Revealed: Top 8 tools for start-ups and small businesses

When you start out as a freelancer or if you’re setting up a business, it can be tricky finding the right tools in a populated market and within your budget.

Often, you will have minimal resources, so it is important to look for ways to increase productivity and create simple and efficient processes. Online tools can do just that, particularly when it comes to taking away the administrative burden.

Here are eight tools to improve performance and productivity:


The recently updated Asana is one of the best pieces of software for managing workload and improving efficiency for both freelancers and small businesses. Asana can be used on the web or as an app and enables people to manage their products and tasks both individually and as a team.

Asana has many useful features, such as being able to see and manage everyone’s workload all in one place, making sure there is no crossover in work.

The software supports over 100 product integrations, and automatically creates project plans in a range of formats, meaning you no longer need to manually update spreadsheets and Gantt charts. The admin control feature also allows for greater data security and privacy.


Unfortunately, technology is yet to save us from those time-wasting meetings that could have been emails. But technology can dramatically reduce the time wasted going back-and-forth trying to arrange them. 

Calendy is an automated scheduling service that syncs with your calendar enabling others to check your availability for meetings, and book time with you when you are free. If you’re a small business, team members can see everyone’s schedule on a single page, share their schedule with people outside the company, and set up smart scheduling where meetings for specific teams are automatically assigned to available team members.


Headspace is an award-winning app and platform full of guided meditation programs to help you manage stress, decrease anxiety and increase your focus.

Meditation increases both productivity and overall performance in work – so while taking time out of work may seem counter intuitive, it could improve overall efficiency. Getting into the habit of meditating can be tricky, so this easy-to-use app is great for beginners.


HelloSign makes digital signatures easy by enabling documents to be signed directly on any device. The signatures are in compliance with e-signature laws, meaning you can spend less time meeting people, and spend less money on postage.


Howamigoing is an app which allows the user to receive feedback electronically. Best suited for teams with 10 or more members, Howamigoing provides a best practice performance management system tailored for each person on the team.

Rather than be an anxiety-raising tick-in-a-box exercise, feedback can now be used in an ongoing, meaningful way to drive performance.

Keeper Security

Keeper is a password manager that protects you and your business from password-related data breaches and cyberthreats. It works by generating random, high-strength passwords for the websites and applications you access and storing them in a secure vault across all your devices.

Each employee gets their own vault, and permissions can be altered based on each employee’s role. It also works as a secure file storage for confidential files and documents.


Slack brings messaging, file-sharing and collaboration tools together to help save time and reduce email. With Slack, you can set up chat groups with other freelancers, businesses or even just your colleagues as well as having one-to-one conversations.

Slack is a great option if you work remotely or work with people based in different locations.


Timetastic is ideal for start-ups and small businesses. It is an online, mobile and paperless way to organise time off work that gets rid of holiday forms and spreadsheets.

Every member of staff gets a personal calendar and summary where they can see and track their time off and make plans for this year or next, and the rest of the team can see when they’ll be out of the office too.