I am regularly asked for recommendations on the best tools for running and growing a business. Here is a list of recommended resources that I’ve either personally used (in most cases) or have reviewed extensively and feel confident in recommending.

Accounting Systems

QuickBooks  – The granddaddy of small business accounting systems.  Tons of functionality – more than your business may need. Comes in desktop version and a more recent on-line version called QBO which is getting better all the time.  And just so you know, Intuit has stopped supporting the Mac desktop version. It will be a few years before Windows support goes away, but it will happen.  Accounting is cloud bound!

Xero – Robust, well established on-line full accounting system. This is the system I recommend for clients who want on-line accounting and who don’t need all the functionality of QuickBooks.  The basic version is less expensive than QBO, and includes free payroll for up to five employees.

Freshbooks – Accounting lite; just fine for a small service based business that does not need full accounting capabilities.

Wave – Much like FreshBooks – and it’s FREE!

Business Plans

BPlans – A free resource to get you started on a business plan

Email Marketing Services

Constant Contact – Email marketing as well as other tools, like customer surveys.  Excellent templates, excellent support.

MailChimp – excellent email service, and free for the first 2000 subscribers

Website tools

Hostgator – Robust, responsive hosting company that I personally use. – Started life as a blogging platform, but now works well as a general website – The simpler version of WordPress, without all the functionality and control you have with  A good option for getting started. – Web pages for users to sign up for blog posts, webinars, email lists, etc.

Customer Relations Management (CRM) Systems

Zoho – A full suite of applications, including a CRM. Lots of functionality, but can be hard to find your way around. They have a free plan as well as well as paid plans.

Also check out my favorite apps and programs here.