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This is a guest post by JT Ripton, a freelance writer and an aspiring entrepreneur. 

Running a start-up business isn’t easy, it is rewarding, encouraging and satisfying but it can also be the most frustrating period of your business’s lifespan, however you can make things run a little smoother using these 6 business software suites.

1. Sales Cloud: The Best Way to Stay Connected With Your Clients

Sales Cloud is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. It lets your business store customer information including their contact information, marketing profile, and sales. This information is available to everyone in your company. When one employee updates information about the customer, it is visible to other departments. It even integrates Facebook and Twitter information. Sales Cloud is accessible on your mobile device. Quickly respond to calls, leads, and check for updates. This CRM syncs with most email programs including Gmail and Outlook.

2. QuickBooks: The Best Way to Organize Your Business Finances

Manage your business finances with QuickBooks, the accounting software for businesses. Track your income and expenses and conveniently import financial information from your spreadsheet software such as Excel. You can also import bank information. Prepare invoices, purchase orders, manage and pay bills, and track inventory and employee time with QuickBooks. You can even organize your tax information and prepare 1099 forms.

3. LogMeIn: Work on Your Office Computer from Anywhere

With the LogMeIn software you can work on your work computer form literally anywhere. If you couldn’t make it to the office for whatever reason or if you’re on a business trip, you have the ability to see your work computer’s desktop just as if you were there in the office. You also have the ability to log on to your employee’s computer if needed, to help and assist them or just to monitor what their up to while, you, the boss is away.

4. Microsoft Office: Essential Business Software to Complete your work

Microsoft Office has everything you need. For preparing business papers, there is Word. For presentations, use PowerPoint. To keep track of sales or calculate things, use Excel. Take notes with OneNote and send emails with Outlook. Create marketing materials, brochures, signs, hand-outs and almost anything else with Publisher and create and manage databases with Access. All these applications are available in the Microsoft Office suite.

5. Microsoft Enterprise: Business Cloud Services, Data Security, and Access Control

Make your business IT infrastructure more productive and secure with Microsoft Enterprise. It allows for streaming of Office applications to a number of devices and access to Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync data. Customize your administration portal and manage servers from any browser. Protect data with loss prevention policies and templates that protect sensitive information. Avoid compromising data in Outlook emails with a built-in policy education that warns users. You can enable rights management to restrict access as well.

There are several communication tools available with Enterprise including voicemail integration, HD video web conferencing, instant messaging, and Skype connectivity. With such connectivity and bandwidth usage, you will need a fast enough internet connection to use it without issues. Enterprise also offers advanced business tools for data analysis including PowerPivot and PowerView, as well as collaboration tools (Team Sites) and SkyDrive Pro cloud storage.

6. QuickBase: The Best Way to Manage Projects

One more piece of software to get for your startup business is QuickBase. It is a project management software that connects project members and gives them access to shared data. Easily assign tasks and check on the status of a project. Take advantage of customizable dashboards and automated email alerts.

These six software suites organize your business operations, connect your clients and employees. Install them today and take advantage of their benefits.


  • Fahad Khalil

    This list requires desperate update.. it is missing Jira and Confluence..

  • Laurent Igolen

    Anyone using Quickbooks ? What do you think ?

    • Johnathon R Marvell

      I use wave for accounting and Freshbooks for billing.

      • Rehan Sheikh

        they are also good.

    • Rehan Sheikh

      quickbooks is an old story now..try Xero.com its the best …we are giving out services in both but we prefer Xero because of its great UX and affordability.

  • VA

    Adobe creative suite? :O

  • Calvin Lee Bramlett Jr.


  • Sumit

    A sponsored post by Microsoft?

    • Michael Flores

      For real. Why would a startup go through the expense/hassle of Office with the good/cheaper cloud solutions out there?

  • kimediastrategies

    Wave Apps

  • Matt Lim

    Procurify.com is going to roll out some interesting things shortly.

  • arvinep

    Microsoft?! Kidding me right now..

  • Argko

    Sorry bad you have forgot one of the Best Cloud Suites for Project Managent PODIO ! This article is a little bit payed by Microsoft if you say that MS Office is one of the best …

  • ldebett

    Google Docs beats MS Office any day. Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud

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  • Tim Richardson

    This reads like paid content. Ridiculous recommendations. Even more crazy when this site is sponsored by google.

