Running a business is a TON of work and software is an important part to any business. When you’re running a business there are problems that come up or efficiencies that could be increased. This is where some well placed software can really help. At some point there is usually the discussion of build vs. buy when it comes to applications. We are huge fans of understanding what is out there before even contemplating building. In our experience, buy has usually worked out better long term.
Some of the solutions below actually might have some crossover. What a law firm needs vs a restaurant vs a tech company can be completely different. Also there could be bundled options.
We wanted to give you an ever evolving list of some of the best software options for your business. We will be breaking it down and giving you some options regardless of the type of software that could be applicable for you.
These days, having a website is crucial for any business. The first time someone hears about your business or is actively searching for it, they are going to be looking online. Days of the physical phone book are pretty much dead. People will want to see where you are located and what you are all about. Even if you have a physical location, YOU MUST HAVE A WEBSITE. No questions asked.
While this isn’t really a software solution, we wanted to include this in here as it is the first step in creating a website. You’ll need to register a domain name with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. (ICANN) You’ll do this through entities that are able to do this… while there are a ton out there, these are a few of the bigger players. Feel free to search for more, they are a dime a dozen and it doesn’t really matter who you register with. We just wanted to give you somewhere to start.
As one of the biggest companies in the world they are a trustworthy option. Here is the link to do this: https://domains.google/
These guys were one of the early entities that were actually doing this well at large scale. We’ve heard that their customer success has kind of fallen off, but, they have an easy platform to register your domain.
These guys make it easy to run and host everything in one platform and are pretty user friendly. If you are going to go with WordPress as your website software (more below), then these guys make it super easy all in one place. **disclaimer that their shared hosting does leave some to be desired
WebSite Building Software
So after you have your shiny new domain name registered, it is time to get down to brass tacks on what you want to build your website around. This is going to come down to what type of business you are building.
WordPress powers more than half the world’s websites, so it is a proven option for those who want to build a robust and adaptable website that can be improved with time. You can choose from thousands of themes, both free and premium, that give your website a unique and professional look.
Benefits of WordPress really is the fact that it is the leading content management system for doing a website and SUPER flexible. You can also add all sorts of plugins which means you can get something up quick and for a low cost. You’ll need to host something like this on a Bluehost like commented on above.
Squarespace is a comprehensive web-building tool that enables you to create stunning websites with professional themes.
These guys do full hosting so you can basically pay a monthly fee and have a great hosted website. Their interface is easy for novices with their click and drag system to allow you to edit the website. They have lots of add ons but definitely aren’t as flexible as something like a WordPress.
Wix is another comprehensive website building tool that allows you to create full websites without needing to know code. It competes with Squarespace. It will come down to personal preference on which one you’d like to use for your business.
If you are going the ecommerce route, this is a great place to start.
Shopify is built to cater specifically to e-commerce businesses that want to build a complete online store. With this service, you build your entire store on the Shopify platform and handle everything from marketing and payment options to shipping on the platform.
The downside is that you’ll be paying an ever increasing monthly cost for everything that you are adding on here, including the monthly hosting. The benefit is that this thing runs super smoothly and usually will be able to handle the traffic of any sort of ecommerce store you’d want to run.
This is the other big player when it comes to ecommerce stores. The hard part with any ecommerce store is merchandising and inventory management. BigCommerce packs all this together in a nice package so that it is easy for you to manage and run your store.
Now this is an important piece of any business. When you have a business this is is a crucial to make sure all your pennies are accounted for. Also you need to make sure that your employees are paid and you can account for taxes at the turn of the year.
QuickBooks is a comprehensive accounting software suite with all the modules you need to carry out the accounting functions of your small business. It is familiar and a staple in many small businesses.
Xero is also a complete and robust software suite for all your business accounting needs. The major difference between it and QuickBooks is that everything is hosted in the cloud, which means you don’t have to download or install anything on your office computers, and you can access it from any location with an internet connection.
FreshBooks accounting software is comprehensive and is designed primarily for small businesses in the service industry.
Wave has the unique advantage that it is entirely free. It offers lots of functionality, including invoicing, bookkeeping, payroll and much more.
This is one of the big ones. They have a lot of add ons so you can run payroll smoothly.
Another big player in the payroll realm.
Payment Transaction Software
When it comes to online payments, PayPal is the largest platform in the world. With it, you accept payments made through the PayPal and credit card payments for your online store. The payment platform handles everything from security and processing to compatibility issues.
Install a checkout plug-in on your online store with Stripe so that you can take advantage of the various payment forms the platform supports. This tends to be more popular as it is more flexible, however, it is less the industry standard as much as PayPal is.
Document Signing Software
These guys are the king of the online document signing industry. They actually purchased HelloSign so there is less competition.
Expense Management Software
Concur is a platform that really rolls expenses and travel into one. If your company is planning to do either of those, Concur has a great system to make it easy on your employees.
Started in San Francisco, Expensify is a newer player to the expense tracking realm. Originally they had a really slick app which was miles ahead of the competition but not as much anymore. They are a good play if you don’t want the mega company that Concur is.
HubSpot is a full-fledged marketing suite that offers all kinds of packages, including customer relationship management (CRM), sales, and much more to help you build a robust marketing platform for your customers.
