The One Thing I Need To Run My Business — Experts Weigh In

Being an entrepreneur is hard. Thankfully, it seems every small business owner out there has at least one secret weapon. We asked our small business experts what the one thing they couldn’t run their business without is, and we got some pretty great answers.

1. “I’ve been working from home since college when I sold a blog for 5-figures, and now help others to grow their own businesses with blogging and online marketing. WordPress is absolutely essential for all of our small businesses. It’s an open-source blogging/website platform that has literally tens of thousands of plugins and themes that allow you to totally change the way you do business online – from shops and analytics to photo galleries and email list builders – it’s an absolute life (and wallet!) saver that needs almost zero experience to run.” –Ramsay Taplin,

2. “The one thing we couldn’t do without is Skype. With offices in the US and the UK and staff working from home, it’s a lifesaver. I still can’t believe it’s free and would gladly pay for it should they decide to introduce a small charge.” –Robb Young, XperienceDays Inc. 

3. “I’m a remote marketing manager for an IT company by day, and I’m a customized meal planner and recipe developer/tester by night. I also have two small kids and a husband with a demanding job. I pretty much run on coffee, but other than that, I depend on Evernote for everything! I store my recipes for clients, notes on testing, interesting articles for sharing on social media channels in my IT job, newsletter and form templates, pdfs, checklists, pediatrician notes, you name it; it’s in my Evernote. I love that I can pull it up anywhere and use the search function to find whatever I need in a moment. It’s indispensable for my life, my business, and my sanity!” –Ruthy Kirwan, Percolate Kitchen

4. “I couldn’t run my business without the help of community groups such as those on Facebook. I’m a member of many editing/proofreading groups made for freelancers. I’ve seen people post about things that have upset them as well as general questions about the sector, or help with a client/situation. The group is really supportive in all aspects.” –Sarah Elsley, Sarah Macklin Editing

5. “In business it’s critical to be organized, that’s why I use Trello. It’s simplicity and easy to navigate dashboards help me keep on top of daily tasks and ensure I always hit my deadlines.” –Greg Tickner, Panoptic Media

6. “I wouldn’t be able to run my business without the great team that we’ve been able to build over the last years. We’ve avoided a lot of the drama that you often see in the tech industry and built a great company culture where everyone feels appreciated and enjoys coming to work. People put the good of the team before their individual benefit, and when everyone in a group is doing that, everyone ends up doing better and is happier.” –Steve Benson, Badger Maps

7. “The one thing that I couldn’t run my business without, the #1 thing that I can mention is WordPress CMS. 

WordPress is a powerful CMS that powers over 26% of the entire web and is very easy to use. There are thousands of awesome themes and plugins available (both free and paid) that help you create a website for any kind of business. I am using self-hosted WordPress using a free theme (for now) and a couple of premium plugins. Using these plugins, I have been able to create some beautiful and clean-looking pages with great UX. With over 75 million websites running on WordPress, the community is huge and very helpful – so you don’t have to worry if you are stuck.” –Amandeep Singh, Comparism

8. “I don’t know what I would do without Trello. In my business, it really helps me to organize my projects, what do I have to do for the week ahead and how urgent are they. But even in my personal life, I have a Trello board for my favourite meals and recipes, and that allows me to plan ahead about what ingredients to buy for that meal.” –Ahmed Khalifa, IgniteRock  

9. “There are lots of things that I rely on to do my best work ‹ my phone, a reliable e-mail connection, a good night¹s sleep, a hearty breakfast, my work ethic, etc. but my #1 most important asset is my husband¹s wise counsel and support. He is a great source of common sense, trusted confidante and sounding board. Without having him in my corner I know things would not run as smoothly. He is my secret weapon that keeps me firing on all cylinders. This year is our 25th anniversary and I know how lucky I am.” –Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls

10. “We couldn’t run our business without Zendesk. It was only 12 months ago that we moved all our customer support to Zendesk, it’s now become invaluable. It provides an essential log of all customer communication, both emails and phone calls, allowing us to monitor response times, individual employee performance levels, and customer satisfaction levels.” –Charles Cridland, YourParkingSpace

11. “As a data nerd, I believe all important business decisions should be backed by data. Additionally, data provides insight into many business factors such as oppprtunities, under-performance, competitor analysis and so on. So Data is my number one factor for my business, and I recommend that it should play a more important role in many other businesses.” –Paul Allen, Dublin SEO Services

12. “I could not run my business without my computer and technology in general, as well as my clients. I run a small business that is primarily online offering innovative online strategic marketing and SEO services to businesses of all sizes.” –Howie Jastrow, Brainiactive, LLC

13. “Legal businesses like mine can’t live without the knowledge and experience of the law. We get paid for expertise. But, the one thing you can’t succeed without is integrity.” –Adv. Roshni Lachhwani, Intellexsys Legal Solutions

