We are often asked about the best business apps and programs to run a small business productively. People regularly comment on seeing us all over the internet and want to know HOW we do it all without burning out.

So today, we want to share with you the programs and apps we use day-to-day to run our business efficiently and effectively.

We’d also love to know what programs you use. So, drop us a line in the comments below to share your must-have business software for streamlining operations and increasing productivity.

How We Choose Apps At Optimise + Grow Online

There are 3 key features we look for in any app we are considering to streamline business operations and marketing. They are:

  • Ease of integration
  • Access from any device
  • Easy to use interface

And over the years, we’ve tried so many different options! Keep scrolling to see the ones we think are the best.

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • Top 11 Best Business Tools: Our Tech Stack
  • More Recommended Apps For Teams Of All Sizes
  • Conclusion
  • What are YOUR favourite apps?

Top 11 Best Business Tools: Our Tech Stack

Let’s start with the apps we ACTUALLY use here at Optimise + Grow Online. Over the years, we’ve tried (it seems like) everything under the sun in our quest to find the tech stack to keep us streamlined and productive.

Here’s what we’re using today.

1. Google Workspace (previously GSuite)

I’m not sure what we would do without Google Workspace. From Docs to Calendar, Sheets to Slides (not to mention Gmail) – Google Workspace is filled with truly invaluable apps for running a business effectively.

Especially if you collaborate remotely.

This one tool covers so many bases, including:

  • Documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more – all centralized, sharable, and designed for collaborating with remote employees or clients
  • Email inbox and calendars
  • Online or offline, in the cloud or on your desktop
  • Generous document storage
  • Tons of integrations with other apps
  • And so much more

We use these apps together as a team at Optimise + Grow and even with multiple people editing documents at the same time, we’ve never had any problems or issues.

Google Workspace is our favourite way to create our branded training presentation slides, content marketing planners, campaign performance tracking spreadsheets, and lots more. We also love that we can access Google Workspace documents on mobile devices.

We highly recommend Google Workspace if you don’t already have a comparable tool in place that you love.

2. ClickUp

ClickUp is our online to-do list, project management software, and team communication – all in one place. We can access it via desktop or mobile (which is very handy when you get a burst of ideas while out and about) and the interface is really easy to use.

We’ve found this app very useful in mapping out projects and system migrations within teams. And the good news is that ClickUp offers a very feature-rich free version, so you may not even need a paid account.

Backup option: Asana (see below)

3. Zoom

Zoom has been our preferred platform for client meetings and training calls for years now, as the connection and features are far more applicable to our business compared to other options.

The free version of Zoom is great, but we upgraded to the paid business version so that when a client books a meeting, the integration with Acuity automatically sets up a meeting room link and emails it to the client. We’ve saved so much time with this feature alone. It’s also a great platform for screen-sharing and recording which we use to demonstrate business processes to clients.

4. Acuity

This brings us to our favourite booking platform – Acuity, which quickly became a key player in our business. We love it because it’s easy to use and integrates with everything.

We integrate Acuity with our accounting software, CRM and payment processors, email marketing platform, and it all auto-syncs with our Google calendars.

Bonus features that we now cannot live without include:

  • the ability for clients to book using the automatic time-zone converter
  • auto-debiting payment plan options for packages and programs
  • and aesthetically pleasing design that can be easily embedded in any website.

5. Stripe

Stripe has become a standout payment app for online and mobile-based businesses. This payment processing software makes it easy for you to sell your products or services and process credit card transactions without having to apply for a payment gateway through a business bank.

Other features that make Stripe a business must-have include its fraud prevention, reoccurring payments, and the ability to set up your business account with a respected credit card processor in just a few simple steps.

Stripe also integrates with many other apps, making it easy to set up your business the way you want.

6. Simplero

Of all the business management apps we’ve ever used (and we’ve used a lot), Simplero is our absolute favourite for managing multiple aspects of our business all in one place.

You can use Simplero to manage your …

  • Email marketing
  • eCommerce and digital products
  • Online course hosting
  • Membership and subscriptions
  • Landing pages and opt-in forms
  • Email Lists and CRM
  • Automations

Plus so much more.

But the best part? It all just works.

