We live in arguably the greatest time ever to start your own business. With virtually $0 in your pocket, you can get a great idea off the ground in just a few months with enough hard work and the right tools. And when you grow that business into the Unicorn you’ve been dreaming about, those same productivity tools will be right there to help you along.
Below, we’ve outlined the best tools for productivity that almost any business can take advantage of for any and every function. Check them out below, find the one that fits your needs, and revolutionize the way you and your employees get shift done.
When you’re dealing with a lot of remote workers, or employees who are trying to wear more than one hat, time management is essential. These are time trackers that can seamlessly integrate with other financial and scheduling tools that you use on a daily basis. This can help you not only streamline practices, but can also inform how you structure future employees’ workloads.
TimeLog is a British company that is bent on creating software that businesses at any level can use to optimize practices and meet objectives. To see if they can integrate well with your business, be sure to download their free checklist online.
Price: “Enterprise” £35/mo., “Business” £22/mo., “Basic” £12/mo., “Team” £8/mo.
Toggl is the timer you’ve always wanted. It measures how long you spend on any application or site, so that you can have a measured idea of where your time is going every day. You can improve your timesheets, your focus, and your results.
Price: “Business” $49/mo., “Pro” $5/mo., “Free” $0/mo.
Hours is most notable for its integration with mac products, including the Apple watch. It consolidates all of your time reports into a simple .csv or PDF, giving you a straightforward, well-designed report.
Price: Free (For a limited time)
Everhour has fantastic reporting that aggregates and analyzes your daily routine. Its smart customization has endless possibilities on viewing data ranges, making better use of your everyday tasks.
Price: $4 per user/mo.
Paydirt is specially designed for large agencies, and companies that rely on freelancers. There’s easy reporting, a large variation of currencies, and simply invoicing.
Price: “Agency” $149/mo., “Large Team” $79/mo., “Small Team” $49/mo., “Co-op” $29/mo., “Hustler” $16/mo., “Starter” $8/mo.
Timely is still coming into its own, but it’s a strong developing company that’s working to make those pesky time sheets a thing of the past. It’s got simple, painstakingly appealing design, and a responsive team that’s always looking to grow.
Price: “Regular” $14 per user/mo., “Free” $0 per user/mo.
Timecamp prides itself on being extremely intuitive and easy to use. Based on keywords, it can automatically track and sort your activity, so you don’t even need to keep track of your own work.
Price: “Pro” $9 per user/mo., “Basic” $6 per user/mo., “Freelancer” $0/mo.
Tick is able to track your time matched against your budget, helping you to run as efficiently as possible. Its smart design integrates easily into both Apple and Android products.
Price: “Unlimited Open Projects” $149/mo., “60 Open” $79/mo., “30 Open” $49/mo., “10 Open” $19/mo., “1 Open” $0/mo.
Harvest’s real time tracking not only helps you to stay on budget for your current task, but it also helps you to plan ahead for smart future projections on budget and time to make projects run more smoothly with every new move.
Price: “Business” $99/mo., “Basic” $49/mo., “Solo” $12/mo.
RescueTime focuses on learning your habits so that you can learn where you need to salvage the most of your time. It helps you to become cognizant of distractions, and shave time off where it’s weighing you down.
Price: “Premium” $72/yr. or $9/mo., “Lite” $0/mo.
All of our inboxes can feel like a mess at times. These tools may just be the saving grace that can get us to true inbox zero. Don’t let your emails become your master: take control of your inbox and let these tools do the work for you.
Simply put, contractually helps you to network smarter. You can keep track of new connections, remind yourself to follow up, and track the business results that follow from a well-maintained relationship
Price: “Enterprise” $99/mo., “Professional” $49/mo., “Basic” $29/mo.
EmailBee takes the concept of email signatures to a whole new level. Rather than the same closer every time, EmailBee lets you tack on a website or other footnote that can really stand out to a potential customer.
Price: “Gold” £20/mo., “Silver” £10/mo., “Basic” £0/mo.
Similar to contractually, Content Marketer helps you to be smart about building relationships. It helps you to track down the influencers you want to reach out to, and gives you a centralized place to keep those relationships up.
Price: “Marketer” $49/mo., “Agency” Contact for Quote
Bundle allows you to group together and share massive amounts of photos with a designated collection of people. This saves you both Dropbox space and the need to fret over compressed email files.