    • Hey Tim, if you have other suggestions I’d love to hear them, it sounds like you have some different opinions than JT. It seems like you know a thing or two on these tools so I think everyone could benefit from your experience and the discussion that might ensue from the differences in your lists. We can get you a guest post on the site (not paid, we don’t do any paid content actually) like this one was or you can leave your comments here. I have a startup of my own in addition to the work I do at UP so I am always looking for helpful tools! Let us know, thanks for reading! (Oh, and the site isn’t sponsored by Google, they are a partner of UP and they support entrepreneurs in our community through bootcamps, mentors, contests, credits, and all kinds of things startups have found very useful.)

      • Akil

        The omission of Google Apps http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/pricing.html on the list is curious when the Sales Cloud CRM integrates with Gmail.
        The LogMeIn app only offers remote access when this feature is built-in with Google Apps and many other productivity tools.
        Although a “packaged CRM” is not part of the Google Apps offering, Docs, Forms and Sheets provide low-cost customization for startups to manage customer data.
        I would have added Zoho https://www.zoho.com/ because of they have focused on startups for a long time for not much money. And you can easily export and port your data later if a startups grows.
        — Lauren writes interesting articles – https://blog.up.co/author/laurensauser/ but gotta agree with Tim, not a very reliable list (especially Microsoft Enterprise) for early startups.

  • Richard Lucas

    Agree with Tim and and recognise Mitchell’s response. This article does not seem objective It would be a lot better if it referenced the categories from which software it recommends comes rather than just one app.
    For example, CRM includes what about Base Getbase.com

    for Project Management what about Basecamp and Trello ,
    the Google Apps or Star Office is worth mentioning instead of or as well as Office..
    for accounting, I am sure there more than one alternative

    The idea of the article is good however.

    Congrats on the partnership with Google For Entrrepeneurs. Here in Krakow GEK Google for Entrepreneurs Krakow is doing a great job supporting the local community

  • Doug Logan

    If you like Quickbooks, you should try Xero. They have an extended trial as well to try it out.

  • Jane Berry

    Have a look at proofhub.com as well . It is a simple to use web based project management and collaboration tool that
    easily blends with the routine followed by people of handling work.
    There is not too much clutter on the tool or complex features that even
    hard to locate. With everything available right in front of you, there
    arises no or less trouble in getting used to a new tool.

  • Shenoi

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful list. But you have missed out to include one more application for time management, its Replicon ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/online-time-recording-software.aspx ). The classic first system for early startups is Quickbooks.

    This time recording software is integrated with quickbooks as well. It easy to manage exempt, non-exempt, contractors and other types of employees. We can easily confgure rules for overtime, meal breaks and other time & attendance policies.

  • George Winchester

    Great list! But I recommend using http://www.snapforce.com
    They offer a variety of services such as, a FREE trial that includes a live demonstration, 4 different editions according to the size of your business, and they’re professionally consistent.

  • Tom Brentjes

    Thanks for creating this list but I personally think Group-Office (https://www.group-office.com) is great for startup businesses. It has everything a company needs like e-mail, calendaring, projects, billing, quoting and time tracking.

  • I second that! You can anytime rely on quickbooks online for concerns related to finance, accounting, check printing and so on. Thanks for sharing this insightful post 🙂

  • I agree with Tim, this stinks of paid content:)

    But if it’s not, I would add my side of things to it. MS never focused too much on small businesses or startups, Google business apps are more focused to them (they do come with their issues as well).

    I’d like to mention something first. It’s not an easy task to find the best software for your business. I’ve done work finding back office solutions for a lot of companies, and you have to dig deep -> it’s a combination of finding the best process + the tool to achieve it (in some cases, the tool gets you a way of skipping steps, automating them for you, and it’s hard to plan for it if you’re not aware of the features it has).

    Anyways, list of tools:

    Accounting – QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Xero, Sage, Zero, Indinero, ZenPayroll, BackOps, Advisor, Expensify
    Office tools – Office 365, Google apps, OpenOffice, Libre Office (I don’t have much knowledge of other tools here)
    CRM – SugarCRM, ZohoCRM, BaseCRM, Vtiger, CiviCRM, Fat Free CRM, Zurmo
    Communication – Slack, HipChatm, Convo, Campfire

    Project Management – Basecamp, Asana, Trello, Redmine, Producteev
    Cloud Storage – OneDrive, DropBox, Box, Copy, SugarSync, Space Monkey, Amazon’s cloud
    Notepad (online) – Evernote, Springpad, Simplenote, OneNote, NoteSync

    I haven’t tried all of them, just a portion of them. When I find a software, one thing I would like to suggest is try and find the features + pricing, and contact support first (or an account manager from the firm) and check out if the features fit with your process.

  • Software suites? Probably better to use best apps even if they are from different companies – we use Hipchat.com, Brightpod.com, Kissmetrics.com, 1Password, Google Apps etc.

