5 essential tools to grow your small business on a budget

Small business colleagues using apps to grow their business

With the evolution of technology and the rise in competition for similar products, there's more pressure than ever on small businesses to stand out.

The good news is that there are tons of cloud-based apps out there designed specifically to help small businesses to optimize their operations, become more efficient, and grow without breaking the bank.

However, the question is not just how these apps can help your company, but which apps are the best for your unique business needs and goals.

Here some handpicked budget-friendly apps to help your small business to scale up and become the organization you know it can be. Read on for our recommended tools for customer relationship management, customer support, team communication and more.

Five of the best apps to grow your SMB on a budget


1. Mailchimp

Mailchimp has been the leading email marketing platform for a while, but it's now evolved into an extremely capable all-in-one marketing software. This powerful tool can fulfill a lot - if not all - of your small business's marketing needs and boost growth and efficiency.

Mailchimp feature set 2020


With Mailchimp on your side, it's simple to build digital, email and social media campaigns, gather campaign and audience insights, build landing pages, create social posts and ads, analyze customer data and engagement, use third-party integrations and much more.

It's never been simpler to run your small business's marketing campaigns like a much larger team with a much larger budget.

Pricing: Mailchimp offers a very popular free plan for businesses with fewer than 2,000 contacts on their mailing list. The paid plans start at $9.99 per month if you need more power.


2. HubSpot CRM

HubSpot has a huge range of applications for many types of businesses. With its free forever CRM, small businesses on a budget can streamline their contact management with one of the most reliable tools on the market.

As you grow, or as a larger business with a bigger budget, you can implement one or all of the additional paid Hubs that are currently available for Sales, Marketing, Service, and CMS.

Regardless of the department you're working in, HubSpot is an excellent solution to fulfill many essential business needs.

HubSpot Hubs in 2020


Pricing: HubSpot CRM is free, but the Marketing, Sales and Service Hubs require a decent budget for the best features.

For the Sales Hub, the Starter plan starts at $40/month, while the Professional plan jumps up to a starting price of $400/month. Similarly, Marketing Hub plans range from $40/month to $3,200/month and the Service Hub from $40/month to $1,200/month.

That said, you can also easily stick to the core HubSpot CRM and connect your other favorite marketing, sales and service apps – HubSpot has a fantastic integrations marketplace.

HubSpot also connects with PieSync so you can seamlessly connect contact data between your apps in real time, such as between the free CRM and your email marketing app.


3. Acquire

Acquire is an omnichannel customer support platform that improves customer experience by providing instant support to users across all stages of the customer journey. It's a great addition to any small business stack, and an alternative to support platforms such as Intercom and Zendesk.

Acquire omnichannel support platform


Here are some of the key features you get with Acquire for your support team:

1. Live chat software — In the age of conversational marketing, live chat is an excellent addition to your website. If a website visitor is searching for something but can’t find it by navigating the site, they can talk directly to agents through the live chat feature on your website. It makes things easier for both your customers and your team by streamlining and speeding up query resolution.

2. Cobrowsing software — With cobrowsing software, agents can interact with customers in real time by sharing a web browser in order to solve queries and facilitate smoother web navigation. Acquire Cobrowse is one of the market leaders for this.

Whenever a user is stuck at an online process or ecommerce shipping procedure, they can request co-browsing support to get the problem solved. The tool also hides customers’ sensitive information from agents thanks to a masking feature, and the agent can guide users through a website with highlighting tools.

3. Chatbot — The AI-powered Acquire Chatbot answers general and frequent questions regarding your product, which frees up a lot of your support team’s workload and enables them to focus on more complex tasks.

In addition, a chatbot also provides users with quick answers to their queries without having to go through lengthy helpline calls or a complex site navigation process. This is an easy way to deliver a stronger customer experience.

Pricing: Acquire offers customized proposals, which you can request on their pricing page.


4. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is one of the most respected brands for small business marketing automation, with plenty of scope for reducing manual workload and scaling lead generation, nurturing and conversion.

Some of the most valuable features are:

  • Contact and lead scoring to identify sales-ready prospects for your team to focus on
  • Dynamic content to show personalized content for every website visitor

ActiveCampaign features and benefits


Pricing: Get started with the Lite plan from $9/month for basic email marketing, marketing automation and forms. If you want the CRM with sales automation plus lead and contact scoring, opt for the Plus plan which starts at $49/month.



5. Slack

Slack is an excellent platform for communication and collaboration within any size of organization, and it's now an essential part of millions of businesses.

This platform enables real-time direct messaging to channels and individuals, eliminating the need for countless follow-up emails and confusing email chains. Companies can create channels for different departments, topics, clients, suppliers, internal stakeholders and anything else your company talks about.

Slack for better team collaboration and efficiency


Slack also works as a knowledge directory for new employees, providing a seamless option to share onboarding information and a quick way to search previous conversations to find information and details on various topics.

It also allows video and voice calls between team members, file sharing and third-party integrations.

Pricing: Many small businesses opt for the free version of Slack, which offers the core functionality to create channels and have 1-1 conversations. If you need team voice or video calls or access to more than 10,000 of your team's most recent messages, you can choose a Standard plan for $6.25 per person per month.


Looking for more apps to add to your small business stack?

So, now it's over to you: which apps will you choose to grow your business on a budget? Regardless of the tech you choose, make sure to connect new apps with the rest of your stack.

By keeping your business apps in sync, you can ensure that your contact data is up-to-date in every app, even when something changes on one platform. This is simple to do with PieSync's syncing solution.

About Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle writes for PieSync, the two-way contact sync tool for hundreds of apps. She also works with her clients to make their brand matter with a content-rich marketing strategy.