My Essential Business Tools

By Business, General

I get a lot of questions for what software tools I use during my day and how I run my business. So here is an exhaustive (and alphabetical) list of everything I use in my companies that helps stay productive, efficient and awesome.

Asana (Project Management):

We have tried many project management tools out there. We often simply resorted to google docs because it was the easiest. Asana is the perfect blend of simplicity and functionality. We really need a to-do list on steroids and Asana does that for our team. We track bugs, feature request, development and customer service tasks in Asana. It’s been our favorite so far. Price: Free for up to 30 people.

BufferApp (Social Media):

Sometimes I don’t have time to be active on social media every day. I go in spurts and BufferApp is an amazing tool that allows me to post articles, quotes, links and other thoughts into a queue that is then spread out over the week. They calculate when people are most responsive to your tweets and post them for you at those times. It’s a great tool for anyone trying to be effective on twitter. Price: Free basic account. $10 a month for pro account.

Chrome (Web Browser):

Seriously, if you are not using Chrome yet, you need to. I have ditched Firefox and the dreaded internet explorer for Chrome. It is lightning fast, incredibly secure and elegant. I love all the extensions I can build into chrome such as InboxQ, Buffer, SocialBro and many more. Price: Free.

Dropbox (File Storage):

At one time we spent thousands of dollars on an internal network and file server. With dropbox, we are scraping it altogether. Our whole team who is spread out across 5 cities can share all the same files and folders as if we were connected to an internal network. A must have for every small business. Price: Free up to 2GB of storage.

Dual Monitors (Productivity):

I actually have two sets of dual monitors on my desk. Having two sets of dual monitors is amazing helpful for getting tasks done without having to minimize windows or jumo between screens. With several screens on my desk, I see everything at once. Price: $300

Geckoboard (Dashboard):

In my office I have several screens open at any time. One screen is Geckoboard which shows me in real time stats about our business (visitors, web traffic, signups, uptime, sales, support tickets, etc). It refreshes every 5 minutes. Price: Free

GetAbstract (Productivity):

My bookcase is filled with books. The majority I have never fully read. The majority of the time, I can only read about half of a business book because the book starts repeating itself over and over again. GetAbstracts is a summary service which puts many of the top business books into short 15 page summaries with the highlights and main ideas. When I am on vacation, I can ready 40 business book summaries easily and feel I have the full benefits of reading them completely. Price: $299 a year.

Google Analytics (Reporting):

Google Analytics is a free tool that measures traffic and behaviors on your website. In addition to all the neat stats and visitor data we get, the best part for us is setting up ‘Goals’ which measure signups on our site. For others, submitting a contact form or filling out a proposal may be the goal or conversion. You can see exactly where people leave and get hung up on your site so you can make changes and see improvement quickly. Price: Free

Feedly Reader (E-Reader):

I don’t have a lot of time to read and surf the web. So I use feedly reader to pull in news sources that I like to follow such as Tech Crunch, Inc Magazine, WSJ, Signals vs Noise, etc. Then Feedly gives me a quick view of all the headlines and summaries in one nice view. Price: Free.

FullStory (Support & Testing):

This is a pretty crazy tool that allows you to basically DVR customer behaviors. You can replay how people use your software or even recreate a bug. Pricing: Free 14 day trial, then $150 a month

GotoWebinar (Sales):

We recover countless hours of lost time by doing product demos remotely. Gotowebinar is what we use to host product demos for hundreds of potential customers every month. We’ve also built a handful of custom integrations with it as well. Price: Free 30 day trial. $50 after. 

GotoMyPc (Productivity):

At my office, I have a couple computers for me. One of them is a workhorse machine that has all my design fonts, plugins and software. I also have lots of files and photos on this machine that I use all the time. But when I travel (which is a lot), I can use Gotomypc to login to my office computer and work on my office computer from anywhere in the world. Its fast and incredibly useful. We give this software to some employees who can work remotely if they need as well. Price: Free for 30 days, $19 a month after. 

