essential tools for business

12 essential tools and services to run a business

There are so many different things going on when running a business and so much to keep on top of: invoicing, accounting, insurance, etc. We could go on and on. Being organised is really important. Thankfully, there’s a lot of amazing tools out to help business owners. Whether that’s giving you legal support, streamlining your payment process or tools that help grow your business.

To make it easy to find the best tools, Twine has broken the tools and services into the following categories:

  • Accounting software
  • Legal advice
  • Insurance
  • Office space
  • Building your brand
  • Productivity software
  • Banking

Accounting and managing expenses

Creative freelance accounting

Accounting software

Intuit’s Quickbooks is the world’s #1 online accounting software for SMBs. They have an app that enables you to create and send invoices that are branded to your business and know once they’ve been viewed and paid online. This tool makes a creative’s life so much easier.

Their plans start from just $3 per month and they have a 30 day free trial. If you value your time then get on Quickbooks and save around 8 hours a month managing your finances. Learn more.

Also GoPayment is also by Intuit as a handy way to receive card payments physically. It can link with your Quickbooks account to make it simple and can work with most major credit card. So now you can sell your products on the go. Learn more.

Expenses

It’s time consuming, annoying and difficult to manage your company expenses. But don’t worry, this is where Expensify comes in.

From receipt scanning to exporting into your accounting solution, Expensify automates every step of the expense reporting process.

Here are just some of their features:

  • One-Click Receipt Scanning: Take a picture of your receipt and Expensify automatically fills out an expense report for you. It’s an expense report with one click.
  • Company Card Reconciliation: Card transactions automatically populate in Expensify, making it easy for admins to centrally manage company cards. Each transaction reconciles against the corresponding receipt, automating the entire reconciliation process.
  • Automatic Accounting Sync: Any changes made in your accounting system are automatically synced with Expensify in real time for constant visibility into your organisation’s finances, making audits and tax returns a breeze. It works for QuickBooks too.

Read more about Expensify.


Legal advice

Company formation

When you first start your company, you might initially start as a sole trader or sole proprietor. There is one owner of the business: you. When the time is right (I would argue straight away) you may want to create a company.

Legal help

US companies

In the US, there is:

  • LLC stands for a Limited Liability Company
  • Inc. stands for Incorporated
  • DBA stands for Doing Business As

The main reason for forming an LLC is to separate your personal finance from your business. An LLC means you are not personally responsible for the debts or liabilities of the business. Also, you can also be flexible about who can own and manage the business (but cannot have shareholders) and how you decide to manage its tax affairs.

A Corporation can have shareholders. But it comes with greater formalities such as requiring a Board of Directors, issuing stock and creating bylaws. It also means you could issue shares to attract investors and you can split income to lower your tax liability.

LegalZoom have formed over 1 million LLCs and corporations (Inc.) over the last 10 years. Their packages start from only $79. It only takes 5 minutes. Learn more.

LegalShield is an alternative and they have a simple product called Launch. They offer LLC, Corporations and Sole Proprietorships (DBA or Doing Business As) and will give you a lawyer on hand who you can speak to on the phone. Learn more.

Intellectual Property

It’s super important that the work your company creates is protected, even if it’s for clients. This can be coverage for copyright, trademark or patents. You need to have some understanding on this.

There are two partners which offer some excellent creative tools around legals. LegalZoom can help make the process easy and affordable. Learn more about LegalZoom. LegalShield also provide give you a lawyer on hand and also can help collect bad debt, which is essential for freelancers. Learn more about LegalShield.


Insurance

Professional indemnity and professional liability insurance

Professional indemnity insurance helps protects your company against the cost of defending or settling a client’s claim that there is a problem with the work you have done for them. This could be if a client alleges you have given poor or incorrect advice. Or a client alleges you’ve made a mistake that has cost them money.

Sometimes clients may ask you to have professional indemnity cover as a contractual requirement, or if you are applying for a tender. This is common with large businesses.

Hiscox are specialists in small business insurance and offer flexible insurance, which can be tailored to suit the specific risks your business faces. Learn more.

Here is just some other protection Hiscox offer:

General Liability

Public liability insurance covers the cost of settling or defending a claim for bodily injury or property damage from a client or member of the public, like slipping on a wet floor. Learn more.

Cyber Security

Cyber and data insurance covers everything from data theft and hacking to phishing attacks. If your business is interrupted by a cyber attack or a hacker holds your data to ransom, Hiscox have a team of people to help get you back up and running. Definitely something that’s becoming more important in the modern world. Learn more.


