Small Business
Jun 7, 2024

15+ Things Every Small Business Needs [& Tools To Match]

Small businesses are some of the most successful businesses in the world and are considered small businesses by the United States Census Bureau. This means they have less than 1,500 employees.

There are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States alone, employing over 60 million people.

These businesses range in industry and offer opportunities that larger companies can’t provide. Starting a small business and keeping it alive isn’t always easy, but it is possible with the right tools.

Whether you want to start a small business or have one but are looking for ways to improve, here are 15+ things every small business should know.

What Do Small Businesses Struggle With?

There are many things to love about running and being a part of a small business.

You can feel closer to your coworkers and communicate with your superiors better, and there’s likely more flexibility and more.

Even with a lot of benefits to working for and running a small business, there are a few things that they tend to struggle with.

Finding Good Employees

Finding good employees can make or break a small business. A lot of people in the workforce seek to work for a larger company because they’re more established and tend to have more job security. Finding the right employees can be done, but it’s challenging for small businesses.

Keeping Good Employees

Even if you find great employees, keeping them is another battle. As a small business, you cannot always offer the same benefits that larger corporations can.

That being said, there are things a small business can offer its employees that larger ones can’t, and you need to focus on those to keep good employees.

Adjusting to the Market Conditions

The process of running a business is tricky. Adjusting to market conditions at the drop of a hat is essential, but this is a challenge for small businesses.

Even something like changing prices to compete in the market can be challenging for small businesses since they have lower inventory and then have to reevaluate their entire budget.

Lack of Capital

Having a lack of capital, especially in the beginning, is a significant struggle for a small business. When there’s a lack of capital, paying employees and paying for other business expenses can be hard.

Time Management

Time management is vital in all aspects of life, but small businesses tend to have a hard time with this.

Whether it’s because there are too many things to do and not enough people to do them or just no concept of time management, this can make or break a small business.

Marketing

Marketing is one of those things that can be really easy or really difficult. You don’t need a marketing degree to market your small business, but you need time, money, and a lot of dedication.

Marketing is a full-time job on its own, so trying to balance this task with others can be difficult for smaller companies.

Lead Generation

Lastly, small businesses struggle with lead generation. Medium and large companies can pay for lead generation tools to help them with this, but they also tend to have a higher reputation, so people naturally flock to their businesses.

Small businesses struggle with lead generation due to less money and time to hunt down leads.

What Are Things Every Small Business Needs?

Small businesses need many of the same things a larger company does and then some.

So let’s dive into some key things that every small business, regardless of the industry, needs to succeed.

List of Things Needed to Start a Small Business

If you’ve been thinking about starting a small business but haven’t yet, these are the main things you’ll need to get started.

Business Idea

You can’t start a business without an idea. The first step to getting your business off the ground is to know what type of business you want to start, what products or services you want to offer, and how you’ll pull it off.  

Market Research

Once you have your business idea, doing market research will help you as a business owner learn more about your competition and what your target audience is looking for.

You can use this to help make your small business stand out against others in your industry. Market research will allow your business to grow better than without it.

Business Plan

Having a solid business plan is necessary to start your small business. You should consider how you’ll earn your money and expenses and how you plan to maximize capital to continue expanding your business.

Business plans can change as necessary, but you should always have one initially to get you started.

Website

It’s nearly impossible for a business, especially a small business, to run nowadays without a website.

Having a website will allow potential customers to see everything they need to know about your business and even purchase items from it if you’re selling merchandise.

Capital

You can’t run a business without capital. As a small business owner, you’ll need money to start your business and grow it.

Whether you’re using personal finances to start your business or have enlisted the help of investors, ensuring you have enough capital to at least get off the ground and last you until you start earning a profit is vital.

A Team

While some small businesses can run with one person, you’ll need a team to help with all the different aspects of running a business.

Hiring a team, even a small one, will allow for better time management and happier customers and can allow people to focus on specific aspects of the business.

An Office

Regardless of your opening business, you’ll likely need an office. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a rented office space, but you’ll need a dedicated “office” or workspace to conduct your business.

Keep in mind that if you’re renting another space to run your business and not using a room in your home, it will add additional costs to your business.

A Business Registration

Registering your business will make it official. You typically have to do this at the local and state levels.

You’ll be able to be recognized as a real business, reserve the name you want (we have plenty of small business ideas names to inspire you), and legally be allowed to operate your small business.

While getting your business registration, it would also be an excellent time to look into an E&O agency to protect yourself.

A Tax ID

When starting your small business, you’ll need a tax ID, also called an employer identification number.

A tax ID is beneficial, so you can start a business bank account, efficiently deal with W2s for employees you hire, and so you can file business taxes with the IRS appropriately.

Even if you don’t have employees, you are legally required to get a tax ID.

Necessary Licenses and Permits

Depending on the type of business you’re starting, you might need a license or permit.

It’s best to check with your state and local jurisdiction to ensure you have all the appropriate documents. For example, you should seek a freelance business license if you plan on freelancing.

Equipment Needed

You’ll need the necessary equipment no matter what type of small business you’re starting. For example, lawn care businesses need at least a lawn mower.

For clothing businesses, you’ll need the materials to produce said clothing. Factoring in the equipment’s cost and how much inventory you’ll need is vital as you start a small business.

What Do Small Business Owners Need Right Now?

Things change quickly in the business world. Even if you have all the standard tools you need to succeed, these are what small business owners need right now to stay relevant and thrive.

Cash Management

Being able to manage your finances well is something all small businesses need, especially now.