Gusto Payroll (Financial):

Even with our allstar bookkeeping service, keeping up to date with the changes in payroll witholdings, rates and local taxes can be a nightmare. We use Gusto Payroll to manage rates, compliance and payments. I chose this option since I can process payroll online from anywhere in the world. Price: $90 a month

Highrise (CRM):

We have tried many CRMs and Highrise is the best in our opinion. It has the right set of features for contacts, notes, followup items and more. Too many CRMs have millions of features that make it annoying to use. We especially love syncing Highrise to our emails so we can add new contacts and emails without ever having to login. Price: $24 a month

Invision (Prototyping)

I love invision as i can make simulations of my next project or app. I design things in photoshop, export them to images, then use invision to communicate the flows and concept. Price: Free for 4 projects.

iPad (Portability / Productivity):

Our office is split between Macs and PCs. I do most of my work on a powerhouse PC, but also have an iPad 2. I use it to be portable with my business. I read a lot of business news and books on it and use the camera for video conferencing on Skype or Gotomeeting Faces. I always use it for travel and meetings for taking notes and use it every time I speak or give presentations. Price: $399 – Wifi Only Model 16 GB

Intercom (Customer Support):

Right inside of our web interface, we give customers the option to ask a question instead of emailing or calling. Its amazingly effective for everyone. With customer support and sales people in 4 cities, this works great for us. Price: Tiered based on active customers.

Microsoft ActionPack (Software):

Few people know that business can enroll to become a microsoft partner and purchase the infamous action pack. The action pack gives you 10 copies of almost everything microsoft makes. Price: $300

Pingdom (Reporting):

Our business relies on servers running all the time. Occasionally we will get a regional hiccup that causes an interruption for some of our customers. Pingdom is a website monitoring service that checks every second to make sure your website is still online and working properly. If your website goes offline or becomes unresponsively slow, pingdom will send you a text message and email letting you know so you can address the issue immediately. Price: Free for basic plan.

Ping Pong Table (Office Setup):

What started as a fun incentive to our office has become one of the best purchases we have ever made. Our ping pong table has revolutionized our office. Most of us rarely played ping pong at all (if ever), but now it is the highlight of the office. Having a fun way to break up your day or just take a breather from some challenging work is a great addition to the office. It’s amazing how many times we have hit a road block in development and after taking a 10 minute ping pong break, we come up with a viable solution. Price: $250 (Prototyping) allows you to create functional / click through apps, pages and websites with ease. Its not very polished, but working through a test idea and actually being able to run it on your phone or desktop is pretty sweet. Price: Free for basic.

Quickbooks Online (Accounting):

We have been using Quickbooks for years and it’s been our goto accounting software. We started using Quickbooks Online a few years ago now that I have ventures where partners are not in the same office and where people are working remote. With our accounting software being online, we can access our reports, create invoices and manage billing details anywhere. Price: $30 a month

RingCentral (Virtual Phone System):

We have been using virtual phone systems since my very first startup in a dorm room. RingCentral gives you the fancy “press one for sales” virtual phone tree that can forward to people in the office, on the road or around the world. Price: Starting at $24 a month

Sherweb (Email / Exchange Server):

Our people need to be connected at all times. Exchange is still the best corporate contact, calendar, email sync software out there to me. We used to have an internal server that managed exchange but Sherweb does it for cheap and without the hassle of managing it internally. Everyone is always synced and connected. Price: $7.95 per Exchange Box

Slack (Group Collaboration):

Email between our team members can get confusing when we have so many emails in a day. Our internal communication can get lost. Slack is a simple web chat tool that we use internally to communicate that is really easy and simple to integrate. Price: Free


Slickrun is available only for PC and is a quick launch command program. For Mac users, Alfred works just as nicely. I program popular commands such as google, email, word, excel, dropbox. Instead of clicking the start menu and finding the right program, I can launch any popular application with a single keyword. Price: Free.

Uptown Bookkeeping (accounting / bookkeeping):

I used to do my own books for years until I realized that the worst way to spend my time is to do something I hate. I hate reconciling statements and reports. The best check I write all month is my once a month bookkeeping service to Uptown Bookkeeping. They do the books for 5 of my ventures and is worth every penny. I don’t worry about a thing.  Price: $40 an hour

Upwork (Talent):

We work on so many different kinds of projects that we will run into unique challenges all the time. Since we can’t have an expert of every kind on the payroll, we utilize Upwork to find talented people around the world. One time we spent a week trying to figure out a pesky server bug and found someone in London who fixed it for $250. From nerdy programming issues to voiceovers, video production to simple design work, we have used Upwork a lot. Price: $50-$500

Verizon Jetpack 4G Mifi (Portable Wireless):

Whenever I travel or have a client who needs to use our software for an event, we take the Verizon 4G jetpack which gives 5 users 4G internet access anywhere. I have used in the car going down I-5 and it works great. We also use it when we move our office to the park on nice days. All of us can stay connected easily. Price: $65 a month

Zoom (Video Conferencing):

We have several people who are remote and video calling is a nice way to connect with people. Zoom is by far the best video tool we have as its quality is superior to skype and google hangout. Price: is free for calls less than 15 minutes. $9 a month for unlimited.

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