplify it with Zenefits. From on-boarding to medical benefits, Zenefits makes it easy to run the HR for your business. With straightforward per-employee pricing and tons of add-ons, you’ll be sure to find the perfect setup for your company for a surprisingly low price.
92. Overhaul your payroll and HR with Gusto
Gusto makes payroll and HR easy. With Gusto, you’re able to pay not only your full time employees but also your 1099 employees all from one simple platform. 70% of their customers spend 5 minutes or less on payroll and 93% of their customers say their platform is easier than traditional payroll providers. Check out Gusto if you hate doing payroll.
93. Keep employees happy with Bonusly
Employee recognition is a crucial component of employee retention. Bonusly makes it easy to recognize and reward your employees for great work. For less than $5 per employee per month you’ll have a system where employees can reward each other with points. Employees can redeem the points for rewards from tons of brands including Apple, Amazon, Target, and many others.
94. Freshdesk to get customer interactions out of your inbox
If you have customers, you’re doing customer support. You’re probably handling those by phone, chat, email, and multiple social platforms. You need to get those interactions into a customer support platform. Freshdesk makes it simple to create a central location for all your customer interactions. It’s easy to get started and makes customer support a scalable process overnight.
95. Customer support on steroids with Zendesk
Some of the biggest tech companies use Zendesk to make their customer relationships memorable. With tons of features and integrations, Zendesk is a great choice if you have complex customer support requirements and need deep integrations and customization.
96. Intercom for light but powerful customer success
Intercom makes interacting with your customers easy. From the moment a visitor arrives at your site, Intercom logs their activity so you are fully prepared if they ask a question. You can have real-time chat, centralized customer support, and a searchable knowledge-base on your site in no time with Intercom. It also integrates with tons of other services so you can automatically share data across your business.
97. Olark to live-chat with visitors to your website
Maybe you just want to chat with the visitors to your site in real-time? With Olark, you can add live-chat to your site in minutes. It’s a great tool if you have site visitors and want to be able to answer their questions without spinning up a full customer support platform like Freshdesk, Zendesk, or Intercom.
98. 99. 100. Hire an army of on-demand writers with Scripted, Writers Access, and Crowd Content
Content is king — but only if it’s good content. Get on-demand content written for your business from industry experts and channel-specific experts. From product descriptions to blog posts to entire e-books, Writers Access, Scripted, and Crowd Content will have you covered. Most allow you to pay by the word and you can get a blog post written for less than $100.
101. Protect your eyes with GUNNARS
We’re big fans of GUNNAR over at The Mission. Their team is awesome, and we’ve even published a story about all the problems presented by digital eye strain and how to protect your peepers! Staring at digital devices all day will destroy your eyesight — and unfortunately, many of the tools we mentioned above do require screen time.
If you’re like us and work behind the faint blue glow of laptops, computers, and phones, we strongly recommend getting a pair of these bad boys.
102. Learn how to leverage the global economy with The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
This book is not about working only four hours per week — it’s about leveraging the power of technology and connectivity to make your business run effectively and efficiently. It’s also about lifestyle design — so you know if you’re even building the right business to live a happier life. If you want to build a profitable, competitive business alongside a happier life for you and your family, read The 4-Hour Workweek.
103. Remove your limiting thoughts with The Magic of Thinking Big
There are over seven billion people in the world. That number is so huge that we can barely comprehend it. The Magic of Thinking Big will help you destroy your limiting thoughts and get excited about the massive possibilities for your business and your life. Thinking too small can hurt your will to push forward on the hard days as an entrepreneur. Thinking big keeps you pushing every day.
104. Understand the future of work with Remote
From the authors: “As an employer, restricting your hiring to a small geographic region means you’re not getting the best people you can. As an employee, restricting your job search to companies within a reasonable commute means you’re not working for the best company you can. REMOTE shows both employers and employees how they can work together, remotely, from any desk, in any place, anytime, anywhere.”
From me: You won’t succeed in the long run unless you’re comfortable hiring and leading remotely.
105. Get advice from the world’s top performers with Tools of Titans
I read passages from this book every morning. Get bite-size but actionable life lessons from the world’s top performers in this massive book compiled from Tim Ferriss’s podcast. We give this one 10 out of 10 stars.
Phew! There are LOTS of tools there — all of which can add major value to and grow your business. Don’t let 2018 be just another year. Instead, use these amazing apps, gadgets, and platforms to make it the year that your company takes off.
What did we miss? Let us know your preferred tools for automating, tracking, and growing your business in the comments below. :)
About the Author
Aaron Saari is the CEO of ThisIsGrowth. He builds custom, automated marketing systems for startups, small businesses, and solo entrepreneurs. Need help setting up these apps and the systems to grow your company? Get in touch with Aaron at www.thisisgrowth.com.
4 comentarios en «The 105 Best Tools to Start Your Business in 2018»
I used http://www.zerobounce.net and it is an amazing platform for online email validation that is created to ensure companies avoid email bounces. This is accomplished by identifying invalid, abuse, spam-trap, and other hard bounce email addresses. They also provide a real-time API for email verification on your platform.
Thanks I will try it!
Wow, this article was really helpful! I found several cool tools that I’m already using. Also, I recommend few more tools to this list:
– Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com): English-language writing-enhancement platform
– Oxyleads (https://www.oxyleads.com): lead generation and digital prospecting platform
– Trello (https://trello.com): a web-based project management application
Thanks!! I will try them!!