- November 9, 2020
- by Kate Kurzawska
- 2 comments
The best productivity tools can help your small business grow. Especially that one of the challenges of running a company is streamlining workflow and adapting to the changing environment. You need to be fast and effective, and keep a steady hand on all processes.
With the right productivity tools, you can make the work of your team easier and help your company grow.
Productivity Tools Definition
To define your needs for tools, you need to know what you’re looking for. Productivity tools are a digital version of office productivity tools – spreadsheets, sticky notes, calendars, memos, etc.
They help to improve workflow, automate processes, and limit the time necessary to finish the task by maximizing the output.
Among the most popular tools for productivity you can find time management software, project and task management apps, to-do lists, communication and collaboration tools, and many more.
What Are The Best Productivity Tools for Small Business?
There are so many apps to choose from that it’s easy for a headache. And there’s no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to picking the right business productivity tools.
There is, however, a simple recipe that can help you make the best decision. Opt for software that helps to automate and optimize work, save money and time, and can be integrated with other productivity tools.
Also, remember that every business has different needs and methods of organizing work. So something that works for a small company may not be suitable for a large enterprise.
If you’re not sure which tools to choose, we’ve got your back. Here’s the ultimate list of only the best productivity tools for small businesses, and everyone who wants to be more efficient!
👇 Jump quickly to a chosen category:
- Time Tracking
- Project and Task Management
- Communication and Collaboration
- Content Marketing
- Planning and Organization
- Accounting and Invoicing
- SEO and SEM
- CRM and Email Marketing
- Social Media Management
- Creative Platforms
Time management tools can help to record billable hours, prepare accurate estimates, and track time against them. They also are helpful in improving productivity. Use them to save time, money, and cut costs on ineffective projects.
Best for: tracking time and billable hours in a user-friendly, effortless way
TimeCamp is a robust time tracking software that automatically tracks time so you and your team can focus on what really matters. In Timecamp, you can organize all your projects with subtasks, people, and budget to understand how you and your employees work, and better allocate resources.
It’s a great time tracker for agencies that need to track billable time to bill clients accurately, improve productivity, manage scope creep, and make sure deadlines are always met.
You can easily integrate TimeCamp with other tools for smooth workflow and project management.
Here are some of the main features:
- Automatic and manual time tracking
- Offline time tracking
- Powerful reports with graphs, numbers, and efficiency results
- Tracking goals
- Attendance module with different types of days (remote work, holidays, leaves, and more)
- Timesheets with approvals
- GPS tracking
- Calendar view with colors for visualization
- Available on: Desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux), and has native mobile apps available for iOS and Android
Best for: team time tracking and resources management
Everhour is a cloud-based time tracking software dedicated to teams. It combines simple team and project management features to help you keep track of time, and organize projects and workflow.
It has 8 modules that help to manage all aspects of the team—scheduling with a Gantt chart, module for tracking time, projects, clients, team information, rich reports, invoices, and expenses. That lets you gather all the important information about work and your company.
Best for: business time tracking
DeskTime is a real-time automatic time tracker. The app notes and analyzes your productivity. It shows rich statistics, graphs with a detailed analysis of how you spent your time at the computer. The offline time tracking feature lets you add activities you spent time on when away from the computer but as part of your job.
The app tracks URLs, apps, and document titles. There’s also an employee screenshots feature that gives you overall insights into your team’s behavior. If you need to follow productivity on the go, there is the mobile app (Android, iOS).
Other functionalities include an absence calendar, invoicing, work scheduling, and integrations with 3rd party apps like Trello, Gmail, Outlook, and more. You can also use DeskTime as a time clocking app to monitor employee attendance.
Best for: simple time tracking and budgeting
Tick is a lightweight tool for tracking time. It’s simple but has all the necessary functionalities. It allows you to track time, billable hours, and control budget to bill clients accurately. You can see the tracked data in reports to get instant feedback on your tasks and projects.
Tick is a cross-platform solution available on iOS, Android, the Apple Watch, desktop computer, or Chrome extension. Additionally, the tool can be integrated with 3rd part apps like Trello, Asana, or Zapier.
Best for: time blocking and deep work
focus booster is a simple yet powerful tool. It lets you record work time with the famous Pomodoro technique. The tool is a perfect solution if you’re looking for a Pomodoro timer to track time in 25-minutes intervals.
The free version of the focus booster includes 20 Pomodoro sessions per month, simple time tracking, and productivity reporting. The app has the basic features necessary to manage and track time—a to-do list, straightforward time tracking, mini and minimalistic timer, light and dark modes, reports with date, client, or label.
You can see your progress in a neat dashboard that visualizes all data or add entries manually to your timesheet.
