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Small Business Third Party Tools

Sept. 23, 2014
Small Business
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Starting your business is a feat in its own right, but you don’t have to do it all on your own; there are numerous third-party tools that can help you. Here are just a few of the hundreds of resources that can help you improve your website, communicate with customers and streamline your daily business operations.


Olark: Add a live-chat feature to your website and connect with users as they navigate your page. Learn information and analytics about who your customers are and how they interact with your site.

Key features: See who’s on your site, what they’re looking at and how long they’ve been there.

Intercom: Connect with your website’s users through in-app messages and optimized emails. Learn about your customers through a live database.

Key features: Collaborate with your colleagues using a team inbox that lets multiple people in your company respond to customers.

Hello Bar: Create banners for your company’s website to draw users’ attention to various campaigns or features on your site. Use the banner to promote sales, newsletters, blog posts, social media profiles and more.

Key features: Customize the banners to fit your site’s unique aesthetic.


MailChimp: Manage your email contacts and send targeted messages to thousands of customers at optimized times. Review each email campaign with reports of open and click rates, and track trends over time.

Key features: See profiles of your email subscribers, send automated emails and get recommendations about the best times to send emails.

Cloud Phone: Conduct company calling through your smartphone. Connect multiple devices to local or toll-free phone numbers so everyone in your business can access the platform.

Key features: Get transcribed voicemails sent to your email inbox, use the auto attendant feature to greet customers and direct them to various lines.

Rapportive: A Gmail plug-in that lets you see information about your email contacts including their photo, company, location, LinkedIn profile and shared connections.

Key features: Make LinkedIn connections through your Gmail window.

Social media

Buffer: Schedule posts for your company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts. Analyze your posts to see how many clicks, retweets or likes they got, and track the growth of your followers over time.

Key features: Use it directly from Facebook and Twitter with special Buffer buttons built into those networks.

Hootsuite: Manage your accounts from social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. Schedule posts, monitor conversations about trending topics that you care about, and get real-time analytics about your social media activity.

Key features: Give multiple team members access so you can collaborate to manage your social media presence.


Freshbooks: Take care of your business accounting with this cloud-based tool. Create and send custom invoices, track expenses, record time spent and get reports about your earnings.

Key features: Accept credit card, PayPal, cash or check payments from your customers.

Wave: Do your company’s payroll, invoices and bookkeeping in one place with this cloud-based tool. Keep track of your personal budget and investments too.

Key features: Accept credit card payments from your clients and send invoices using your mobile device.


Greenhouse: Recruiting software helps you find talent, get referrals, create interview plans, communicate with candidates, evaluate potential employees and make a final decision.

Key features: An application review tool helps with screening. Analyze your hiring campaigns to determine what works and what doesn’t.

ZipRecruiter: Write a job description once and post it to dozens of job boards to spread the word about openings at your company. Access a free résumé database to screen thousands of candidates.

Key feature: Add a job page to your own website with a simple widget; no coding required.

Business owner image via Shutterstock.

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