Price: “Bundle Backup” $5/mo., “Bundle Connect” $1/mo., “Bundle Free” $0/mo.
Handle is the to-do list we’ve all been waiting for. It seamlessly integrates your email and calendar with your to-dos, helping you to stay on top of your daily challenges without ever having to leave the comfort of your inbox.
Boomerang helps you manage your inbox without forcing you to stay glued to it all day. Set follow up reminders, schedule email release times, and never let an unanswered email slip through the cracks again.
Price: “Premium” $49.99/mo., “Pro” $14.99/mo., “Personal” $4.99/mo. “Basic” $0/mo.
Yesware feels like a dream. See when people opened your emails, see what they clicked on, and more importantly what they didn’t. It will help you to better understand the people you’re talking to, and help you to be a better emailer.
Price: “Enterprise” $40 per user/mo., “Team” $20 per user/mo., “Pro” $12 per user/mo., “Free” $0 per user/mo.
Mixmax helps you to “upgrade” your email. You can save templates, schedule emails, setup meetings with calendar integration, and accurately track your emails.
Price: “Premium” $49/mo., “Professional” $19/mo., “Starter” $9/mo., “Free” $0/mo.
Mailbox is simply a better, sleeker way to view your inbox. Treat emails like Tinder profiles and swipe them into oblivion.
Spark helps you by learning your inbox, letting you know when you’ve got an important email in the pipeline, and categorizing the rest for a cleaner look and feel.
Employee and Project Management
When you’re trying to get everything done at once, too many little details can fall through along the way. When you’ve got more than a handful of projects to manage, you need tools that can put them all into one place, and help you track them effectively. These are the tools that do exactly that and more.
Weekdone is an all-in-one objective-setting suite. It allows you to communicate with your workers, get reports and insights on their progress, set goals, and keep up to date on all of your various projects.
Price: “Gold” $189/mo., “Silver” $99/mo., “Bronze” $49/mo., “Free” $0/mo.
Coinpip is by far the simplest way to send money to foreign freelancers, without the hassle of checking, but with all the safety of regular bank deposits. Quick payments keep everyone happy, which ensures that your projects are done quickly and done right.
Price: 2% flat rate on all transactions
Harpoon is a full freelancer’s invoicing suite, allowing you to plan, keep track of your finances, and send regular invoices to your various clients. It’s a simple way to have everything in one place without the hassle.
Price: “Pro” $49/mo., “Advanced” $29/mo., “Starter” $19/mo.,
When I Work allows you to update weekly hourly schedules, communicate with employees, and set up an internal system of communication for easy covers and transfers. Its success for hourly-employee businesses is just the beginning.
Price: Up to 20 Employees, $29/mo., Up To 30 Employees, $39/mo., etc.
Localancers is the perfect way to pair up your team with a freelancer capable of playing pickup for your needs. Either sign up as a freelancer or a client, and find the exact fit that you’re looking for.
Solo is the perfect task manager for freelancers. You can put all of your projects into one place, upload files, and even create detailed profiles of each client. It’s simple, well designed, and very open to customization to fit your personality and your needs.
Trello is a sticky-note style project management tool that helps you to organize projects, set due dates, upload files, and create individual tasks that everyone can update.
Quip is a strong, team-based project management tool that’s perfect for fast-turnaround remote collaboration. You can all edit the same document in real time, have team checklists, and integrate with your favorite devices.
Price: “Enterprise” Contact for Quote, “Business” $12/member/month
Azendoo is a powerful collaboration tool that lets you view and edit projects with your team in real time, communicate & integrate with email and calendar, and refine projects until they’re totally good to go.
Price: “Team” $7 per user/mo., “Personal” $5.83/mo., “Starter” $0/mo.
15Five is a revolutionary concept. Team members take 15 minutes to fill out a survey, and managers then take 5 minutes to thoughtfully engage with and respond to those survey answers. It helps to create transparency, communication, and openness that’s virtually unparalleled.
Price: “First 10 People” $49/mo., “Additional Users” $5/ea.
Money and Financing
When you’re trying to get your business off the ground, absolutely every penny counts. And whether you’re a freelancer trying to make it to next month, or a startup on the verge of an acquisition, these tools can help you not only to stay on top of your money, but truly be in charge of it.
Mint is a smart budgeting tool that automatically reviews your debit purchases and sorts the accordingly. You can then create spending limits, and analyze where your money is going week to week.