Project and Task Management
Tools for project management help to keep all important things in one place without the need to switch between different apps. Additionally, integrations allow teams to combine different tools into one to facilitate processes.
Best for: organizing workflow and managing projects in a flexible way
ClickUp is an all-encompassing platform for project management and team collaboration. It lets you share information with team members in various formats. But the tool also gives you the flexibility to organize work and projects the way you like.
It also replaces long messy email threads by providing you with a convenient chat space for group and individual conversations. Everything you need to plan projects and exchange information with your team.
Streamline projects, plan every step, and make quick changes. You can also schedule workflow, manage team capacity, and track all processes. For more efficiency, your team can integrate ClickUp with other apps and customize the tool according to personal preferences. It has many smallish proprietary features so it’s possible to personalize every aspect of a project.
The software is available on the web, desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux), mobile (Android, iOS), Amazon Alexa enabled, and works with the Google Assistant
Best for: online project management
Asana is one of the most popular project management and collaboration tool. It helps to organize projects and tasks so teams can get on the right track.
With Asana, you can bring your team’s goals, plans, tasks, files, and more together in one shared space. View your work any way you want with a listview, timeline, boards, or calendar view. It lets you easily see dependencies, visualize activities, and define every step of the workflow. Additionally, you can customize workflow and simplify it with automation rules.
Asana allows you to see each piece of the project as well as the big picture with real-time updates. Integrations with over 100 apps help to streamline processes
Asana can help you in many aspects, either to launch a product, monitor projects for your clients, or observe company objectives and goals.
⇒ Check our integration with Asana and bring more automation into your workflow!
Best for: visualizing workflow in a friendly way to stay on track with the workload
monday.com is simple to use task management tool. It allows teams to create and shape workflow in minutes to plan, run, and follow their processes, projects, and operations.
The tool has 4 main functionalities that are nicely integrated with each other to give you a unified platform:
- Workload with all projects and tasks
- Timeline to see all planned activities
- Dashboard with a main overview of work
- Charts to visualize data in form of graphs
You can quickly and easily arrange tasks with the drag-and-drop-feature, and integrate monday.com with other apps.
Communication and Collaboration
Good communication and collaboration mean engaged, happy employees. So take care of the inner relationships with these best productivity tools for teamwork. They can also help you better communicate with clients and stakeholders.
Best for: keeping tasks and communication channel within one platform
HeySpace is a task management software with chat. It’s a combination of Slack and Trello. HeySpace has plenty of useful features that good collaboration software should have:
- Thanks to its design you can see three boards in one place – your team and spaces (different channels), chat, list of cards with tasks
- You can easily convert part of your conversation into a task
- The board with tasks allows you to see all projects in at once
- Every task can be adjusted – you can set due date, assignees, to it, add tags, description, files, comments, checklists, make tasks recurring
- You can share files, @mention people, link to Google Docs or Dropbox
- The feature of workspaces allows you to create many spaces, if, for example, you work for various organizations or have different clients
- Calendar and timeline view for every Space with Personal calendar with all your tasks
- Check timelines for multiple projects in OverWatch
- Easy to use and intuitive interface
HeySpace gives you space to freely and smoothly collaborate with your teams and clients. No more switching between apps and tabs.
Best for: replacing email threads and bringing communication to one platform
Slack is a seemingly obvious choice but thanks to its ability to integrate with almost every third-party app, you can use it to collaborate with your team in any form.
Slack can successfully replace long, messy email threads by focusing communication in one platform. The app lets you follow along with everything related to individual topics, projects, or teams in their dedicated channels.
You can easily find everything in chat history by using the ‘search’ feature. Share your Slack channels with clients, send files, automate routine actions for faster communication. Slack has the feature of voice calls and video conferencing so you can communicate with your team the way you like to.
👉 Add time tracking features to Slack – sign up for TimeCamp!
Best for: tight collaboration in a team that brings all aspects of project management in one platform
Podio is a more professional app for productivity. It’s an online office where you can organize your business, people, files, and everything else the way you like. Podio allows you to arrange the space within the app so you can get the most out of it. It has a flexible interface with a drag-and-drop feature.
App Items – the records created inside your apps – can be displayed using a wide choice of layouts. Reports give you an easy way to display sales pipelines, project budgets, time remaining on deliverables, and more.
You can also use Podio for task management, and talk directly on them with teammates.
Podio helps in managing not only projects but also associated meetings and events. It is also able to support you in the process of recruitment of employees for your project. The interface is friendly, and what is more importantly – allows you to manage tasks, send messages, and create to-do lists.
