Running a small business is an exciting journey, but means juggling customer management, expenses, inventory, and team coordination — all at the same time. Some days, there’s not enough time to get everything done, and the lines between different tasks can start to blur.
Think about all the hats you wear as a small business manager — wouldn’t it be nice to have a dedicated assistant for each role?
We’ve explored a host of tools from time tracking and scheduling and team management to inventory management and communication — all tailored specifically for your needs.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a list of handy tools ready to lighten your workload, make your business run smoother, and boost your profitability.
Best time tracking and scheduling team management tools:
Every workday, you’re checking who’s on duty, who’s away, and if everyone’s on the right track with their tasks. You adjust schedules on the fly, accommodating sick days, vacations, or sudden changes in workload. But missteps can happen easily and lead to frustration, missed deadlines, and even lost profits.
These simple-to-use tools can help automatically organize your team’s tasks and schedules, leaving you more time to focus on growing your business.
1. Homebase: Best all-in-one solution
Designed for small businesses that employ hourly workers, with Homebase you can create and share schedules, track employee hours, manage shift trades, and even automate timesheets. These features reduce the time spent on administrative tasks and minimize manual input errors.
And with its native mobile app, you can review and edit schedules, approve or deny shift trades or time-off requests, and message your team from anywhere.
Beyond scheduling and time tracking, Homebase supports team communication and task management. The platform offers a centralized location where you and your team can share updates, and assign tasks, reducing the need for back-and-forth emails or separate messaging apps.
It also takes the burden off two of your most time-consuming tasks: hiring and onboarding. You can advertise jobs, monitor applicants, digitally welcome new team members, and consolidate all employee documents in one convenient location.
Homebase’s time clock feature enables break tracking and prevention of early clock-ins, and it handles overtime calculations helping your business maintain compliance with labor laws. Plus, it integrates with popular point-of-sale (POS) systems and payroll providers supporting a smoother transition from scheduling and time tracking to payroll processing.
And with a Homebase subscription, you get access to live HR experts who can audit and tailor your company’s policies, clarify queries, and even assist you in crafting your employee handbook.
Homebase offers a variety of services at different price points, and customers save 20% on all pricing when they opt for annual billing.
2. QuickBooks Time (formerly Tsheets): Best for advanced reporting
QuickBooks Time (formerly Tsheets) is a cloud-based time tracking solution designed to automate various HR and payroll processes. It lets employees remotely clock in and out and helps managers monitor attendance and approve paid time off (PTO).
TSheets offers a 30-day trial after which you can commit to the Premium plan starting at $8 per user per month with a $20 base fee for one admin. It includes features like QuickBooks integration, time tracking, and smart reports. But if you want more features, you can opt for the Elite plan starting at $10 per user per month with a $40 base fee.
Best accounting and finance tools
When the books don’t balance or an expense slips through the cracks, the resulting financial inconsistencies can affect your business’s profitability and sustainability.
The following tools can automate, organize, and simplify your financial tasks with ease and accuracy:
3. QuickBooks: Best for large enterprises with complex needs
QuickBooks helps small and medium businesses manage all accounting tasks like tracking expenses, creating invoices, running financial reports, and managing customers and vendors. The software is popular for its user-friendly interface, strong feature set, and the flexibility it offers with cloud-based access.
QuickBooks Online offers three different plans with a 30-day free trial:
4. FreshBooks: Best if you don’t have accounting experience
FreshBooks is known for its user-friendly features for managing and tracking invoices, expenses, time tracking, and financial reports. What sets FreshBooks apart is its focus on a high degree of customization in invoicing which extends to payment reminders, late fees, and even thank you emails, making the invoicing process more hands-off.
FreshBooks offers a free 30-day trial along with 3 paid plans:
Best POS and payments tools
Running a small business means managing transactions, and ensuring every customer payment goes through smoothly. But this process can get complicated, especially when you’re managing different payment methods, refunds, or discounts. Here are our recommendations for the best point of sale (POS) and payment tools:
5. Clover: Best for brick-and-mortar businesses
With Clover your business can accept credit cards, debit cards, and other payment methods directly from customers. It’s ideal for brick-and-mortar retail businesses, restaurants, and service providers that want a simple, all-in-one POS solution. What makes Clover different is its variety of hardware and software options, including countertop devices, portable POS systems, and even a mobile card reader.
