The Best Tools for Small Businesses Who Sell A Service

Carolyn Canetti
Oct 26, 2020 11:15:00 AM

When your time is money, you'll want to streamline as much of your excess work as possible. Being a small business owner means you have a lot of hats to wear. From providing the service that you know best, managing your day to day schedule, to creating legal documents, a savvy social media marketer, creative writer and designer, it's not easy to do it all. 

 

Enter amazing and affordable software services created for small businesses to make your life easier and ensure your professionalism. Diving into the world of software for business is overwhelming, and we don't suggest that you need all of these tools all the time. But, it's important to understand where you can get help and how you can do it efficiently and well.  What works for an e-commerce store might not work for a personal trainer, consultant, tarot card reader or other. So, for all of the service based businesses out there, here are the best software services for you. 


The best software services for small businesses by category:

AccountingManaging your budget; from profits, overhead, cost of service, marketing, and more, an accounting tool is your new best friend. Of course it's important to forecast and as much as it's necessary to keep track of payments in a detailed way for your quarterly taxes.

  • Intuit QuickBooks Online: The behemoth and most trusted in the space, QuickBooks has been around for a long time as a super advanced software. Intuit is the light version, in which you can track income, expenses, send invoices, track sales and tax, and do pay roll. Starting at $12.50/month up to $75/month. 
  • Wave: Great for individuals or tiny businesses, they offer mostly free services, inclusive of invoice and transaction management. Not useful for product based e-commerce that requires fulfillment and inventory tracking. 

Legal: Depending on the service you provide, it's important to have access to legal documentation, contracts, and more at an affordable price. Utilizing a legal tool like DocuSign or Rocket Lawyer is a great way to have a secure and legal relationship with clients, without breaking the bank. 

  • DocuSign: DocuSign is a great tool for getting e-signatures on documents. Started at $10/month, up to $40/month or custom pricing, you can send all legal documents through DocuSign and feel sure of security and privacy. 
  • Rocket Lawyer: Rocket Lawyer helps to create reliable documents for all types of legal purposes. They also provide some legal services, consultations, and business specific filing. You can either join as a member for $39.99 per month, in which everything is included in the membership, or do a la carte style, where you make a one-time purchase to do a thing. 

best ecomm tool for consultants

 

E-commerce & PaymentsOne of the most important pieces of your business puzzle is, what payment type do you accept, how do you process it, and how do get your money into your bank account? 

  • Bounce House: Here at Bounce House, our focus is e-commerce for services. We want you to get paid for your time as seamlessly as possible by offering automatic payment, stored credit cards, payment requests and refunds plus daily cash outs via Stripe. Starting at $9/month to $99/month. 
  • Square: Originally a hardware point of sales for brick and mortar checkout, Square has expanded to online checkout as well. A payment processor at heart, their pricing is transparent and very detailed, laying out all fees per transaction type. 

Virtual MeetingsAs the world gets more and more used to virtual meetings, online conferences, and remote learning, it's important to work with a virtual meeting software that is secure, and easy for both you and your customers. 

  • ZoomA recent favorite, Zoom is the biggest name in web conferencing with high quality audio and video, with simple design. They offer a comprehensive free plan with their highest at $19.99/month per team individual. (So if you have two people on your time, it would be $40/month). 
  • Join.Me: A great service for individuals and small teams, providing local call-in numbers, and integration with Outlook and Google Calendar. Plans between $10-30/month. 

Social Media: Social media is a must-do for businesses today, but it doesn't have to be as time consuming as you think. Create a few posts at a time, schedule them, and continue on with your day. There are a lot of social management tools out there, here are a few affordable and easy to use ones. 

  • Later: With a focus on Instagram, plus automation and preview for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Later has a free option, up to $25/month, with meters around posts per profile per month, as well as team users. Advanced plans include engagement tools and video support. 
  • Planoly: Planoly caters to Instagram and Pinterest, but includes other platforms with their most expensive tier. From free to $23/month, Planoly has an emphasis on image based content.

Content (blog and video): Including long form writing and engaging video content to your website, social media or email newsletters is a tried and true way of exerting your expertise and personality. Check out these free tools.

  • Medium:  Medium is a free blogging tool, as well as a platform built for discovery. With basic design elements, you can focus on your writing, follow like minded people, and increase engagement. While you may want to build a blog into your website at some point, Medium is a good way to get started, or to have in parallel.
  • Animoto: Animoto is a neat video tool you can use to make easy drag and drop videos. Inclusive of templates, music and more - it's extremely useful (and has a free version) for those who are not video savvy. Priced from free to $49/month. 

best website tool for consultants

 

Website Builder: In today's online world, a website can sometimes fall by the wayside as businesses accentuate their social media profiles. However, owning a piece of online real estate with a custom domain name for you and your business is an important step in insuring your brand as both searchable and professional. 

  • Bounce House: While we believe in the power of having a website, we also know it shouldn't be something that you stress about for more than a few minutes. We offer well designed templated pages for you and the services you sell. Starting at $9/month to $99/month. 
  • Squarespace: Long time fan favorite, Squarespace offers a multitude of templates, integrations and more. Priced at $12/month to $40/month, it's a great tool for those who want to spend weeks or more on creating their site. 