Penny is a smart app that acts like your personal finance coach, and helps to analyze your spending habits, and how you can be smarter about saving or cutting back. She’ll help you to spend smarter, and save more.
Dollarbird is essentially a smart calendar that integrates your finances, so that you’re seeing your spending from a month to month basis, rather than simply a list of responsibilities. This can help sharpen your planning skills significantly.
BudgetBakers is a comprehensive spending and analysis tool, that lets you integrate with an extremely thorough budget, including debts, warranties, and all transactions.
Price: “Family” £4.99/mo., “Couple” £2.99/mo., “Individual” £1.99/mo., “Free” £0/mo.
MoneyWiz helps you to take control of your finances in a whole new way. You can plan for combatting debt, forecast and project for the future, and get reminders about each and every bill.
Price: “Purchase-Based” $19.99 + $4.99/month, “Subscription Based” $4.99/mo. + $4.99/mo.
Dwolla is a money transfer service on steroids. Capitalizing on its relationships with major banks, they’re able to provide instant account to account transfers, integrate with customers, and make simple, quick payments.
Price: “Custom” $1,500/mo., “Premium” $250/mo., “Plus” $25/mo., “Free” $0/mo.
Quickbooks is the ideal tool for small-scale in-house accountants, and those who are trying to run the books and a successful business at the same time. It easily integrates with tools like Paypal for a seamless crossover experience.
Price: “Plus” $23.97/mo., “Essentials” $18.86/mo., “Simple Start” $10.36/mo., “Self-Employed” $7.99/mo.
LevelMoney is a simple visual aide that helps you with month to month budgeting. It shows you what you’ve spent compared to your “cap” budget limits every month, helping you to keep pace for months in the green every time.
LearnVest makes financial planning accessible to anyone and everyone. It helps you to create a goal, and a plan to stick to it for the long term. Create a foundation, make a budget, and take some action.
Price: $299 setup fee (one time) + $19/mo.
Qapital makes banking a whole lot more intuitive. Qapital will help you do everything from create a savings plan, to sharing budgets for trips and events with friends and family.
Finally, there’s the ever-elusive beast that is Social Media. What may have seemed like just a fad a few years back is a now a full-blown industry—and one that’s not going away any time soon. Use these tools to stay in control of the social media trends, rather than constantly feeling like you’re on the outside.
FanChimp puts all of your social media content into one space, allowing you to post without having to log into multiple accounts. It’s simple. It’s free. Try it.
DoSocial allows you to manage multiple accounts from multiple mediums, all in the same one location. They boast lighting fast speed, simple automation, and extreme ease of use.
Price: $19/mo. (current sale price, reg. $24/mo.)
Buffer is the king of all-in-one social media posting. What makes them so appealing is that in addition to its posting capabilities, Buffer provides smart insights, simple scheduling, and awesome customer service.
Price: “Enterprise” $250/mo., “Small Business” $50/mo., “The Awesome Plan” $10/mo.
Startafire’s mission is simple: they want to make sure that you’re maximizing your advertising with every single post that you make. Simply attach your badge to smart links and posts that you share—automatically promoting your presence and content.
Quuu is a smart content curator, finding articles and posts that are relevant to your audiences and interests, and that will promote smart sharing from the social media accounts of your choosing.
Tweetbot is the ultimate mobile Twitter client, allowing you to post even smarter when you’re on the go. You can save drafts, scan background tweets, and even sync your timelines.
High quality photos are increasingly in demand for blogs and social media posts. So take the power into your own hands and get full images of the scenery you want directly from photographers everyone will be talking about for decades to come.
Price: “Full Service Enterprise” $1,499/mo. + $5,500 setup, “Full Service Team” $499/mo. + $2,500 setup, “Full Service Professional” $199/mo. + $1,000 setup
Post planner uses data-driven approaches to finding content that will get shared across your social media profiles, taking away the guess work and boosting your engagement.
Highly is just a highlighter pen for the Internet. It allows you to trace over text that you deem important, and then you can share that with your Highly friends, post notes on social media, and even quickly share highlights via email.
Finally, SamDesk is the intuitive content curator that’s trusted by the likes of Reuters and the Wall Street Journal. It’s able to search news wires, a deep archive, and can give you a flexible plan that works with your budget. If you’re serious about content curating, this is your end all be all.
Price: Contact for Quote