Office space

Co-working space

WeWork is a global network of co-workspaces and offices. Their main focus is on creativity and collaboration between the companies. They transform buildings into awesome environments for creativity, focus, and connection.

WeWork Office Space
WeWork Gas Tower Commons Los Angeles, CA

WeWork believes they are more than just “the best place to work”. They believe it is a movement towards humanizing work.

They have a number of promotions. Twine has secured 15% off your first year’s rent. Learn more.


Tools to build your brand

Branding and your logo

We’re definitely biased here, but a great way to get your branding done is with freelancers. By using freelancers, you don’t have the high costs of an agency, but you can still get a great quality logo.

Apple brand
The iconic Apple logo

Twine is a platform that helps companies hire quality freelancers from a network of 250,000 creatives in design, marketing, film, etc. They handpick the best quality freelancers for each project which saves time and money, whilst ensuring a quality result. Learn more.

Twine has 1000s of designers so you can get your own logo.

Website design

No matter what type of business you are, you need a website  all customers search online these days. This can be expensive to get it all set up when paying for a designer and developer even for a simple site. Fortunately there are new website builder services that can manage your website and business all in one place, like Wix.

Wix allows you to make a free website that looks exactly the way you want. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are as it’s a really simple tool. You can start with a blank slate or choose from over 500 templates.

Twine has a 50% discount off any yearly Premium Plan when you click here and use the coupon Twine2018

Products Included: Unlimited, Unlimited + Bookings, Unlimited + Hotels, Unlimited + Music, Unlimited + Restaurants, Unlimited + Video (Pro + Video), eCommerce, eCommerce + Bookings, eCommerce + Hotels, eCommerce + Music

Alternatively you could hire an awesome designer on Twine to make you a custom page.

Productivity tools

Writing

When running a business, you often send 10s of e-mails per day. Ensuring those e-mails have good spelling and grammar can be the difference between whether you close a sale or not. Grammarly is a simple tool to help you write mistake-free on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and nearly anywhere else you write on the web.

But also, Grammarly isn’t just a safety net. You get detailed explanations for all your mistakes and weekly progress reports so you’re always learning. Learn more.


Banking Services

Banking

Having a bank account is essential to run a business. The problem with most, is they are archaic. They’re slow, not that helpful and generally seem like a burden.

Tide UK bank

In the UK, Tide a new online bank gives you an account number and sort code in just five minutes. They are free to use, and have a simple business model by charging 20p when you do a transfer. Furthermore, We’ve got you a deal where you get £10 of your transfers for free when you sign up by Twine here.

In Europe, Revolut is a great mobile bank that gives you a Visa card, a bank account and the ability to transfer money instantly. Their business baking integrates with all major accounting packages too. Read more.

International payments

If you do international payments you need to be efficient with your transfers. Because many traditional banks charge you up to 5% in hidden costs when sending money to any bank account abroad. They hide it in a poor exchange rate on top of the high transfer fees.

TransferWise are up to 8x cheaper than most banks by using mid-market exchange rates. Then you’re not getting the hidden charge. TransferWise allows you to transfer money abroad easily and quickly in 59 countries covering 504 currency routes. Check them out.


Are there any tools we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Full disclosure, Twine has partnered with some of these companies and has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

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Stuart Logan
The CEO of Twine. Follow him on Twine and on Twitter @stuartlogan – As the Big Boss, Stuart spends his days in a large leather armchair, staring out over the Manchester skyline while smoking a cigar and plotting world domination. (He doesn’t really). Originally from Salisbury, UK, he studied computer science at Manchester University but was always keen to break into the exciting world of start-ups, and was involved in a number of ventures before finalising his plans for Twine. When not wearing his chief executive hat (metaphorically speaking) he enjoys harbouring unrealistic expectations for Manchester United’s future success and live music.
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Stuart Logan

Stuart Logan

The CEO of Twine. Follow him on Twine and on Twitter @stuartlogan – As the Big Boss, Stuart spends his days in a large leather armchair, staring out over the Manchester skyline while smoking a cigar and plotting world domination. (He doesn’t really). Originally from Salisbury, UK, he studied computer science at Manchester University but was always keen to break into the exciting world of start-ups, and was involved in a number of ventures before finalising his plans for Twine. When not wearing his chief executive hat (metaphorically speaking) he enjoys harbouring unrealistic expectations for Manchester United’s future success and live music.

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