Having a budget and sticking to it will allow for the company’s longevity. When there’s a cash management system in place, worrying about the fate of the business won’t be at the forefront of the owner’s mind.

Marketing Help

Small businesses don’t have the money that larger corporations have to spend on marketing.

Utilizing marketing help from previous customers and influencers or taking courses on marketing can help them get the business name out there and see more leads that are converting.

A Plan

Having a plan will help your small business succeed. You’ll want to come up with a plan for different scenarios.

For example, how you’ll adjust to market trends, how you’ll market your business, and how you’ll conduct lead generation.

These are just a few things to plan for, but having a solid business plan is critical.

Lead Generation

Even though lead generation is one of the main things small businesses struggle with, it’s one of the most important things they need right now.

More and more people are starting their own small businesses, so maximizing lead generation is what will keep them relevant and earning capital.

Best Small Business Tools

Even with the best employees and a great idea, these things can only get you so far.

Several business tools can help small businesses thrive and even support your business as you continue to grow.

1. Google Analytics

screenshot of the google analytics homepage

Google Analytics is one of the best small business freebies available. Since Google powers it, you can easily integrate all your other Google apps.

This tool lets you track website visits and learn more about the people visiting your website so you can better market to them and convert leads.

2. DropBox

screenshot of the dropbox homepage

An excellent tool file hosting service for small businesses is DropBox. It allows for safe, cloud-based file storage from a company that won’t sell your data.

With this tool, you can safely store data about your small business or copies of important documents so you never lose them.

3. Odesk

screenshot of the odesk homepage

For small businesses who want to hire freelancers for various tasks, Odesk is where you need to look.

This platform allows you to search for freelancers with a variety of skills so you can get the work done that you need.

From hiring marketing freelancers and writers to help with your website, and more, Odesk is highly beneficial for small business owners.

4. Asana

screenshot of the asana homepage

Since small businesses tend to struggle with time management, using workforce management software like Asana can be life-changing.

Asana will keep a calendar with key dates, help with goal setting, and create to-do lists and reminders to ensure that everything with your business runs as smoothly as possible.

5. MailChimp

screenshot of the mailchimp homepage

Email marketing is vital to small businesses. MailChimp is an email marketing platform that can help automate the email process so you can focus on other aspects of your business.

Using MailChimp for email automation can help increase your sales and help you find new leads.

6. Square

screenshot of the square homepage

Whether you’re selling products or services, you’ll need a safe and secure way for your customers to pay you. Square is a great option.

One of the best parts about Square is that it’s great for businesses of any size, so as you grow, you don’t have to switch to a different payment processor.  

7. Trello

screenshot of the trello homepage

Keeping lists of tasks or other business needs helps run a business. Trello is an excellent list-making platform that allows you to organize all your lists in one place.

It can help you manage various business projects, and other employees can have access to the platform if you want them to. It’s great for collaborating with other members of your team.

8. Slack

A homepage of the slack screenshot

If you’re running a small business that requires you to keep in touch with your employees and team members quickly, Slack is an excellent messaging platform.

You can use it on a desktop or laptop and even download the mobile app to stay in touch with your team while you’re on the go.

9. HoneyBook

screenshot of the honeybook homepage

HoneyBook is a client flow software. You can easily organize a list of all current, previous, and ongoing clients so you can stay in touch, learn more about their habits, and provide them with even better service in the future.

You can use it to book appointments, schedule services, and make it easier for you and your clients.

10. Later.com

screenshot of the later homepage

It’s not enough to only have a website. Taking advantage of social media can help grow your small business.

Later.com is a social media management platform to help you stay at the forefront of your customers’ and potential customers’ minds and help you market your products and services.

11. Zoom

screenshot of the zoom homepage

As a business owner, if you have a team you’re managing, using Zoom to conduct business meetings when you can’t all be together is necessary.

You can use it to brainstorm marketing ideas, hold company meetings, and more. The best part is that it is entirely free to use.

12. DocuSign

screenshot of the docusign homepage

Depending on the business you’re running, you’ll likely need customers to sign documents occasionally.

If you have employees, you’ll need them to sign hiring documents, so taking advantage of DocuSign is a good idea. It allows people to sign documents electronically officially.

13. HubSpot CRM

screenshot of the hubspot crm homepage

HubSpot CRM is a good choice for all your customer relationship management needs.

This tool will allow you to better organize all your customers and potential customers’ information, including email addresses to which you can send marketing emails. It’s great for converting leads and earning more business.

14. GoCo

screenshot of the goco homepage

If you’re managing employees, then you’ll want to use GoCo. It’s an HR tool that will help you keep all employee information organized and essential business documents.

You can even run payroll through this platform to ensure everyone is paid the correct amount and on time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about running a small business? Here are a few questions other business owners are wondering.

What Do Small Business Owners Want?

What small business owners want will vary from person to person. But, generally, all small business owners want to see their business idea come to life and succeed. Succeeding can mean making a specific amount of money in sales, growing their business, or combining the two.

What is the Easiest Business to Own?

One of the easiest businesses to own is a lawn care company. All you need to get started is one person, a lawn mower, and a small customer base. It’s also a straightforward business to grow if you choose to by hiring more people and expanding your business.

Wrapping Up

When starting and running a small business, having the right tools can help you succeed. Hiring quality employees, retaining them, researching market trends, and using tools like Slack, Google Analytics, and more are key to success.

Combining this information and tools with hard work and dedication can help you build your dream business.

We hope you find this information and tools helpful. Leave us a comment below if you have any questions or comments you want to share with other small business owners.