InfusionSoft is automation software that handles both your sales and marketing as well as various CRM tasks including lead gathering and conversions.
Marketo is an all-inclusive marketing package that handles and automates just about everything, from the management of leads to email marketing.
Email Marketing Software
Design unique email marketing campaigns and automate them with AWeber. It includes integration with sites such as WordPress for even more versatility.
MailChimp is an email marketing campaign creation and automation service you use to customize your campaigns and integrate them with Shopify and other e-commerce platforms.
With Constant Contact’s drag-and-drop model, you use templates in conjunction with automation and real-time reporting to create effective email marketing campaigns.
Social Media Marketing Software
Stay on top of everything going on at Twitter with TweetDeck. Use it to create hashtags and searches and also to get alerts when new content is generated on the site.
Buffer is a creation and scheduling tool used to create engaging content that is then posted on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Hootsuite is an all-in-one social media marketing tool for listening in on what’s hot and what’s not on social media and creating and scheduling your content for posting on all social media sites. It includes reporting functionality for analyzing your social presence on the fly.
Advertising Campaign Software
Use OutBrain to reach more people through pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on some of the largest sites on the internet, including CNN and Forbes.
Create search marketing campaigns for text-based searches with AdWords. You are in full control of the ad expense because the marketing campaign is dependent on your budget. You can pick keywords that you want to bid on and decide on the precise targeting parameters for your ads.
Use Bing Ads to create search marketing campaigns for the Bing search engine’s results pages, which gives you high value for your money.
SEO and Content Marketing Software
Moz is a powerful tool that navigates the world of online paid advertising and search marketing simply and effectively.
Contently helps you with your content marketing by generating and executing content on your behalf through the help of freelancers.
SumoMe provides powerful web analytics that help you to optimize your landing pages, boost your social shares, and build email lists for your email marketing campaigns.
Sales CRM Software
This is the 500 pound gorilla that is used by the majority of any sales team at any larger enterprise. At its simplest form, it is a way for sales teams to manage deals in their pipeline. More macro level it can be used as a platform and has a ton of different add ons that can help you streamline your business around sales.
Customer Service Software
Zendesk is a comprehensive tool that gives you a powerful help desk solution that not only allows you to provide better customer service to your customers but also delivers data on customer engagement that you can use to improve your customer service.
Project Management Software
Basecamp is a powerful productivity app that allows the entire team to collaborate on a project with extra functionality such as file and document sharing, to-do lists and messaging.
Trello is another productivity app that goes above and beyond what is expected. With this tool, you can create team boards with lists and cards based on team projects or individual projects, give each a deadline, and cross them off as they are completed.
Productivity and Notekeeping Apps
Evernote makes it possible to remember everything you need to do in one digital notebook. If you love taking paper notes, then you’ll love Evernote.
Everyone in the corporate world is on Linkedin these days. The power of this platform is that it is the network that connects people and one of the first places people look when searching for a job.
Greenhouse is a great candidate management system. They allow both your recruiters and hiring managers to have an easy system to take notes on candidates and give feedback.
You probably know this company by now. They definitely lead the arena ever since the COVID crisis. They are know for being user friendly but not the best when it comes to security. Pricing tends to reflect that.
Webex is from Cisco Systems and is one of the most secure video conferencing softwares you can use. While it doesn’t come cheap, you will know that from a security stand point that your conversations will be kept to just the people invited.
Networking & Security
Hands down the best networking platform (owned by Cisco). If you need to put in networking equipment in your building or office space, then this will be the easiest option. Plug in the hardware and manage it from anywhere via their cloud dashboard.
Basic dual factor authentication. Very important and a simple tool that allows all your employees to have this on all their devices. Now owned by Cisco.
Also known as Amazon Web Services, they are probably the industry leading cloud. Incredibly easy to get started and to scale. Like most cloud platforms, they do become very expensive at large scale so be ready for that.
This is Microsoft’s version of AWS. The great thing is it tends to integrate better with most Microsoft products and since you probably already have Microsoft in your environment, makes it so there are less vendors to keep track of.
Google has been slower in the cloud computing race. They do have a good product and are incredibly easy from a usability standpoint.
Document Management Software
Document management software is among the most common computer programs used in offices, and you can do it all in one place with Google Drive. Create and store all types of documents, including slide presentations, spreadsheets, and word documents in the cloud where you can access them from just about anywhere.
Microsoft’s full office suite provides a way to create, edit and store in the cloud any Microsoft format document, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Then, you can access it from any of up to five devices.
DropBox gives you the opportunity to collaborate on files, share them, store them, and back them up in the cloud. The files are all automatically synced across all your devices.
Communication and Messaging Software
Skype is a video and audio calling tool as well as a messaging platform. Your team can use it to keep in touch with one another and your customers through many channels, including VoIP, landline and mobile calls.
Slack focuses on team communication and collaboration by forming specific channels that cater to particular departments and projects. They tend to be the favorite of most end users when it comes to chat platform.
There is an incredible amount of software out in the world. We wanted to focus on some of the more popular brands for common needs across the majority of businesses that we service.
We sell a lot of the software listed above, take a look on our main home page: www.auresma.com!