5 Awesome Tools for Small Businesses in 2016


Still managing projects with a Google Doc, tracking billable hours in an endless Excel chart, or juggling human resource benefits yourself?

In 2016, resolve to put an end to the madness. From straightforward accounting solutions to intuitive social media management tools, these five apps empower small business and entrepreneurs to do more with less.

Ready to save valuable time, money and sanity? Take your business to new heights with these tools for small business in 2016.

Tools for Small Business in 2016

Cloud Accounting: Wave

More than one million business owners trust Wave to track more than $60 billion in income and spending — all for free. Wave’s app suite includes solutions for invoicing, accounting, payroll and payments. It’s no surprise that their accounting tools are top performers: the accounting app is 100 percent free for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses with nine employees or less.

Wave eliminates the need for manual entry; simply connect Wave to your bank account, PayPal account, or other sources of data. Transactions automatically appear in the accounting list. Quickly generate professional reports including balance sheets and sale tax reports. And since Wave’s tools work seamlessly together, Wave’s small business payroll with automatically sync with accounting.

Human Resource Management: Zenefits

Zenefits is an all-in-one free, cloud-based software platform that gives your team a single place to manage all HR needs, including benefits, compliance, and payroll. Keep your existing insurance plans, pricing, and carriers, or set up new benefits include FSA, HRA and commuter options in just minutes.

Manage workers’ comp and COBRA compliance, safeguard your business with property and casualty insurance and manage retirement plan benefits including matching 401K contributions. Zenefits puts all your benefits together, online and automated, making life easier for you and your employees.

Project Management/Collaboration: Wrike

Wrike takes small businesses beyond traditional task and project management with a suite of features that makes team collaboration a piece of cake. (Really!) Wrike combines project management with a real-time workspace for dynamic discussion and document sharing. Stay on track with a birds-eye-view of your team’s workload and deadlines. Set priorities and align your team members to work smarter (not harder) whether they’re in the next cubicle or three time zones away.

Improve planning by tracking projects and ad hoc assignments all from one place. Even better, Wrike’s collaboration tools streamline communication and take project accountability to the next level so opportunities don’t slip through the cracks. One use and it’s easy to see why Gartner named Wrike a 2014 “Cool Vendor” in Social Software and Collaboration.

Billable Hours Tracking: Toggl

Let’s face it: tracking billable hours can be a real pain, especially when you hop from one project to the next. With Toggl, you’ll get one-click time tracking so you never lose a minute of billable time. Organize time by projects or tags, color code projects for easy visual time tracking, set billable rates for different hours, and instantly get an overview of weekly/monthly productivity with the dashboard.

Toggl was built specifically for project teams, so you at one glance you can quickly get an overview of your team’s performance. As an added bonus, Toggl easily integrates with other popular productivity apps like Asana and Trello. Bonus: Not sold on Toggl or Wave? Check out this list of 27 other popular time and expense tracking apps.

Social Media Management: Hootsuite

An oldie but a goodie, Hootsuite is a must for simplified social media management. Manage social networks, schedule messages, interact with your followers, and measure social media marketing ROI directly from a single dashboard. I’ve long been a fan of Hootsuite Pro, which is built specifically for small and medium businesses.

Manage up to 100 social profiles and keep tabs on your efforts with up to 10 enhanced analytics reports so you know what to tweak for better performance. The Pro version also includes a 30-day free trial. Bonus: TweetDeck and Buffer are two great alternative options.

Bottom line

As a solopreneur myself, I know how easy it can be to fall into a trap of thinking, “I can definitely handle all of this on my own!” But when the inevitable client emergency strikes, business management takes a backseat. The next thing you know, tax time has rolled around and you’re digging through stacks of paper to track down old invoices and receipts. Start the New Year off right by putting an end to these costly, time-consuming inefficiencies.

Which tools are a must for your SME? I welcome your feedback below.


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