Automation tools are some of the best productivity tools. They can limit the number of repetitive tasks, optimize workflow, and help to get more work done in less time.
Best for: connecting apps for workflow automation
Automate.io is your no-code solution to integrate your work apps quickly. Sync two or more apps and automate your workflow cycle so that you focus more on important parts of your work while micromanaging is handled by Automate.io.
For instance, if you want to maintain all the leads from Facebook on a Google Sheet and later put them on a drip, Automate.io lets you do that seamlessly.
Automate.io is a great automation platform for all teams that want to streamline and simplify processes. It’s easy to use so it’s suitable even for the non-tech-savvy people.
Best for: quick online documents management in real-time
PandaDoc is a tool for creating, approving, tracking, and esigning docs in real-time. It’s a great productivity tool that helps to streamline the process for important docs, either for your team or clients.
You can quickly create a new doc from available templates and see what’s happening with it. The tool also allows you to engage the whole team in the creation and approval process. Create proposals, quotes, contracts, and any other kind of document. Integrations with other apps are available for faster data collection.
14. Content Snare
Best for: organized information collection
Content Snare is a combination of email, chat, and docs. It’s a platform for fast organized information collection. All it takes is for you to plan what you need, send a request, and wait for your clients to send the right files as Content Snare reminds them automatically what they should do.
You don’t have to request for access, exchange attachments, and search email threads for information. Content Snare is your central platform for fast content collection.
You can use templates to save time and repetition. Invite your team members to approve content, create requests and templates, and monitor due dates. Organize requests under projects and clients for a clear overview.
Best for: flexible workflow and process management
Tallyfy is an interesting solution for those who like to have things their way. It’s a web-based workflow app that instantly gives teams and their clients a beautiful screen to track all of their tasks, routine business processes, and progress of work.
Tallyfy is a tool that allows you to document and run all kinds of repeatable processes. It lets you design your own team procedures in the mapping process. It makes deliberate business procedures clear tasks that are easy to complete and adjust.
Tallyfy is one of the best productivity apps as it lets you quickly define, track, share, prioritize, and automate any decision-making process with a beautifully simple yet powerful rules engine.
Written content is essential in the operation of digital agencies. The right apps for productivity can boost creativity, help organize content, create better texts, and streamline the writing process.
Best for: organizing resources in one place
Feedly helps to keep up with the trends and topics from your industry and areas of interest. It’s an online feed that helps to organize and read all your trusted publications and blogs in one place.
Feedly uses Leo, an AI research assistant, to read your feeds and filter out the noise. Leo can show you the best articles based on your prioritization of specific keywords, trends, topics, articles similar to your boards, and software vulnerabilities. The more you use Feedly, the better Leo becomes at searching for the most relevant content.
You can also use the app with your team to collaboratively research and share key industry trends.
Purpose: a note-taking app for long and short notes to organize written content
Bear is a writing app for notes and prose for Apple devices. You can use it to write anything from one-sentence notes to to-do lists, and long essays.
The focus mode helps to concentrate, and the app offers themes, typography, and dark mode to customize the interface. There are hashtags, recognition of such elements as links, emails, addresses, colors, multiple export options, and more.
And Bear Pro lets you encrypt notes or you can lock the app with the password or Face/Touch ID. Bear is a lightweight but powerful solution.
Best for: managing a reading list of articles and videos from the Internet
How many times have you come across an article, news, or story that has inspired you and wanted to save, and come back to later? You can save all your favorite articles to Pocket and store them for further reference.
It works like a digital pocket or portfolio where you can keep all the content you find on the internet.
Pocket Premium unlocks a permanent library for the articles and webpages you save; gives you full-text, topic, tag, and author search to help you find exactly what you’re looking for; and delivers suggested tags that take the work out of organizing your list.
Best for: simple and fast spell-checking
Grammarly is an AI-powered online writing assistant. It helps to eliminate spelling and grammar errors as you write. It’s a great free productivity app as it helps to save energy and time on finding errors, including those you wouldn’t be able to spot. And all your content is stored in the app so you can always access it.
If you’d like more features like style, tone, and clarity improvements for writing, fluency checker, plagiarism detection, tone adjustments, and more, pricing starts from $11.66 per month.
You can also try the Hemingway App – an alternative for Grammarly for more advanced writers.
Planning and Organization
Best for: planning e-meetings with team and clients
Calendly is one of the most popular productivity apps for planning. It has everything you need to schedule a meeting, video or phone call, and any other event.