Email Newsletter: Email marketing is a huge strategy for re-engagement of customers and enticing interested prospectives to make contact. From newsletter to seasonal offerings, you can achieve success at a low price point.

  • Constant Contact: Constant Contact is building popularity, with email marketing and powerful analytics attached. They offer additional tools such as design, e-commerce function and more. Plans are $20/month or $45/month. 
  • Send in Blue: Send in Blue was built for new small businesses to be affordable and useful. They offer both email marketing services as well as SMS, plans from free to $65/month. 

Design Tools: In this scenario, we feel that this is not an either or choice, there are some truly excellent design tools available and useful for many situations. The design of your brand, be it the imagery on social media, your logo, your website, and even the documents you use with customers - make a good first impression! 

  • Canva: Consider Canva as your go-to for almost everything design related. They can help with logos, presentations, business cards, post cards, infographic, social media backgrounds and images. From free to $30/month. 
  • The Noun Project: The Noun Project is free tool (or $2.99 per icon, or $39.99/year), which is neat for iconography. With specific libraries so you can download a whole library of icons, this is useful for logos, websites, newsletters, and social media highlights for a sense of uniform branding. 
  • Unsplash: Unsplash offers free, high-resolution photos sourced by creators all over the world. Best for environmental, landscape, or candid people and portraits. They update content consistently. 
  • Coolors: If you're interested in making a color palette to use for your business, Coolors is a creative tool for generating 5 colors at a time that you can then use as your brand color scheme. It's free to use! 

Schedule Management: When your time makes money, managing your schedule is amongst the most important thing. With dreams of a full schedule, and easy management, automated reminders, and more, consider these class and appointment tools. 

  • Bounce House: We host a schedule management tool equip with well designed landing pages per class or 1:1 session, as well as automatic payments and recurring appointments. Useful for secure and quick payment, and on the fly scheduling. Prices start from $9 and go to $99/month. 
  • Calendly: A superb tool for scheduling meetings and managing multiple calendar availabilities. Calendly can embed on your site, or you can use their basic URLs. Best for sales teams and first time meetings. Offering a free tier to $12/month. 

Customer Management: As you get more customers, it's important to be able to keep track of them easily, from their credit card payments, address, appointment history and more, consider a "CRM" customer relationship management tool.  

  • Bounce House: Bounce House offers the opportunity to keep track of your customer contact information, schedule history (past and upcoming), payment history, message history, as well as the ability to schedule and automate recurring payments and appointments. From $9/month to $99/month. 
  • HubSpot: HubSpot is a very in depth tool yet easy to use. Great for businesses that want to keep track from first point of contact through becoming a customer. Free, $50/month or way more depending on how much of the tool you want to use. 

best software tools for service based small business

 

Hiring Freelancers: Sometimes, you simply can't do it all. In that case, you can dive into these marketplaces to find freelancers or contract workers to help alleviate some of the work you need to do. 

  • Upwork: An increasingly popular choice, Upwork is a great place to find freelancers for more creative and communicative tasks like: customer service, web design, accounting, writing and such. It's secure and vetted. 
  • Craigslist: It may be an old school option, but Craigslist can still have its gems. Sort by city and by job type, and you will find some hardworking people ready to get started with what needs to get done.

File Sharing: Ideally you wouldn't spend any money on a file sharing tool, as there are some excellent free services out there. However, depending on the volume that you need to create and share documents, you may have to pay.

  • Google Drive: Depending on what you need file sharing for, you may get away with using your personal Gmail Google Drive. However, Google One offers storage packages for Docs, Images, Sheets, and more. 
  • Dropbox: Similarly, Dropbox, a long time favorite has a useful free tier for individuals, and a $12.50/month for businesses, but depending on storage needs - the price increases. 

Project Management: While you may not need a project management tool as an individual (for instance, who relies of to-do lists and post-it notes!?), as your team grows from 2 to 10, it may become time to invest in a project management tool to keep everyone organized and on track to hit milestones and due dates. 

  • Asana: Asana is useful for individuals as well as teams as a means to track tasks and build a flow of actions that need to get done. Start with a basic free plan, or go from $11 to $25/month per team user. 
  • Airtable: Airtable is similar to Google Drive in which you choose a template for a calendar, project tracker, marketing campaign or other, and you can stay up to date on the tasks that need to be done. From free to $20/month or custom pricing.
There are a lot of software tools out there, and we know that reading this list can feel overwhelming, as even affordably priced tools add up if you want to use multiple! We suggest that you start with what's completely necessary and then test and try these out as needed, almost all of these services include free trials or free tiers. From then, as you grow and your needs change, you may find use in some and want to cancel others.

 

Here at Bounce House, we help one person businesses manage payment and schedules. To learn more about how you can use Bounce House to run your business from anywhere - check us out!

Topics: Marketing, Branding, E-commerce,