With small businesses facing an almost 50-50 chance of failure, business owners are seeking out the tools to help guarantee their success. While no tool is a guaranteed win, companies can arm themselves with the experiences of other small-businesses like them to help inform their decisions when determining the tools that can aid in achieving their goals.
How can a small business know which products may be right for them? Our team at G2 Crowd recently used our database of over 100,000 validated user reviews to determine the top 50 products for small businesses, based on users’ likelihood to recommend the product to a friend or colleague.
The Top 50 Small-Business Software Products list showcases the software that small-business users have rated highly, based on customer satisfaction score. The customer satisfaction scores are determined based on reviewers’ likeliness to recommend the product. The small-business segment is defined as users at companies with 50 or fewer employees. The list is based on reviews from August 1, 2015, through July 31, 2016 and, to be included in the list, the product had to have received 20 or more reviews from small-business users within this time period.
Some of the most frequently mentioned “likes” from users in reviews of the products in this list include products that are easy to use, affordable and have strong customer support teams. This isn’t surprising, as employees of small businesses are often stretched thin and looking for ways to streamline their processes, not add more to their plates. Many small-business software users are “Jacks of all trades” and need to be able to jump in to help with tasks outside of their normal day-to-day. Simple-to-use software lowers the barrier to entry for anyone within an organization to contribute to a task, and strong support teams are the foundation that holds them up when things don’t go as planned.
While products in the list came from a variety of software categories, a few areas were more represented than others: marketing, project management, and e-signature tools.
Marketing products were prominent throughout the list, which demonstrates that software vendors are recognizing and addressing the needs that are unique to small-business owners. According to a 2015 report from Capital One, 76% of small business owners report facing marketing challenges. Marketing software products such as email marketing and social media management tools have evolved to simplify and automate marketing processes, which can save time and money for small businesses that are trying to stretch resources, simplifying the process of marketing to audiences across a variety of channels.
Project management tools were also prevalent throughout the list. According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the use of commercially available project management software increases performance and satisfaction. Employees of small businesses are seeing value and feeling satisfied with the benefits these tools are bringing to their team, such as organizing multiple projects at once and clearly defining assignments and deadlines. In small businesses, hitting goals and completing projects is paramount to moving the needle, and these products can help teams accomplish that.
Finally, e-signature tools have been a staple in the business world for almost two decades, and a number of e-signature software programs are among the ones small-business users are most satisfied with. These tools eliminate the need for physical documents and often integrate with other tools, such as CRM and HR programs. This helps to eliminate clerical clutter and organize important documents that can be critical to a successful business, such as sales contracts and offers of employment.
Topping the list with a 9.86 (out of 10) Satisfaction score is Zipbooks, an online invoicing program targeted specifically to small businesses. In reviews on G2, users appreciated the product’s clean interface and the fact that it is completely free to use. For organizations without a lot of money to spend, a free software tool is a huge boon to business. Other products that small-business users were most likely to recommend included: DocSend, HelloSign, Active Campaign, Digimind Social, and iSpring Suite.
By Michael Fauscette, Chief Research Officer at G2 Crowd