The Best Business Tools for Entrepreneurs

Running a business, especially as a small team or solopreneur, is a lot of work! If you’re a business owner, you likely wear many hats on any given day—tech support, customer service, social media manager/influencer, copywriter (and editor!), business strategist, financial analyst… the list goes on, right?!

With limited resources and personnel for your extensive to-do list, it’s important to strategically manage business operations to maximize your efficiency. Often this includes embracing technologies that allow us to automate systems and set them up to work for us while we’re working on other areas of our business.

This post is a compilation of our favorite business products and services that we personally use to manage and streamline operations our own businesses (Five Design Co. and Four Wellness Co.). Enjoy!


This post contains affiliate links in which Five Design Co. may earn a small commission on your purchase, at no additional cost to you. We only share products or services we personally use and love.


Website design

 

We’ve mentioned it lots and lots before, but Squarespace is our favorite all-in-one website-hosting platform. We design exclusively on Squarespace for our clients because we think it’s the best tool for small business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers and bloggers (especially new bloggers!) to learn to use and maintain.

We cover our love of Squarespace in more detail in this post, but here’s the gist: it’s easy to use and maintain; it’s design-oriented and supports beautiful, image-heavy sites; all templates are mobile responsive; it has built-in SEO features; it offers lots of useful third-party integrations to run your business; and your web hosting and other website-related accounts and billing are all conveniently connected in one place.

P.S. As a member of Squarespace Circle, we can offer our clients 20% off your first year of Squarespace services. Contact us for more information on working together:

 
 

We have a whole post dedicated to creating a membership site in Squarespace—and this is the tool we use to do it.

MemberSpace is a third party service that allows Squarespace users to membership-protect certain pages or content on your website. This is useful for both free and paid products that you’d like to host on your Squarespace site, such as: courses, ebooks or downloadable materials, resource libraries, membership programs and more.

Want to see how this looks in practice? Here’s a site we used MemberSpace to set up:

 

Four Wellness Co. • Wellness Library

The free Wellness Library resources (both web-based and downloadable materials) are accessible with email subscription via MemberSpace.

 
 

Acuity Scheduling recently merged with Squarespace, so it’s now even easier to integrate with a Squarespace website. They offer robust web-based scheduling software, customizable to your brand style, so it fits seamlessly within your branded website (Squarespace or otherwise).

This software works with a range of business needs, including the ability to schedule 1:1 appointments, group classes, subscriptions and class packs.

 
 

Practice Better is a one-stop-shop for health and wellness professionals to manage your practice. A few of the useful features, all under one roof, include: client management, scheduling, billing, secure messaging, forms & waivers, tasks & reminders, session notes & documents, and the ability to create programs and courses within the app.

After trying and testing several popular health practice management platforms, this one is our favorite! They also have affordable pricing and a super responsive support team to help set up your online practice.


Marketing & promotion

 

We’ve talked lots before about using Pinterest and Tailwind to promote your website (and blog) content and grow your website traffic. It’s our favorite strategy for website growth, and Tailwind is our favorite tool to streamline and automate it.

(See our full strategy for setting up and using Tailwind.)

 
 

MailChimp is one of our favorite email marketing platforms for a few reasons: it’s easy and intuitive to use (it’s built off of the same drag-and-drop template structure as Squarespace); it allows beautifully designed email campaigns; it integrates really nicely with Squarespace websites (so you can easily collect email addresses from your website opt-ins); and it offers a free plan (helpful for new businesses!).

For businesses looking to do image-heavy or design-oriented email marketing, or websites starting out and looking for a simple and easy-to-use CRM tool, MailChimp is a great option.

 
 

ConvertKit is another great email marketing platform, though very different from MailChimp. Where MailChimp is more design-focused, ConvertKit is more list-focused. It’s one of the most robust tools available for growing and segmenting your email list for strategic email marketing.

 

Productivity & organization

 

Bonsai is an all-in-one productivity solution for freelancers and small businesses. It automates the client process from proposals to contracts to time tracking, invoicing and payments, all the way to taxes and accounting.

In streamlining all of these steps of the freelancing process, and linking them under “one roof,” we’ve found it dramatically cuts down the time manually re-creating each step of the process for each new client.

The built-in reporting features are also helpful to get a snapshot of business performance and track progress toward goals. And, the branded email communication gives a professional first impression to new (potential!) clients.

 
 

Airtable is a powerful content-based spreadsheet. It’s a database that can be used to organize allll sorts of information. Because of its flexibility in organizing and managing many different types of data, we use it for a wide range of business information and planning.

It’s one of our favorite tools for planning content calendars, marketing plans and launch timelines, as well as storing and organizing lists and ideas.

 
 

Google Docs is free, simple and easy to use, and your files are all available in the cloud from any device. For solopreneurs or businesses just starting out, this is a great free option.

We personally enjoy using G Suite, the integrated, cloud-based business version of Google Drive. Though it’s a paid product, it offers a range of useful functionality for teams, including the ability to manage multiple user accounts and email addresses under your domain name.

G Suite is integrated with Squarespace, making it super easy to set up from the back-end of your Squarespace website and link new email addresses to your domain name.

 
 

After trying many list-making and productivity apps, the Things 3 app is our favorite! It’s available on iPhone, iPad and Mac, and syncs with the Apple Watch. We’d recommend purchasing it for each of the devices you work on—it’s helpful to have your to-do list and notepad available and synced across all devices.

This app has won awards and been described as the “perfect balance of simplicity and power”—and that’s why we find it so useful for tracking and managing the wide range of responsibilities that come with running a business and team.

Because of the way lists are segmented, it’s also convenient to manage both personal and professional to-do lists all in one place.

 
 

Azlo offers fee-free online banking for entrepreneurs and start-ups. It’s integrated with Stripe (our favorite online payment processor), which connects with Squarespace, MemberSpace and other business tools.


Design

 

The Adobe Creative Suite (Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, etc.) is the king of design software. Depending on your design needs, you may be best off purchasing just one program on a Creative Cloud subscription.

 
 

Canva is free design software for “non-designers.” With it you can design Pinterest pins, social media imagery, and more.

 
 

We love the quality of stock photography from Unsplash, and that it’s seamlessly integrated with Squarespace. Learn more about Unsplash in this post about how we use it to legally source free, professional stock photography for our websites.


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The best business tools for entrepreneurs & small businesses // Our favorite (tried and true!) business tools for small businesses, bloggers, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Use these tools to boost productivity, sales, marketing and enhance website and product design.
The best business tools for entrepreneurs & small businesses // Our favorite (tried and true!) business tools for small businesses, bloggers, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Use these tools to boost productivity, sales, marketing and enhance website and product design.