No tricky connections are required between platforms required because everything is in one place. And for any integration you may still need? They just work, too. No brain-bruising coding necessary.

And on top of all of that, they have stellar customer support if you get stuck with anything at all. It’s been such a joy managing our business since we switched to Simplero!

So if you’d like to streamline your business management tech, we highly recommend giving Simplero a try.

7. Canva

Canva is an amazing online tool to quickly and easily create visually appealing graphics. We use it to create eye-catching social graphics, presentations, website banners, blog post graphics, and everything else we dream up.

Canva has a template feature so that we can create, for example, social media designs for clients that they can replicate time and again to stay “on brand.”

It’s easy to use Canva, even for a novice with no design knowledge. But still offers plenty of powerful features that even a skilled designer who just needs to whip something together real quick will love.

On top of that, it easily integrates with Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and other platforms for direct posting. So, depending on your needs, you could theoretically ditch a separate scheduling platform by using Canva instead.

Canva offers a generous free basic version, but the Premium version is well worth the $12.99 per month for advanced design, collaboration, and other additional features.

8. WordPress

Seriously – what can’t this platform do?

It’s the ultimate in functionality, usability, and design. WordPress is our go-to for online business websites because it is free, incredibly versatile, and offers nearly any kind of functionality you might need for your site.

Now, to be clear. We’re talking about the self-hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.org). We believe this is the best platform for blogging and websites, as it allows you to customise your site to your heart’s content. With the thousands of free plug-ins available you can incorporate any kind of cool feature you can imagine.

And while you might pay for a premium theme or plugin, the core software itself – WordPress – is absolutely free.

9. Xero

No matter how big or small your business may be, you need a solid process for bookkeeping and accounting. Out of the many accounting apps available, Xero is our choice for this.

This app covers all the activities you’ll need to run your business effectively, including invoicing, bookkeeping and reporting, account reconciliations, expense tracking, receipts for your business expenses, and more.

We also love that it’s cloud-based so you can access it from anywhere at any time. With everything you have to do to run your business, making bookkeeping as simple as possible is such a relief.

And, personally, as stats and analytics geeks, we love the reporting features and progress graphs. Definitely helps us know at a glance how we’re tracking against our business goals.

Backup choice: Quickbooks Online

10. Zapier

Zapier is an online automation tool that helps connect and configure a wide range of platforms so they automatically speak to each other without effort from you.

Think of your business applications as nodes in a network – when one of the app’s triggers a predetermined action, this sends out instructions to the other linked nodes (apps), which then take over and complete the process.

One of the keys to a productive, scalable business is to remove yourself from as many repetitive tasks as possible through automation or outsourcing.

So instead of transferring data from one platform to another manually, let Zapier do it for you automatically.

Zapier connects to so many platforms that the sky is practically the limit. But here are a couple of specific examples so you can get the idea:

connect email accounts with social media platforms, so you receive alerts when someone mentions your company name on Twitter
trigger an automation in one platform to begin when something happens in another platform
Zapier is a life-saver when you need to connect two (or more) platforms that don’t have an integration available. We love it for its ability to save time and aggravation.

11. LastPass

If you are anything like me, you have dozens of passwords you need to keep track of. But even if you only have a few, we think LastPass is a required app for any business.

In the digital world we live in today, we need to ensure all of our online accounts are secured with complicated passwords that are impossible to remember.

We love LastPass for this because it allows us to:

  • store all passwords and login credentials in an encrypted manner
  • automatically generate highly secure passwords
  • organise all our passwords, logins, and even notes
  • securely share login credentials with consultants, service providers, and assistants without allowing them to see actual passwords

It’s a perfect – and necessary – security app that all businesses should be using.

More Recommended Apps For Teams Of All Sizes To Connect, Create, And Collaborate

(in no particular order)

Asana (free)

Asana is an excellent online to-do list and project management tool. It can be accessed via desktop or mobile and the interface is really easy to use.

This is one of the most full-featured free project management apps you will find.

DropBox (paid)

A few years back we had one of those hold-your-breath-oh-my-gosh moments when our business computer died and took all of the important files along with it.

Following that, we sought out a cloud-based solution (as many of