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Updated by Gail Zahtz on May 13, 2021
Gail Zahtz Gail Zahtz
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Small Business Solutions That May Surprise You

With tens of thousands of solutions out there, it is getting harder to find a suite of productivity and creative solutions that enable you to meet your business goals and focus on the mission of your business without struggling on finding the best ways to just get things done. There are certain solutions that you hear about all of the time, others that are just beyond the scope of a small business, but here is a curated list that will enable you to meet your business and creative needs end to end with solutions that may be completely off your radar.

Here we are trying to create a directory of your best tech options for:

  • getting and being found and relevant online,
  • reaching and communicating with your audiences
  • contact management,
  • social media marketing,
  • collaboration and project management
  • sales and invoicing,
  • finance
  • creativity
  • and more

Our goal is a curated list of the best options for you and others like you to build a suite of solutions and then move on to running your business. This list is more geared towards to the solo entrepreneur or the small business not enterprise solutions, so price is noted as much as possible and ranks as a higher consideration. We're also looking at multi-purpose tools and suites to make your business or creative process as integrated and simple as possible. In brief: what do you use everyday? What business challenges are eating up your time and you want the best and most cost efficient set of solutions?

A new project, as others that we are first launching on and will then move onto our newly branded network of sites- please add your input on the apps, SaaS (software as a service, subscription software, or otherwise known as online solutions that enable you to get the latest upgrades without making hefty purchases.) and if any software exists that is still worth the actual full purchase- include that also. Help other entrepreneurs and creatives who are getting off the ground, or stuck in the time wasteland of running the business when they, like you, want to focus on doing their best possible work in the area of their passion.




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Per Zoho, and what it looks like in their offerings on their website, you can choose to run your entire business with Zoho's suite of online productivity tools and SaaS applications. Over 15 million user Zoho worldwide. While options are priced individually and in packages, some even come with a "Forever Free Plan." which includes 3 apps, 3 users, 750 records and 300 MB of storage for the creator plan for example.

While enterprise cloud computing can get very costly, Zoho is included in this list because there are a remarkable number of completely free features (like being able to put up websites with drag and drop templates for free!) that are hidden within their system. Also, depending on how your organization runs, the cost may be less than the replacement in contractors or overhead. We welcome your input if you've had experience with Zoho!

Their extensive list of online office suite and SaaS applications for businesses include:

Sales and Marketing

  • CRM- $12-35/user/month
  • Motivator sales contests- free up to 5 users then a 5 user pack is $60 a month or $72 billed monthly
  • Sales IQ
  • Survey
  • Campaigns
  • Sites (they have a large number of websites that you can drag and drop and run for free)
  • Social
  • Contact Manager
  • Forms

Email and Collaboration Solutions

  • Email- free to $10/ user/ month
  • Showtime
  • Docs
  • Projects
  • Connect
  • Bug Tracker
  • Meeting
  • Vault

Help Desk- so you can engage with your customers when they need you

  • Support- free (including email, community forums, re-branding, domain mapping and more) to $25/ agent/ month
  • Assist

Finance/ Accounting

  • Books $9-$29 per organization per month
  • Inventory
  • Invoice
  • Subscriptions
  • Expense

Human Resources

  • Recruit- all in one recruiting and staffing software that includes resume parser, google apps, MS outlook, job boards, CRM, ATS, SMS and email- free (minimal) to the HR all you can eat buffet at $50/ recruiter/ month
  • People

Business Processes

  • Creator- a drag and drop application builder including workflow, tasks, reports, security, integration, mobile-friendly apps and translations- $5-$15/user/ month
  • Reports
  • Site24x7

Other Features:

  • CRM plus- from $50/ user/ month "customer centricity in one package"
  • Zoho Apps for Apple Watch
  • Integrated with Google Apps for Work

For the few items that do not seem to be in their suite, they have a few** strategic alliances** to fill in the blanks:

  • 1&1 Internet offers a powered by Zoho office suite free with every 1&1 mail, shared hosting and service package
  • Baihui distributes Zoho's online productivity and business applications to users in China
  • Stoneware, Inc enables schools, districts and enterprises to shift from a desktop-centric to a private cloud computing model
Populr - Create a Page for Anything in 5 Minutes

As we turn to the web for anything, and look for options that will stand us apart whether it's during a proposal for a new client or a better answer to email newsletter, the now popular one page websites, a landing page, event, special promotion....Populr has come up with an innovative solution in which you can drag and drop and put any of these on the web for the public or password protected users.

And, the free version is really actually full of features....


  • Unlimited Published Pages
  • Point domains at your account
  • Drag and Drop Editing
  • Sharing
  • Collaboration
  • Video Recording
  • 12MB Document Limit
  • Prominent Populr branding

Pro- $20 a month

  • All Free Features
  • - Plus -
  • Secure, Private Pages
  • Page Tracers
  • Open Notifications
  • Google Analytics Integration
  • 50MB Document Limit
  • Subtle Populr branding

Team $50 per month

  • All Pro Features
  • - Plus -
  • Team Collaboration
  • Team Templates
  • Point domains at each team
  • 5 Users
  • 3 Teams
  • Extra Users & Teams ($10/mo)
Airtable vs spreadsheets

Try Airtable today at A combination of database, templates, collaboration and multiple uses. Some uses include: catalogue of products, travel lists, art gallery, CRM, team task management, home redesign ideas, restaurant field guide etc etc. Appears very interesting. Runs free to enterprise, generally $30-$50

Katch | Get more from your Meerkat and Periscope streams

For those who use instant video, Katch records your Periscope and Meerkat streams to the cloud. Manage your videos by setting privacy, changing titles, sharing & embedding your saved streams.

Muck Rack

Use Muck Rack to get press for your story, monitor the news and report on the impact of your PR. Journalists can build portfolios and accelerate their careers. Alerts also enable you to follow who and when and what people are saying about your company so that you can respond in web time. Journalists can put themselves out to agencies and others for building stories or finding jobs. Agencies and brands can find the best journalists, bloggers and influencers who are connected with stories that relate to your audiences, products, services and message. Far better than any press release can be- it's a combination of social media for public relations and business intelligence for social media.

Gleam: Business Growth Platform

This is the solution that I didn't know I have to have. I used it during a giveaway at another blogger's site, and the way I connected with her on social, learned about the product and became engaged was amazing- it was so easy to do as a user, and I wanted to do it. I gave away my information and made the connections happily even though I had had no prior reason to do so. They have a package that includes a plug in/embed to run competitions, a rules based email capture form, visual galleries that are user driven and the ability for users to get rewards. It's brilliant from all I can tell. It goes from free to the standard which is $39 a month to enterprise. I think it's worth it- I'm putting it into my toolbox.

Idea Hunt

Whether you are launching a new product, starting a crowdfund, want to get community feedback on a new feature, or are attracting new users or brand ambassadors to be involved with your latest widget- there is a place in Idea Hunt. Idea Hunt works off the basic concept of co-creating or collaborating with how to improve, grow, promote or otherwise impact brands. It's free at this time, barely coming out of beta- and may have tremendous potential for those with creativity on how to use it.

  • Stay tuned as we merge our numerous multi-media properties into Living Labs. Lists will be one foundation of the thousands of curated resources, products and services offered for Baby Boomers, patients and the organizations and professionals who work to make their lives easier. Contact us now to sell your innovations at our marketplace, share spaces that inspire Design for Life or create or curate your best expertise including service, sensory, accessible, user-centered, sustainable, evidence based and universal design experiences. Pre-launch opportunities to be selected from your expertise for media, travel, products and pay. Living Labs is connecting creators and users for independence, dignity and beauty for all.

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