Never have there been more software choices for the small business. Considering all the information you need to manage, which ones do the best job? In this list we present what we hope is a good start for small and medium business solutions investigating the best back office software.
Slack is part of the family of collaborative tools that are widely used in companies.
In concrete terms, it is an instant messaging tool that centralizes all the company's communications. Like any good instant messaging tool, you will be able to chat with all your company's employees or create group discussions.
So far, you tell me, nothing revolutionary. But Slack goes further than that, because it has the ability to connect to all applications that are used in the enterprise and therefore centralize 100% of information flows. In theory with Slack you are supposed to completely reduce the use of internal company emails and a lot of external emails. Slack positions itself at the heart of the organization and once it is installed, it's hard to live without it.
You want to be able to install a Slack locally? Mattermost is made for you.
Published by the American company of the same name, this open source solution includes the main functionalities of the team messaging tool in SaaS mode: instant messaging (team or one-to-one), breakdown by thematic conversation channels, private groups, comment threads, file sharing…
Mattermost takes over most of the functions of Slack with one main difference: a much less rich app directory.
Zulip is a messaging application for companies and organizations that is a real alternative to industry giants like Slack or HipChat. Zulip does as well and sometimes even better than its famous competitors.
The project is open-source and is regularly updated with improvements and additional options. Zulip, of course, has false tunes from the famous Slack. You will feel on familiar ground with real-time exchanges and conversation threads to better organize your communications.
Wire is a messaging and video calling tool for teamwork that features a high level of security and a sleek, neat interface. Its development was supported by Janus Friis, one of Skype's founders. Wire allows you to communicate with groups that can reach more than a hundred participants. Wire is free and open soruce and it's an ideal tool for collaborative work or just for communicating with your friends and family.
Trello understands that project management is all about collaboration and visualizing the progress of ongoing tasks. Trello allows you to create projects that take the form of tables in several customizable columns. In each column are the tasks or ideas (visualized in the form of cards) that the collaborators advance from left to right as they progress.
In reality, Trello is more like a task manager than a project management tool in the sense that it overlooks cost, time, budget and administrative functions.
If you use Trello to manage your projects and share tasks using the Kanban method, you should know that there is a clone of the service that you can host yourself.
It's called Wekan (note the pun) and it will help you organize yourself, either personally or with your friends or colleagues. At a glance, you will see the current status of your projects and can focus only on the tasks that matter most, just like with Trello.
Redmine is a free and open-source software that is worldwide recognized and offers all the necessary functionalities to work in project mode whatever the configuration of your team. Attention however: Redmine requires to be hosted on your servers and to be maintained by a competent team (backup, security, SSL). Its use is therefore not free because of the operating costs involved. The software is particularly suitable for developers but its use is suitable for all types of projects. Redmine is appreciated for its simplicity, customization of ticket formats and workflows. On the other hand the users reproach it for its austere interface (there are however themes) and its rigidity: no drag-and-drop or relative prioritization of tasks for the moment and these uses are at the heart of an efficient project management.
Taiga is an efficient and comprehensive open source platform to manage your agile team projects. The tool has a very minimalist but efficient interface and has won the Best Agile Tool 2015 Award.
Some features include backlog management with the list of stories and their associated points, real-time burndown chart with some progress stats, an essential Kanban part that will allow you to follow the progress of your stories in the team, a summary sheets of sprints in progress and sprints already completed, a bug / issue management tool allowing your team to give feedback on certain features or bugs encountered…
It's not really comparable to Trello or Wekan because it's not just a task manager or a bug/issue management tool but a full project management software kind of like Redmine.
In a world where clients and customers expect perfection from vendors and service providers, it is more important than ever to manage your brand.
Pilcro is the new way to do so. It is your brand champ, but in your computer. It keeps your whole team clear on what your brand identity is, and how its elements should be used.
And when everyone is clear on your brand identity, pilcro greatly speeds up and improves the process of creating branded content.
Just like Pilcro, OpenBrand helps designers, agencies, and brands work together. It is a smart home for all your logos, designs, and other creative stuff. Unlike a simple shared drive, OpenBrand ensures everything is documented and your creative works are complete with all source files and production data.
InvoiceNinja is a powerful online and self-hosted tool to invoice your customers. It's an internationally recognized solution that's getting more and more powerful. You can use it to create invoices, accept payments, track expenses and time tasks and it supports WePay, Stripe, Braintree, PayPal, Zapier, and many more services.
InvoicePlane is an open-source software to manage quotes, invoices, customers and payments. Installed over 100,000 times in 193 countries worldwide, this application has become a reference. It's a self-hosted solution, which means that the sources must be installed on a web server by yourself or a technical provider. Once configured, it does not take more than 5 minutes to issue a first invoice.
Manta is a flexible open-source invoicing solution with beautiful & customizable templates. Unlike Invoice Ninja and InvoicePlane, it's a desktop app available for macOS, Windows and Linux. It's geared toward freelancers such as designers, developers, photographers, copywriters… or anyone who needs to make invoices in general. The main purpose of this app is to help freelancers to quickly create professional looking invoices.
Intercom is a software platform you can use to track and engage your visitors, and convert them into your customers. It's one of the most used live chat software in the world and it's perfect for sales, marketing and support. That's what we were using at HyperVTX before switching to Front because we needed something more complete.
Front is an email management software for teams that integrates with the tools you already use. With Front, you can assign messages to teammates, write comments for internal collaboration or set reminders to respond later. At HyperVTX, we use Front to respond to customers that use the live chat widget, to answer Facebook & Twitter messages and comments and to read and answer to emails we receive on some shared email addresses.
tawk.to is way simpler than Intercom and Front but it's really good at what it does: live chat that lets you monitor and chat with visitors on your website. It's totally free to use so if you're just looking for a live chat software for your website, you might want to take a look at tawk.to.
Mailchimp is the world leader in emailing solutions. It assists you in designing your campaigns, routing your e-mails and analyzing statistics. Integrating on many platforms, including WordPress, Twitter, Facebook or Salesforce, offering mobile apps (iOS and Android) to manage your mailings from anywhere, MailChimp simplifies and tries to make emailing fun.
Mautic is a free and open-source marketing automation software. This software supports campaign and lead management, social media marketing, email marketing, detailed reporting and integration of external systems via the REST API included in the software.
ERPNext is a free and open-source integrated Enterprise Resource Planning software built on MariaDB database system using a Python based server-side framework. There are also other good open-source ERP software like Odoo, EspoCRM and Dolibarr.
Google Analytics is the statistical site analysis tool proposed by Google. It has many advantages such as being able to connect to it with the same credentials as his Google AdWords, Google Webmaster Tools or Gmail account. It is free and can be easily implemented on a website. It helps you to gain rich insights into your website traffic with Advanced Segmentation, Custom Reporting, Motion Charts, and more and to learn more about where your visitors come from and how they interact with your site.
Like Google Analytics, Matomo (Piwik) is a free software allowing you to measure the audience of your website. But unlike Google Analytics, it's open-source and you can self-host it on your own server or pay to use the Matomo's hosting solution.
There are so much software that this would be impossible to list them all, but here's a subjective selection of some good and well-known software you can use if you're planning to start your own business. Fell free to suggest other software or to share your experience with some of them in the comments or on social media. 🙂