  • Robert Marcroft

    The article looks like 10th grade reading but the contributors have indicated that there is soo much more to this than meets the eye. I’m no journalist (well some) but I would have added at least a sentence of explanation as to what the sites contribute to the greenhorn rather than just describe how good or not good they are. Really – I am looking for answers – not more questions.

  • John William

    Great List !
    I’d like to suggest one more useful software for start-ups i.e. It’s an online solution which combines task management, invoicing and time tracking. It helps to increase the productivity and efficiency of the business and makes the management process easy.

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  • Jay Davies

    Check out new or refurbished office computers at affordable prices and free shipping http://cosmikgoat.com/

  • sebastian

    wow. there is this little european procejt called dolibarr CRM&ERP System… it is really great… great community support and it has an appstore with over 160 tools in it.
    and they have a live demo

  • Great Tool for start Up new Business . I would like to add One New Software Moon invoice App http://www.mooninvoice.com. it helps to create invoices, send invoices, estimates, customers, time logs with iCloud using your multiple iOS devices like iPad, iPhone, iPod, MacOSX. Download Free App And Send first 10 (invoices + estimates + PO) absolutely free.

  • Francis

    Great list! While some small businesses may envy the tools and technology that large corporations have, what many don’t realize is the process that large corporations go through to get there is many times an excr.


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  • Freddy Low

    Lauren, great list! I want to add http://moneypenny.me/. I use this tool and it’s a great all-in-one solution. invoicing, estimates, time-tracking, tracking of receipts and task management. I hope is makes it in your list sometime in the future.

  • Lipika jain

    One of the coolest user interface I experienced and their invoicing formats are very flexible, try


    not just invoicing with them, they have all of it packed in one: manage
    clients, manage vendors, expenses tracking, estimates, accounting, CRM,
    reporting ….

  • Paul Fewstones

    Hi, did you hear of Zenintranet maybe ? It’s a free intranet that enables you to better manage your teams. With Zenintranet you can access with a single login to different tools such as leave management, expense management, CRM, File Sharing… And FOR FREE!

  • Domnick

    In my startup business period, I need for accounts management platform. Then I used Apptivo, everything is fine in this tool and it worth for startup business.
    Check it out: http://www.apptivo.com/

  • Origami Penguin

    Are you after a fully configured CRM solution? Why not consider TeamVisual? It’s a system managed and maintained here in the UK, plus they will come to your office and set up the software to uniquely match your requirements. It’s also aimed specifically at Contractors, check it out.. http://teamvisual.co.uk/

  • For startups, it has always been a big fight to find out what was the best software for their budding business. The author seems to have great knowledge in the field and very expertly explains some of the best software suites. I would like to recommend one more suite that helped me in my startup – Billing Software (www.hdpos.in). I have had the best experience with this software dealing with my accounting needs.

  • If you have an E-commerce website then Brush Your Ideas is good for you. It is is a complete web-to-print e-commerce solution for Magento that allows your online store customers to create unique printable designs for their products. The ability to personalize products increases its perceived value in the minds of your customers, thereby generating additional revenue for you.

  • This is a great list- I mentor startups and small businesses and the #1 thing I find is the misunderstanding of what products/services to use for their needs. I created a huge list of marketing tools for small business owners that I think fits your article very well: https://www.strategybeam.com/free-online-marketing-tools/

    Feel free to take a look and let me know what you think. Appreciate your great article and look forward to reading more!

  • Rinki Sharma

    Wonderful list. You can check FindNerd PM Tool too, a Free Task Tracking Tool. Do have a look.

  • Would you like to conquer the global online market with your eCommerce store? Then, of course, it is needed that your Website is available in various languages. Through Appjett’s language switcher extension, you can easily switch the text of your shop into any language you want for your online users.

  • Madona

    Very well written article. The tool that always keeps me focused is ProofHub. With the help of this tool I will also more productive. With ProofHub, your teams, clients and all the project communication stays in one place. There’s no need of investing in too many different tools to run your business. This project management software makes it easy to create plans, collaborate with teams and clients, keep things organized and deliver projects on time.

  • All the tools are perfect for every startup.

  • Excellent article, Lauren. I was actually going to write about useful tools for small businesses for my next blog on http://www.productivityland.com and would like to include your piece as a reference. Thanks for the useful suggestions! 🙂

  • Great list! I also think Asana is a great choice for small businesses. All of these are great tools. I actually wrote my own review for Asana, and talked about some of their recent introductions, such as the timelines as well as the fairly new Portfolios dashboard. Thought you might find it useful: https://productivityland.com/review/asana/