When you're starting a small business (or even if you've been in business for years), often there's no one to tell you that you're wasting money. And trust me, you will waste money. But using the right products and services can help you to avoid some of the more devastating pitfalls.

After years of successes and failures, I do consider myself a business expert, and I want to share some insights. These are some of the products that have made a huge difference for my company or the companies we hear from on our website. To note, I am not being paid to recommend these services, and we are customers of some of them.

Quickbooks

This accounting software probably isn't news to you. Quickbooks has been around since 2002 and its predecessor, Quicken, launched all the way back in 1984. But I can't recommend it highly enough to help get your finances in order.

What's so great about it? No matter what type of business you have, there's a version that's made just for you. Whether you have a nonprofit, run a wholesale company, or have a professional service firm, you're covered.

Salesforce Essentials

You know Salesforce, but Essentials has only been around since 2017, so you may not be aware of this product specifically for small businesses. What exactly is it? Think of it as a one-stop shop for managing your customers, from sales to customer service. It's easier to use than other CRM services, so it's perfect for those without extensive tech backgrounds.

Microsoft Teams

Yes, we all use Slack, but if you are a Microsoft user, you might not know this tool exists within your suite of services. Messaging and video calls are what keeps many small businesses afloat these days, no matter where team members are working from. Part of what's so cool about Teams is that it uses Office 365 to allow you to collaborate on PowerPoint presentations and Word docs remotely.

eBay Seller Hub

For businesses selling on eBay, this tool is an invaluable addition. Remember the days when My eBay was all you had at your disposal? This is serious, high-powered software that will tell you absolutely everything happening on your account, from selling costs to how many people are looking at your listings. My favorite part is that it's free, so no seller has an unfair advantage over another.

Growbots

This is the lead generation tool that my sales team uses. My managing director of enterprise sales, Fryderyk Ovcaric, has been a fan for years. He says he likes it because of the quality leads, email campaign analytics, and fully automated and personalized cadences you can set up.  I can attest that it really is helping to grow my company. It's not as big as the other companies I mentioned (yet), but I'm convinced someday it will get there.

Most of all, when you sign up for one of these services, don't just wing it. Take their courses or tutorials on everything the software offers, or you will be leaving money on the table.

Published on: Dec 17, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.