With an entire universe of business tools out there — many of them for free — there’s no need for micro business owners to do it all themselves. Turn to the sources we’ve researched and vetted for you here to tap into the vast universe of micro business owner support available online. With these apps and tools, you can expand your team without hiring a soul.
The best part?
While many of these resources offer help to small businesses for an ongoing subscription fee, most offer a free or freemium plan that is well-suited for a micro business's needs.
Read on to find the financial, marketing and office management tools that will work best for your micro businesses.
What Is a Micro Business?
Micro businesses are the tiniest small businesses, the ones with fewer than nine employees (often way less than that). These small-but-mighty entrepreneurial endeavors generally have:
Less than nine employees, but closer to less than six
Annual sales of $250,000 or less
Cost less than $50,000 in startup funds
Some micro businesses are simply a sole proprietorship, with just a micropreneur at the helm. No matter how micro your micro business really is, you still have the same to-do list as organizations with rosters full of employees. So often, entrepreneurs will try to wear all the hats and do all the things themselves. This can lead to burnout quickly. Use the micro business tools, software and apps we’ve listed below to avoid burnout and do more with less.
Finance Tools for Micro Businesses
Micro businesses operate with less capital and a tiny team of employees, so it’s not often you’ll find one with a finance department or even a CPA or someone with accounting experience on staff. Once your revenue is rolling in, you'll need tools to help you manage the often mundane and challenging tasks of business accounting, finance, bookkeeping, time-tracking and invoicing.
Invoicing and Accounting Software
QuickBooks: Provides invoicing, accounting, reporting and everything in between for $7.50/month for the base package.
Xero: Sends out invoices, quotes and bills while tracking expenses starting at $12/month with cost rising based on scale of need.
Bonsai: Provides unlimited invoicing, contracts, time-tracking and more for $19/month.
Paymo: Provides time-tracking, invoicing, team management and more for $9.95/month or the free version will get you up to three invoices a month.
Marketing Tools for Micro Businesses
Micro businesses often have very close, personal relationships with their clients. All that face time and personal attention is great for brand loyalty, but it doesn’t leave much left over for you to market your business for growth. We’ve compiled a list of some excellent marketing tools, from designing a logo for your micro business to email marketing tools, to help your micro business stay on top of its marketing and PR goals.
Wix: Provides simple drag-and-drop design features to make your own website in no time, with prices starting at $18/month for entrepreneurs.
Squarespace: It’s popular for a reason, offering full-service website, analytics and SEO tools for as low as $23/month.
CRM and Market Automation Software
HubSpot: It's the gold standard for small business email marketing with a starter package that includes LiveChat for $45/month.
Klaviyo: Provides solutions for Shopify and ecommerce micro businesses and starts with free options for up to 250 contacts.
Mailchimp: It has seemingly endless options, starting with a free plan that can send emails to up to 2,000 contacts.
Social Media Tools
Buffer: Provides simple social media publishing tools, with options for analytics and engagement add-ons. Free or upgrade for $5/month.
Followerwonk: Helps you connect, track and analyze social media followers with optimization insights. One account is free, and pay $29/month or $79/month for more accounts.
Public Relations Resources
Help a Reporter Out (HARO): Connects you with journalists seeking expertise on a number of topics. You can provide answers on topics you know well to get promotion and visibility on your business. Basic subscription is free. There are also HARO alternative sites that may work for you as well.
BuzzStream: Helps business owners grow digital and PR link building results. Pricing starts at $24/month.
Office Management Tools for Micro Businesses
Sometimes the most demanding aspect of running any business — including a micro business — is keeping track of a calendar and maintaining a well-organized day. Without the luxury of hiring a personal assistant or an office manager, many micropreneurs can find themselves swamped in an overloaded inbox or not able to respond to meeting requests because of a bogged-down calendar.
Don’t let that happen to you. With the help of a few simple, streamlined tools your micro business can tap into a cast network of online office management tools to help get everything sorted out.
Calendly: Provides free appointment scheduling for individuals and can do customized schedules for small teams for as low as $12/month.
AppointEze: Schedule unlimited events and even accept payments with this professional tool that starts free for individuals and charges $49/user per month for more advanced options.
Evernote Scannable: Provides the power of a full-scale printer and scanner on a free app on your phone to help you sort and manage contracts, forms and documents easily.
Google Docs: Helps share documents, collaborate and track all changes between your team and clients in a free, super-user-friendly interface accessible from virtually anywhere.
Trello: Manage a vast amount of projects and keep track of your to-do’s with this visually pleasing tool, and the free version is all your micro business will need.
Wrike: Manage multiple projects, clients and employees across the simple tool with a free option or one for $9.80/month that scales up for more collaboration features.
There is a treasure trove of micro business tools, software and apps out there just waiting to help your business thrive. With the right resources, you can free up your time and headspace to focus on the things that matter, like the reasons you got into this business in the first place or maybe even take a day off or a vacation while you’re at it.
The list we’ve compiled here is just the beginning. If you’re looking for more help managing your micro business, Incfile can help. We have resources to help businesses of all sizes.
Nicole Bowman is a freelance writer who thinks turning research into stories is the best gig ever. She started writing billboards back in 2002, worked in book publishing in New York for many years and now she creates all sorts of engaging content for the web. Nicole lives in Rehoboth Beach, DE, with her husband, two sons and their poodle, Tootsie. She loves the great outdoors, bookstores and tennis.