14. “As an entrepreneur, I tend to encounter a lot of first-times that I prefer to do myself for the first-time rather than hand it off to someone else. and more often than not, even the most normal things start with “Okay, how and where do I start”? This is when I love looking up blogs on calligraphy, website design, typography, packaging design to give me an idea of where to start creating my very own version of things. So many aspects of my business would not have been created if it weren’t for these masters of so many skills who so kindly write about what they love.” –Fern Koh, Fernberry Skincare

15. “My business is a news website that generate hundreds of thousands of visitors each month and the one thing that I absolutely couldn’t live without is my writers. They are the folks who create all of the content for our website and their hard work allows my partner and I to continue to grow. I can always replace technology and other objects, but great employees are irreplaceable.” –Ron Stefanski, GoodNewsGum

16. “My wife and I run a personal finance blog called The Savvy Couple. I quit my job 2 months ago to run our business full time. The number one thing we could not do without is our social media scheduling software. We use Buffer and Tailwind to run all of our major social media platforms with ease. Marketing your business online has never been easier.” –Kelan Kline, The Savvy Couple

17. “Moonlit13 Clothing Co. wouldn’t survive without MailChimp–literally. While social media allow us to connect with customers and expand our reach, the majority of our revenue is generated through email marketing. MailChimp allows us to create reusable templates, easily customize email campaigns that look beautiful on desktops and mobile devices, and retarget contacts with ads on Facebook and Instagram.” –Tiffany Barry, Moonlit13 clothing Co.

18. “I couldn’t run my business without my camera! Images are such an integral part of any business in today’s digital and social age that I don’t think we’d exist without my camera. We just are fortunate I have a passion for photography so it doesn’t cost us as much to hire someone!” –Sahile Chawla, Alayah Noelle

19. “Mobile internet. We are an eCommerce retailer and therefore need to remain constantly connected. It used to cause a lot of problems when the internet would malfunction or we would be working remotely. However, thanks to recent advances in technology, particularly 4G, we are able to stay online wherever we are in case an urgent email comes through, a website enquiry arrives, or a customer places an order.” –Gary Murray, Leader Doors

20. “Hands down it is Google. Google has an amazing offering for small businesses and because they strive to make all facets of life easy, they have made many areas of conducting business easy. Email is only the tip of the iceberg. Google seamlessly integrates with many other apps and because I have an Android phone anything I do for my business on my phone is automatically integrated.” –Krista Cavalieri, Evolve Capital

21. “Without my Calendar, my business would fall apart. As a practicing divorce/family law attorney and also small business owner, budgeting my time is of paramount importance. It is imperative that I allow for and calendar sufficient amounts of time dedicated to legal production, administration, marketing/sales, financial controls, etc.” –David Post, Post Law, LLC

22. “I couldn’t run my business without my tight-knit community, online and off. When I began my business in 2010, I told people how it was like taking the world’s biggest trust fall. Fortunately for me, I was caught by my family, my friends and folks I only knew online, who have supported me, sent me business and kicked me in the butt to keep going.” –Mike Koehler, Smirk New Media

23. “An absolute must for me right now is the PC app for texting,! I am a speedy typist, but all thumbs on my smart phone, so this tool has saved me hours of time. I communicate daily, not only with prospects and clients, but with my team members who I coach and mentor! Everybody wants to text and be texted these days, so mysms is a time/life saver!” –Julie Johnson, WealthWave

24. “I’d like to tell you about our favorite tool, LexHelper. It provides front desk assistance for attorneys, including interpreting phone calls, making appointments and connecting us with potential clients. All these services are crucial for a growing firm, because they allow us to fully concentrate on cases.” –Merium Malik, Malik Law Firm

25. “Skype. We only use Skype and it is great because it means I don’t have to get on a plane every time there is a problem.” –Grainne Kelly, BubbleBum

26. “I strongly believe that it is the support from my family members. The stresses that come along with building & growing a business can’t always be solved with money. In such cases emotional support from family becomes vital. So if you can get your family support behind your business, that will be great for your business in many ways and gives you the extra confidence to keep moving forward when things become difficult.” –Amit Kumar, Nibblematrix

27. “When I first started in the insurance business 21 years ago, our agency had a huge closet full of printed brochures and applications we utilized for our face to face appointments with clients in their homes. Today, I could not run my business without my computer because we use it to submit all applications electronically – which we now do over the phone with clients and rarely even have to use a single printed item. The decreased environmental impact by not having to use so much paper and also not driving hundreds of miles every week to visit clients is quite significant, as well.” –Keith Murray, Integrity Solutions Inc

28. “Most people say they could never work with their sibling, but I couldn’t possibly run this agency without my brother, who is also my business partner and my polar opposite. While I excel at marketing, PR, educating clients and content marketing, he is a whiz sales force growth, management, finance and envisioning the future – all things that fall outside my own abilities. Together though, we are a formidable force and have grown this agency from nothing to a multi-million dollar top producer with 31 employees and tens of thousands of policyholders in 47 states. (It’s been so fun to grow this together).” –Danielle Kunkle, BOOMER BENEFITS