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They say that a poor craftsman blames his tools and while that may be true, the right tools can make your job far easier and more efficient – particularly when it comes to running a small business.

You don’t need a big budget to get great results either – there are plenty of free and low-cost apps that will improve the productivity of any small business.

Let’s take a look at the top five tools you need to run your small business more efficiently.

#1 – Google Drive

Let’s start with the basics:  a cloud-based storage app that you can use on any device, and which allows all members of your team to access the same files from wherever they are. Google Drive is intuitive to use and it’s free.

The basic version offers 15GB of free space for up to five users, and there are paid-for options for businesses that need more storage.

#2 – Buffer

Buffer is a social media management tool that lets you post updates and track how they’re performing across all your platforms. It also offers great insights into what content is working best for you.

This allows you to show up every single day on social media without actually having to login. This means that your updates will continue to publish whether you’re enjoying family time, sleeping in or laying on a beach somewhere. This is a great way to save time and avoid overwhelm.

Buffer is free for up to three social media accounts, with paid-for plans available for businesses that need more functionality.

#3 – WordPress

WordPress is probably the most popular blogging platform and it’s easy to see why. It’s simple, intuitive and flexible enough to meet the needs of everyone from small businesses through to large enterprises. 

What many people don’t realize about WordPress though is that you can use it as a content management system (CMS) for any type of website. This makes it the perfect choice for any small business.

WordPress is free to download and open-source, although you’ll need web hosting which will cost a minimum of £50 per year.

#4 – Evernote

Evernote is an app that lets you capture inspiration when it strikes. You can save web pages, articles and images, write notes on the go and even record audio. It’s like a digital notebook where everything you need to keep track of your ideas is brought together in one place for easy access.

It makes it super-simple to take your ideas and turn them into actionable tasks. Evernote is free to download, with a premium subscription available for businesses that need extra features.

#5 – Xero

Xero is an online accounting software that’s perfect for small businesses. It offers a wide range of features, including invoicing, expenses tracking and budgeting. What’s more, it integrates with many other apps – such as PayPal and Shopify – making it a great choice for busy small business owners.

Cloud accounting software can prove invaluable when it comes to monitoring and improving your cash flow, understanding your key profit drivers and  forecasting future performance. It also allows you to collaborate seamlessly with your human accountant and get more value out of the relationship.

Summary

Running a small business can be difficult, but with the right tools it can be made much easier. The five tools we’ve listed here are essential for any small business owner who wants to be more productive and efficient. These apps will help you stay organized, connected and inspired whilst running your small business.