Plus, Clover’s Homebase integration means your employees can directly clock in and out from Clover and the information is synced into Homebase timesheets. This way, you can easily generate sales, labor, and labor % – as well as run shift reports from Homebase.
Clover’s pricing plans vary based on the kind of hardware you want for your business. For example, if you’re into retail, you can opt for a compact 8″ countertop POS at $60 per month or a handheld device on top of a 14″ and 8″ countertop display at $185 per month.
6. PayPal Zettle: Best for on-the-go payments
PayPal Zettle is a mobile payment app that uses a card reader that plugs into the mobile device’s audio jack or connects via Bluetooth. The card reader works with the Zettle app, which can be downloaded for free. You simply enter the amount of the sale in the app, then, the customer inserts, swipes, or taps their card or mobile wallet on the card reader, and the transaction is processed.
PayPal Zettle charges $29 for card readers and $199 for a Terminal. There are also some additional charges like:
Best inventory management tools
These tools can help you stay on top of what’s in stock, what’s running low, and when it’s time to reorder, freeing you up to focus more on other aspects of your business.
7. SOS Inventory: Best if you’re using QuickBooks
SOS Inventory is designed specifically to use with QuickBooks. It provides small to medium-sized businesses with advanced inventory tracking, sales, and order management functionalities that complement QuickBooks’ features making it a valuable extension for businesses with more advanced needs.
SOS Inventory offers a 14-day free trial after which you can choose from its 3 pricing plans:
8. Sortly: Best for its visual tracking
Sortly lets you track items and any of their details, including quantity, price, condition, and notes. What sets this tool apart is that it lets you browse your inventory using photos rather than words in a spreadsheet, with up to 8 images per item. And since it’s cloud-based, your data is automatically synced across all devices: desktop, tablet, and mobile app.
Sortly offers a free plan limited to 1 user license and 100 entries. But if you want more advanced features, you can opt for their pricing plans that range from $49 per month to $149 per month.
Best communication tools
With staff often working on different schedules or even remotely, you need to have reliable communication tools that keep everyone connected and informed. Here are two of the best:
9. Slack: Best for instant messaging for remote teams
Slack is a widely known instant messaging app for remote teams that lets you create channels and segment different communication topics. It also supports audio and video calls.
For sales teams, this means sharing updates on leads, deals, and customer feedback instantly. At the same time, integrations with CRM tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Zoho give real-time notifications on deal changes or new customer interactions, helping your sales team respond promptly and stay ahead of the game.
Or if you’re managing a team of freelance professionals, you can create channels for different projects for transparent and organized discussions.
Slack has a free limited plan that supports one-to-one calls, while the paid version, which starts at 6,75 € per user per month, supports up to 14 meeting participants on an annual subscription.
10. GoToMeeting: Best for video conferencing
GoToMeeting is a video conferencing solution that lets users schedule one-click meetings across mobile or desktop devices. However, participants need to download and install the software to join meetings. Plus, the transcripts are available only in English which isn’t ideal for international teams.
GoToMeeting offers a 14-day trial before committing to a plan.
Put the ‘fun’ back in business functionality with Homebase
When it comes to managing your small business, every tool in our line-up shines in its own right. If you’re on the hunt for a robust POS, Clover’s your go-to. Or perhaps you need a financial whizz like FreshBooks.
But at the end of the day, you need information from all these different tools to get an overall picture of your business performance. It’s like piecing together a puzzle, but the pieces are scattered across different boxes.
So if you’re looking for one tool that can do everything from HR to compliance, time tracking, onboarding new hires, and integration with accounting tools, then try Homebase. It’s easy for your whole team to use and combines automated solutions for everyday tasks across team schedules, payroll, team communication, and HR. Plus, it’s free for up to 20 team members, and you can upgrade to our paid plans as your business expands.
Homebase isn’t just a tool, it’s a partner that grows with you.
The post The 10 best small business apps to manage your daily operations appeared first on Homebase.
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Joseph Odierno Buffalo
Joseph C. Odierno of Buffalo New York is a passionate individual working in debt collection.