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15 Best Small Business & Startup Tools in 2023

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

We’ve put together a list of essential tools and resources for small businesses and startups that cover marketing, product, productivity, and accounting. Hopefully, you’ll find something of value to kick off the new year with a competitive edge.

Let’s dive in.

HubSpot is one of the most solid choices when it comes to multifunctional software for startups and small businesses. Even the free option includes a long list of Marketing, Sales/CRM, Servicing, CMS, and Operations tools. They enable you to gradually establish, refine and scale your processes as you grow.

Our Marketing Sage, Francois du Toit, swears by HubSpot’s FREE Website Grader that grades your website and offers actionable recommendations on how to improve. HubSpot’s free Sales/CRM tool allows you to centralize your contacts and extract valuable data from various sources to learn more about your customers. It also helps you keep track of your interactions and relationships with customers as well as emails, social media, and scheduling.

Pricing: Free options with paid premium features

2. Intercom Early Stage

Building a startup from the ground up isn’t easy — you don’t need us to tell you that. But with Intercom, you can navigate early-stage tasks, such as acquiring and onboarding customers, with much more confidence and support.

Live chat, push notifications, and targeted messaging take connecting with customers to a higher level, helping you lay the all-important foundations for a successful future.

Pricing: Certain early-stage startups can access Conversational Support Pro, Conversational Customer Engagement Pro, and Product Tours at a 95% discount for $65/month. Businesses that are not early-stage startups can also purchase Intercom’s services at higher rates.

Segment helps businesses use analytics to quantify product-market fit, understand customers, and try new tools without redundant or time-consuming work. Segment offloads building and maintaining integrations from engineers, allowing them to focus on product.

Segment’s Startup Program includes free access to Segment, analytics training, and special deals on marketing and analytics tools that work with Segment, such as Amazon Web Services, HubSpot, and Intercom.

Pricing: Early-stage startups can join Segment’s Startup Program and access Segment for free for up to two years. There are also Team and Business plans for other companies.

Easy to use, easy on the wallet, and packed with useful features, Hootsuite is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of any startup wanting to leverage the power of social media (which should be everyone!). This tool covers the functions of a social media manager’s role.

Hootsuite allows you to engage your audience, schedule large numbers of posts across multiple social media platforms and track their performance, including ROI. This takes a huge amount of time and guesswork out of your social media strategy from the very beginning.

Pricing: Hootsuite has various pricing plans with a 30-day free trial. Unlimited Members can save up to 50% off Hootsuite Professional and Team Plans.

Mailchimp can help you uplevel your email marketing by creating, segmenting, sending, tracking, and analyzing email campaigns. This tool takes a ton of the work out of this critical task and gives you valuable insights to evaluate and optimize your approach.

Pricing: Free options - up to 2,500 monthly email sends and support for first 30-days - with paid premium features and increased capacity.

6. Canva

Good design is an incredibly important ingredient to building any successful business. Canva is a quicker, more inexpensive alternative to hiring a skilled graphic designer.

Canva allows anyone to create their own designs in minutes. It’s perfect for simple logos, icons, banner images, flyers, and other basic design tasks — all you need to give your business an additional aesthetic touch and take the first steps toward building your own brand identity.

Pricing: Free options with paid premium features

7. Easy-to-use website makers: Wix, Squarespace, Shopify

Every business needs a website, but the process of building a smooth, professional, and effective website is not easy. Fortunately, you don’t need to fork out a ton of cash for a team of developers — there are several great tools to help you create and build your own website with minimal design and coding knowledge.

Wix has a wide range of beautiful templates and themes. Another example is Squarespace, which is designed to help you build a website that not only looks great but helps your business succeed with ecommerce and marketing tools. Shopify is another great choice, allowing you to build, customize, and manage the perfect online store, whether you're just starting out or ready to grow.

Pricing: Wix has free and premium plans. Squarespace and Shopify have various pricing plans with free trials. All of the platforms have options for custom pricing.

Designed to make collaboration smoother than ever before, ClickUp is loaded with organizational features, such as bite-sized, customizable task boards, clean and simple checklists and sub-tasks, and user-friendly communication features. It has integrations with Slack, Microsoft, Outlook, HubSpot, Salesforce, Timely, Google Drive, and more. However big or small your project, and whoever is working on it, ClickUp probably has what you need.

Pricing: Freemium with $3000 of free ClickUp credits for startups if you qualify.

Coordinating meetings is incredibly important for any small business, but it can also be time-consuming and stressful. With Calendly, scheduling and keeping track of meetings becomes a whole lot easier. Calendly is simple to use and integrates with tools such as Zoom, Gmail, Zapier. Their meeting poll feature is our new obsession.

Pricing: Free options with paid premium features

10. Bubble

Part of the growing no-code movement, Bubble is a platform to help anyone build their own web apps and digital products, such as online marketplaces, dashboards, and CRMs. If you want to create high-quality, user-friendly products, Bubble is a valuable weapon even if you don’t know the first thing about coding. Don't want to learn how to do it yourself? That's okay too because there's a growing community of agencies and developers that can develop your no-code app for you!

Pricing: Freemium with discounts for students and non-profits.

11. Slack

Slack is pretty much a household name these days—deservedly so. Built to allow teams to communicate and collaborate easily, wherever they are in the world, Slack really made its name during COVID lockdowns and has remained a staple for businesses of all kinds ever since.

It’s easy to create channels and groups around specific themes, quickly ping individual team members in private chats, share media and docs, and much more.

Pricing: Free options with paid premium features

12. Startup-friendly accounting software

One of the most important tasks for small businesses — and any businesses — is keeping track of finances. Tasks like invoicing, managing your payroll, and accounting are all absolutely essential, but they’re also complex and time-consuming.

The good news is that a plethora of tools exists to make this aspect of running your business more manageable. Freshbooks, built to streamline invoicing and keep track of finances, is especially well-suited to service businesses. Xero, with its wealth of third-party integrations, is perfect for businesses with lots of financial tools. And Quickbooks is hard to beat when it comes to simplicity and ease of use.

Pricing: Affordable subscription-based pricing with heavy promotions.

AppSumo features a massive collection of current deals on software, allowing you to tap into some seriously powerful new tools at a far more wallet-friendly price than usual — perfect for cash-conscious startups. Their current catalog boasts over 900 software deals from operations and customer experience to sales and marketing.

Pricing: Each software has its own price. AppSumo Plus members receive 10% discounts on each tool as well as access to a community of tech-savvy entrepreneurs.

Collaborating with your teams and bringing everyone together can be a tough task in today’s increasingly digital and remote-friendly world. There’s no one-size-fits-all collaboration platform, which means the best solution is to build your own. Easier said than done for a startup with a limited budget, right?

Well, not necessarily. Airtable gives you all the tools (and templates) you need to craft your own highly customized and connected collaboration platform with no code needed.

Pricing: Freemium with special plans for nonprofits and educational institutions

15. Zapier

Automation is key when it comes to doing more with fewer resources — making it the perfect solution for startups and small businesses. Zapier allows you to harness the power of automation for your business by automating your activities across more than 5,000 apps. Automate your contracts, data entry, posting, lead flow, and an almost endless list of other valuable tasks to save time and maximize your progress.

Pricing: Free options with paid premium features

And there we have it! 19 tools (well, we sneaked a few extra ones in) to help you and your startup better manage a variety of different tasks and do more with less.

Need a more hands on approach? Get in touch with Sagely to find out more about how we can help grow your small business by tapping into our network of vetted experts.


Co-authored by Sagely's own copywriting intern, Divya Sood, a Junior at Boston University's Questrom School of Business.

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