Most apps, software, and service I try for my business is a waste of money. I barely ever use, it doesnt give me any ROI, and I typically keep the subscription longer than I should.But every so often I try a piece of software and I wonder how I ever operated my business without it.
Here are 5 pieces of software I couldnt live without. They save me time, eliminate stress, and make me money.ShopifyI run an e-commerce store selling digital art supplies to artists and designers.
I need the platform I sell on to be reliable so that I can focus on the business. That means:It should be easy for me to upload products.Visitors should be able to find products with ease.
The checkout experience must be simple. Experimenting with new marketing tactics like abandoned cart emails and pop-up offers (to name just a few) should be relatively easy to set up.Analytics should be simple, i.
e., I should be able to quickly see what product has the highest add to cart conversion rate.Ive tried a lot of different software and platforms (I have nightmares about hooking up Wordpress for e-commerce).
Shopify is the only e-commerce platform Ive never regretted using. Its orders of magnitude better than its competitors if you ask me.It has every feature a professional e-commerce site needs, its user-friendly, and developers are always adding new features.
Price: Starting at $29 a monthBenchIf theres anything I suck at, its bookkeeping. Id rather practice popping my eyeball out of its socket.So when I discovered that Bench would take care of everything, pay attention to all the details, and save me at least 10 hours of bookkeeping a month this service was a no brainer.
Bench keeps all of my financials clean and easy to understand. Here are some of my favorite features:Monthly meeting with my bookkeeping team so I can see my wins and plan for future goals.Up to date profit and loss and balance sheet, so I always know how my business is performing.
Easy access for my CPA and payroll company, so all I have to do is scan stuff and approve it.Price: Starting at $129 a monthBasecampWhen it comes to software companies, Basecamp is an OG. Theyve been around since the beginning.
Basecamp makes it super easy for teams of employees, contractors, and clients to all work together. Theres virtually no learning curve, and it has every feature you need to bring a project from start to completion.To-do lists that let you assign tasks to anyone and understand where the project status.
A chat area (they call it Campfire) where you can have more casual conversations about whats going on with a project. This is great for developing ideas and solving problems with ease.Document and file area where you can upload any time of external file or create documents.
That means everything from design files to video files to audio files can all be available for the whole team. Price: $99 a monthHelpScoutOne month I decided to audit how my employees, contractors and myself spent our time each month. I was horrified to discoverd how much money we were spending on redundant customer service emails.
Helping customers is an essential part of my business because it creates trust and builds relationships. But when youre answering the same question hundreds of times, you know something needs to change.HelpScout makes it easy to share common questions and answers with customers.
Plus, when they contact us we can easily see what solutions theyve already tried, what product theyve purchased, and what products theyre considering purchasing. That means we can offer fast answers and recommend useful products.Price: Starting at $20 per user per monthMailChimpAsk just about any successful online business owner what the secret to their success is, and theyll probably mention their email list.
For five years, the software I used was MailChimp. It kept my delivery rates high, was easy to use, made great looking emails, and the customer support was excellent.My only complaint would be that the features are a little limited.
However, I think thats part of their plan, and I appreciate that they stay focused. Last year I moved to Klaviyo as my email needs had gotten more sophisticated. But I still have a soft place in my heart for MailChimp.
Theyre a lovely company so I use them as much as I can. Price: Free to startGreat Tools are FreeA lot of the software on this list costs $100 a month to start. That can seem like an astronomical price that you cant afford to pay.
But remember, good investments in your business are free. If a piece of software, an app, or a service lowers the hourly price of a task or frees you or an employee to do something more specialized then youre making money.Be sure to look a few steps ahead when you consider the value of software.
Sometimes software that seems expensive actually reduces the price of business by ridiculous amounts.