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Top 20 Small Business Tools for Online Entrepreneurs

Posted 01 July, 2014
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Top_20_Small_Business_Tools_for_Online_Entrepreneurs-lssmall business toolsI love finding the best online tools for entrepreneurs.

That's why I interviewed over 500 entrepreneurs to ask them about their favorite tools.

In this post I share the small business tools they recommend.

Many of the tools were new to me, including:

  • TextExpander for Chrome -- a tool that lets you create custom keyboard shortcuts
  • AwesomeScreenshot -- a free Chrome extension that lets you take & edit screenshots
  • ScheduleOnce -- a free scheduling app that hooks you up with a personalized calendar URL

But these 3 are just a taste of the small business tools recommended by these entrepreneurs.

Below I share their top recommendations by tool category. So scroll down & enjoy!

And if you want the full list, you can get my book from Amazon.

Top 20 Small Business Tools for Online Entrepreneurs

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1. Accounting & Legal


Personal budget & finance software for individuals, couples & small businesses.

Track your income, expenses, debt, and more in an attractive & intuitive interface.

The software is $60 after a 34-day trial.

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2. Calendar Management


Free, integrated, online appointment scheduling tool.

Syncs with Google Calendar & you can block off certain times each week as available for meetings.

Premium features start at $5 per month & include multiple calendar options & meeting reminder emails.

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3. Communication & Meetings


Free voice & video calls.

Now owned by Microsoft, Skype is the leader in VOIP calling. It’s a tool I use every day to communicate with team members, contractors, podcast guests, and other entrepreneurs.

Premium features include calling landlines & cell phones -- along with screen sharing.

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4. Content Creation (tie)


Free online image editing tool.

Another one that's new to me. PicMonkey is very easy to use & helps make fun, shareable graphics for blog posts & social media.

You can unlock premium fonts & other features for $33 per year.


Word processor for authors.

Scrivener makes it easy to map, outline, research, compose, and edit your long-form book projects. Because not all writing takes place linearly, traditional word processing programs like Word make it difficult for longer writing projects.

The cost is $40.

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5. Customer Relationship Management


Robust CRM software.

Infusionsoft helps businesses automate their marketing processes, manage emails, organize their efforts, and sell online.

Infusionsoft starts at $199 per month.

>> Click to Tweet

                    12 Secret Facebook Features Every Marketer Should Be Using            

6. Ecommerce & Payments (tie)


Shopping cart software for digital products.

Gumroad is checkout software that easily installs on any website. Its look & feel promotes high-converting checkout processes, and the software can automate delivery of digital goods & support pay-what-you-want pricing.

Gumroad is free to set up & charges 5% of each transaction.


Build an online store.

Shopify is a leading ecommerce service provider, allowing customers to integrate a shopping experience directly on top of their own website. Shopify helps with inventory management & order & payment processing.

Shopify starts at $29 per month, plus transaction fees.

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7. Education


Leading search engine.

I hesitated to include Google because I take it for granted. The search engine got several votes & for good reason, it’s probably the online resource I use more than anything else.

>> Click to Tweet

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8. Email



Free email spam testing tool.

MailGenius inspects your emails and finds possible triggers that might get your message sent to the spam folder.

Be sure to run a deliverability test to ensure your email actually reaches your recipient’s inbox. Otherwise, it won’t be opened.


Shows contact details & social connections in your inbox.

Rapportive is a free Gmail plug-in that replaces your sidebar with relevant details of who you’re emailing with. You’ll see a picture, their location, their social media links, and even your past email conversations with them.

It’s a handy tool that can even be used to guess email addresses for strangers using common email structures (like firstname@companyname.com). If Rapportive shows a name & picture, you know you’ve got a match.

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9. Entertainment


20 million songs on demand.

Spotify is a free streaming music player app for computers, tablets, and smartphones. Listen to the latest hits, your classic favorites, or discover up-and-coming new artists.

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10. File Sharing & Storage

Google Drive / Google Docs

Web-based office software & file sharing.

Google Drive is Google’s cloud-based file storage system, and it integrates seamlessly with the file sharing & collaboration tools inside Google Docs. I relied on Google Docs extensively while compiling this book project because it meant my virtual assistant helpers & I could all work on the same file at once.

Drive is free for up to 15 GB of storage.

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11. Health & Wellness

small-business-toolsGratitude Journal

Improve your happiness.

Science says people who keep a daily gratitude journal are happier than those who don’t, so why wouldn’t you? It takes just a couple minutes a day, and this Happy Tapper app costs just $0.99.

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12. Marketing


Suite of online marketing tools & content.

Moz (formerly SEOmoz) offers an array of products, services, and content for the online marketing professional. Find out how to rank your site better in the search results & beat your competition.

A Moz Pro subscription is $99 per month.

>> Click to Tweet

13. Networking


Local events matching your interests.

Use Meetup.com to find local gatherings & networking events in your niche.

Meetup is always free for attendees, and if you want to host a group it’s just $5 per month.

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14. News


Curated news app.

Flipboard (which acquired Zite) is a free news app for tablets & smartphones.

It has a beautiful user interface & will pull in stories from your social media connections as well. You can easily flip through the stories & read in more detail those that interest you.

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15. Outsourcing


Marketplace for goods & services starting at $5.

Fiverr is a tremendous resource for small business owners – no it’s not just for prank calls & silly dances. You’ll be surprised at the variety & depth of truly useful $5 services.

I’ve gotten WordPress help, articles written, graphics created, ebook covers made, and more.

>> Click to Tweet

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16. Productivity


Powerful, free cross-device note-taking app.

Create an "external brain" with Evernote & share & sync notes & files in the cloud.

Any flash of inspiration can be saved in Evernote. Just create a notebook & save the notes in there. The tool has numerous features, including sharing, file attachments, reminders, and voice memos.

Evernote Premium is $5 per month or $45 per year.

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17. Social Media


Professional social network.

I was surprised to see LinkedIn as the most recommended social media resource, a strong indicator that LinkedIn is an overlooked tool for entrepreneurs.

Use LinkedIn to highlight your accomplishments, share your content, and connect with other professionals.

You can also use LinkedIn groups to make connections with like-minded people & to share content.

Premium accounts start at $24 per month.

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18. Team & Project Management


Teamwork without email.

Asana is a web-based project management system. Asana has become an integral part of life for many entrepreneurs.

Users can create & assign tasks to themselves or other team members, and all members can have access to the tasks & comment & update their progress.

Asana is free for teams of up to 15 people. After that, premium plans start at $50 per month.

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19. Travel (tie)


Peer-to-peer lodging network.

Airbnb is the high-flying startup that’s making waves in the hotel industry by giving individual homeowners the chance to rent out their spare bedrooms & couches.

Prices vary by location & amenities, but generally range from $50 to $200 per night.


Find out what’s nearby.

The free AroundMe smartphone app helps you discover nearby restaurants, cafes, ATMs, parks, and other attractions.

You can also search by keyword or store name for more specific results.


Travel organization tool.

Forward your travel confirmation emails to TripIt & the free service will build a personalized itinerary that you can access from any device.

A pro version is $49 per year, which unlocks mobile alerts & the ability to automatically share your itinerary with the people you choose.

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20. Websites, Blogs & Podcasts

Entrepreneur on Fire

Your daily dose of inspiration.

Entrepreneur on Fire is a daily interview podcast hosted by John Lee Dumas. Seven days a week he talks through an entrepreneurial journey with a new guest, including their successes & failures, favorite tactics & resources, and more.

>> Click to Tweet

Your Turn

What’s missing? What are your favorite small business tools and resources? Leave a comment below & let us know!

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