Calendly allows for the visitors of your website to schedule a meeting or book a demo to consult with your salesperson. We use it at TimeCamp successfully and it helps both us and our clients connect promptly. 🙂
Calendly works with your calendar to automatically check availability. You can set different types of meetings – one-on-one, teams, groups, etc. for different types of events. It offers notifications, customization, and time zone detection. It’s website embed for scheduling directly from your website. Calendly also integrates with other apps.
21. Google Workspace
Best for: centralizing apps and services used within a company
Google Workspace, previously G Suite, is a platform for all types of businesses that integrates communication and collaboration tools for the entire company.
Similar to G Suite, all Google Workspace plans provide a custom email for your business and include collaboration tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Meet, Chat, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites, and more.
There are numerous add-ons that make Google Workspace a great productivity app.
Best for: organizing the team’s resources for internal collaboration
Notion is a fancy productivity app that can help your team organize and share all types of content – tasks, files, ideas, lists, announcements. You can use to create wikis about your business, make it a place store different type of information, or simply make it a task management app.
But it’s also a great collaboration and organization tool as it lets you freely cooperate and access all data about the company.
Notion can help your team get more done by visually navigating you through the content and letting you quickly find what you’re looking for, in one place.
Best for: a repository for all your files and data
Airtable is a managing app for documents, files, and important tasks. It lets you organize anything—projects, ideas, clients,or databases. It’s a spreadsheet where you can store all the information on your work.
You can add unique field types to customize your spreadsheet-links to other tables, attach files by the drag-and-drop, and more, even create and share a form. You can use it on your own or together with a team to get things done. There are different views—grid, Kanban view, calendar, or gallery for various workstyles.
With Airtable, you can spend less time searching through your computer to find the right files or information. It’s all in one place.
Accounting and Invoicing
Finances are an important element of every business. With the right accounting productivity tool, you can make sure all numbers always add up.
Best for: small businesses that need a fully-featured bookkeeping app
Xero is cloud-based accounting software that helps to automate everyday business tasks, get up-to-date financials in real-time, and run your business.
Xero’s online accounting platform provides the foundation on which businesses can build a complete business solution. It connects businesses with their bank, accounting tools, their accountant, payment services, and third-party apps, so everything is securely available at any time, on any device.
Best for: small businesses that need an integrated accounting and invoicing solution
FreshBooks is invoice and accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses as well as freelancers. It has a time tracking module that helps to monitor time and money spent on projects, clients, which makes it a great addition to the rich accounting functionalities.
FreshBooks offers simple reports with a breakdown for particular projects or clients. Other than that, you get detailed financial reports on the state of your business. You can track billable hours, access timesheets, and integrate the tool with hundreds of the most popular tools and apps. It’s also available as a web app and for mobile (iOS, Android).
SEO and SEM
These are must-have apps for every digital marketing agency. They will help you and your clients rank high in search engines at no cost.
Best for: running in-depth SEO analysis
Ahrefs is a toolset for backlinks and SEO analysis. It can replace several tools.
Ahrefs will help you find the most shared content for any topic having the largest amount of shares on social media channels, get relevant keywords and traffic estimation, track mobile and desktop rankings, or analyze your website for common SEO issues and monitor your SEO health over time.
Best for: measuring, improving, and reporting marketing goals
SEMrush is an all-in-one tool suite for improving online visibility and discovering marketing insights. It provides tools and reports that are able to help marketers who work in the following services: SEO, PPC, SMM, Keyword Research, Competitive Research, PR, Content Marketing, Marketing Insights, Campaign Management.
You can use it to analyze a competitor’s strategy (keywords, ads, backlinks), manage social campaigns, research and track keywords, conduct link building, get technical optimization insights, and more.
CRM and Email Marketing
Managing prospects, clients, and all the data about them can be time-consuming. With the right software, you can quickly automate processes and easily document all information. Take a look at these best productivity tools for marketing.
Best for: inbound marketing practices
HubSpot is inbound marketing and sales software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.
The tool can help you with optimizing such aspects of inbound marketing as e-mail, sites, SEO, marketing automation, landing pages, analytics, social media, and blogging. If you want to have everything in one place, HubSpot is a good choice.
Best for: managing email campaigns and newsletters
Mailchimp has email marketing, ads, landing pages, and CRM tools – it’s an all-in-one marketing platform. It lets you understand your audience and precisely target your content or product.
Mailchimp consists of 4 components, each having distinct tools:
- Audience – Marketing CRM, Audience Dashboard, Tags, Segmentation, Behavioral Targeting, Lookalike Audiences
- Brand – Content Studio (stores all your files, images, etc.), Templates, Domains, Websites
- Campaigns – Email, Social Media, Landing Pages, Digital Ads, Postcards, Automation
- Insights – Reports and Analytics, Smart Recommendations, Integrations
Mailchimp helps you automate your marketing campaigns and learn more about your audience so you can gather actionable data, create personalized content and build a better relationship with every customer.
