Let me guess. You’re on the hunt for your new favorite small business tools and software that will help you help your business—emphasis on the last part. As an entrepreneur myself, I understand the struggle.
Over the years, I’ve narrowed down a few favorites that I keep coming back to again and again; now, I use these small business tools and software every day without fail to keep my personal and professional lives organized.
I’ve split my 12 favorites into two categories to make your search easier. First is digital software, and second is gadgets and tech.
Tools and Software I Use to Run My Small Business
Let’s jump right into my essential business tools; time waits for no one!
If you ask me, Excel and Word are the two most useful tools in the Microsoft Office Suite. I use these religiously for my own business doings and for client work. Sometimes I just prefer to use a good old-fashioned Word document rather than a Google doc (I’m writing in Word right now). Word does have better functionality than Docs, and the same goes for Excel.
Though my go-to is Microsoft Word and Excel, I still rely on Google Docs and Sheets. If you work in a collaborative environment, Google Docs and Google Sheets are a must. I use Google Docs and Sheets almost every day to work on projects with my clients. It’s often easier than passing a static document back and forth when you have two, three, or more eyeballs that must pass over the project.
Again, Google is just a godsend with their free tools and software. Google Calendar may just be one of their most useful creations, and I’d be sad if they ever put up a paywall to use it. I have multiple Google Calendar calendars to separate out different layers of my life, such as personal dates, appointments, social media happenings, etc.
Pro tip: You can link specific calendars to software like Trello and Todoist, which I’ll get to in a minute.
Todoist is the end-all-be-all of list-making. Their entire software is built around making structured, organized lists, projects, and to-dos that you can check off and keep track of.
I’ve truly fallen in love with the Todoist platform and how easy it is to create lists and categorize them, organize my tasks and sub-tasks, and dump all my ideas and musings. You can connect your Todoist account to Trello and Google Calendar for cross-platform organization, adding a to-do to your synced calendar of choice.
Trello is strikingly similar to Todoist, though different in the sense that it is built for project management and team collaboration via Kanban boards. If you are not familiar with the Kanban board system, imagine index cards stacked one after the other in columns.
Each index card represents one part of the whole column. You’re breaking apart workflows and projects to better visualize said workflow or project. I personally love Trello for high-level project management, such as creating workflows for my YouTube video creation. You can also connect Trello to Todoist and Google Calendar for seamless integration.
The final software I use to run my business is Canva. Where do I begin? Canva is a game changer for someone like me who is not a professional graphic designer but needs to quickly create graphics for social media and the like. Their free subscription offers great value, but their paid subscription is insane. You get access to their entire collection of graphics, templates, images, elements, and custom branding settings.
Feel like your writing sucks? Grammarly. Not sure if you spelled that word correctly? Grammarly. As someone who literally writes for a living, I can’t imagine NOT using Grammarly. I use this tool every day without hesitation, and yes, I pay for the premium subscription to make the most of their software. You can use the Grammarly plugin for Chrome or Word, and they are in the beta phase for integrating with Google Docs.
Slack is the go-to tool for professional team-based communication. Now, Slack is not something I personally pay for or use for my clients. Any time I’ve joined a team as a temporary or contract hire, nine out of ten times they have a Slack channel that we use to communicate.
So, I’ve reaped the benefits of Slack second-hand enough to know how useful it is for teams to share files, instantly reach a co-worker or manager, host video or audio calls, and more.
Business Gadgets & Tech I Can’t Live Without
Beyond small business tools and software, these are the essential gadgets and tech-related gear that I use every single day as a small business owner.
HP Spectre Laptop
My laptop of choice is the HP Spectre x360 Convertible 15”.
- 11th Gen Intel Core i7
- Intel iRISxe Graphics
- 16GB RAM
This laptop is perfect for me as a business owner. It’s fast, reliable, functional, lightweight, and includes a numeric keypad and touchscreen. The screen resolution is *chef’s kiss* and the audio quality is fine for a computer.
However, if you plan on joining any video call, you WILL need an external webcam. Though this HP Spectre does come with a built-in webcam and mic, the quality is pretty disappointing. I’ve been using this sleek piece of tech for a year or two now, and it still works like a charm.
Your body posture will thank you for investing in a laptop riser! A laptop riser raises your laptop for better ergonomics and less strain on your neck. This has become the single most used and most loved gadget I’ve ever purchased.
Whenever I use my laptop, I use my LapGear Adjustable Lap Desk. I’m not exaggerating when I say I use it every day and would have immense neck pain without it. This specific laptop riser can fit laptops up to 15.6”.
Blue Light Glasses
Did you know that staring at a computer monitor, phone, or any electronic screen for long periods of time is bad for your eyes? Screens emit blue light that can cause unnecessary eye strain, so grab a pair of blue light glasses to reduce your eye’s blue light exposure.
My favorite pair of blue light glasses are the Aviator style from DIFF. I couldn’t find the exact pair on their site, but these are “SCOUT – GOLD + BLUE LIGHT TECHNOLOGY CLEAR.” Check them out in action (aka on my face).
I’m one of those people who still reach for their physical planner every day. If I didn’t have one, my life would be chaos. There is something more permanent and real about my day-to-day when it is written down on paper by hand.
Plus, if I don’t have internet access or my phone is dead, I can just whip out my planner and see what’s on the agenda for the day. It also allows me to jot down notes and scribbles as I please. Call me old-fashioned, but it works! I’m currently using this spiral-bound planner from Amazon, but I also equally LOVE the Ban.do planners.
That’s a wrap, folks! The tools I use for my business are constantly evolving, but I don’t see myself drifting away from any of the gadgets and software mentioned above. Drop a question or comment your favorite from this list!
P.S. Don’t forget to connect with me on social media too!
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*This article contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are genuine and my own.*