Best for: highly-targeted and personalized outreach and marketing campaigns
BuzzStream is an end-to-end outreach platform that helps you stay organized and grow your digital PR and link building results.
The app does the research for you with automatic prospecting and gathers the most relevant results from web and news searches, SERPs, or URLs, and builds your prospect list in seconds. It automatically discovers the information you need for email marketing.
BuzzStream helps marketers build relationships with influencers they need to get that attention, drive word-of-mouth traffic, improve search performance, and increase awareness.
Best for: feature-rich CRM software with project management functionalities to improve customer relationships
Insightly is a CRM platform that combines marketing, sales, and project management. It helps to build lasting relationships with your customers, through every step of the customer journey.
It’s a tool that can help manage your business relationships. It’s not just about keeping track of a contact’s information – it’s about who they work for, what you need to do for them, and how to keep them happy.
With Insightly, you can capture and store data and the relationships between datasets with custom objects. Build complete custom apps for your business on the Insightly platform with validation rules, calculated fields, workflow automation, and dashboards and reports. You can also track important metrics and produce reports.
32. Campaign Monitor
Best for: running beautifully-designed, professional email marketing campaigns
Campaign Monitor is a platform that allows users to toggle between clients, their campaigns, and their billing details quickly. Each client can be customized with unique permissions and easily onboarded.
The robust reporting, analytics, and AB testing deliver data on almost everything – from messaging to CTAs to strategy and beyond. You’ll see how your campaigns are working so you can learn, revise, and deliver success back to your clients.
You can choose from hundreds of professionally-designed templates and drag-and-drop to put your email together in moments, drive urgency using a countdown timer, and customize every visual aspect for a completely branded email campaign.
The analytics suite gives you an aggregate view into the performance of your overall email marketing program — including geography, acquisition, and engagement per campaign so get actionable insights on how to improve your strategy.
Additionally, Campaign Monitor connects to hundreds of pre-built apps and integrations so you can seamlessly connect your e-commerce platform, CRM, or website.
Social Media Management
It’s said that if you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. But running multiple social media accounts takes a lot of effort. Here are the best productivity tools for managing the social media content that can help you automate processes.
Best for: collaborative social media management
Kontentino is a user-friendly social media tool for agencies and brands. It replaces spreadsheets, emails, calendars, or presentations by providing you with a unified platform for organizing content for each of your clients.
Create and organize all your social media posts in one intuitive calendar. Have all posts or ads perfectly organized in one place. Reschedule or copy by drag and drop easily, see the planned budget, keep content topic balance with labels, and much more. Your team can easily collaborate on the projects by commenting and planning together in the live post preview.
With metrics, you can get valuable insights about posts, campaigns, or page performance.
34. Sprout Social
Best for: managing social media content for all channels in one platform
Sprout Social is a social media management and optimization platform for brands and agencies of all sizes. It gives you a single hub for social media publishing, analytics, and engagement across all of your social profiles.
You have the ability to manage all your social profiles from a single platform, get in-depth analytics to understand how your brand is performing on social, and an easy way to collaborate with coworkers or clients. The tool makes it easier for users to communicate and engage with their audiences on social.
Sprout Social can help streamline your workflow, improve engagement, increase customer satisfaction, and more.
Small businesses, especially digital agencies often need to rely on visual content. Here are platforms that can improve creative work and make it possible to reach out to a wide audience.
Best for: finding a freelance graphic for your project
99designs is the global creative platform that makes it easy for clients and designers to collaborate online.
It’s a freelancer platform for connecting graphic designers and clients. 99designs is suitable for people with a clear idea of the style and art direction of their project. The designers can create logos, branding, websites, packaging, and more depending on your needs. There are a lot of categories to choose from!
Best for: designing engaging infographics
Pktochart is a platform for creating reports, presentations, infographics, social media graphics, and prints.
You can use it to work with your team or solo. Choose from a library of infographics, presentations, reports, social media graphics, and print templates designed by visual communication experts. Use interactive charts, maps, and graphs, or upload your own images to customize your project.
Best for: creating interactive, animated content of any type
Genially is a platform for creating interactive and animated content. It will help improve the way you present, communicate, spread information, and teach.
The app allows you to create any type of content, from interactive images, infographics, presentations to quizzes, posters, or media.
It can help in personal branding as well as helping to scale your clients’ business.
Which Best Productivity Tools Do You Use?
With the right best productivity tools, your team can optimize workflow, automate business processes, and improve performance.
Do you have your favorite productivity tools? Let us know in the comments!