Essential Productivity Tools For SMB Success

Derek Abram
CEO of Prio
9 min read

Contrary to popular belief, running a small or medium-sized business (SMB) is not about working whenever you want and having financial freedom. If anything, it’s a lot harder than working for someone else. 

SMB owners often have to manage hybrid teams, some in-house and others working remotely, often freelancers. They also often face transitional problems while trying to scale up in order to service their growing customer bases, all while working with tight budgets with very little leeway for error. 

This makes it essential for SMBs to streamline their business processes using specific small business productivity tools. 

These tools ought to ideally be cloud-based, so there is no need to install licensed software on multiple devices, ought to be affordable and most importantly, ought to be able to help SMB owners run their businesses more efficiently.

We’ve put together a list of such tools that we believe ought to feature in every efficient SMB toolstack.

The complete SMB productivity toolstack

The tools we’ve included in our toolstack are the type of tools that will help with almost every aspect of managing an SMB. Let’s dive right in.


As the name suggests, HRLocker helps SMBs manage various aspects of HR management. 

The tool can help you with the recruitment of new employees, help you organize and shortlist resumes, help keep an eye on employee performance through time tracking, and can also automate aspects of employee training.

Employees themselves can use the tool to generate and save online timesheets, track their progress on the projects they’re working on, and track their leave balance as well. 

You as a manager or business owner can use HRLocker to give teams feedback in real-time, and to schedule meetings as and when required.

Employees can also store and sign official documents using HRLocker. There is a professional development module that allows you to assign online training sessions to employees, assess their performance, and certify them once they are done. 

You can also track employee salaries, incentives, bonus payments, and other compensation-related activities using this tool.

HRLocker has an API that allows for integrations with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Sage Roll, and other third-party solutions. 

The basic version of HRLocker is free for up to 4 employees. For $3.42 per person per month and with a minimum subscription for 15 people, you get the HR Essentials Plan with additional features such as an account manager and support. 

$4.56 a month per person and a minimum subscription for 15 people gets you the HR premium package with a lot more features than offered on the Essentials plan, while the HR professional plan will cost you $6.85 per person per month, with the same stipulation that you subscribe for at least 15 people. is a great addition to any SMB toolkit because of its project management tools and collaborative capabilities. 

This software has an intuitive and flexible user interface, called the Work OS, which allows you to assign tasks to employees, time track, and track productivity, giving you detailed visibility of the status of multiple ongoing tasks on a single easy-to-use dashboard.

Not only is the tool compatible to use on mobile devices, but it also seamlessly integrates with Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Gmail, Google Calendar, Github, and a lot of other external applications.

There are also a host of automation designed to reduce the time your teams spend on repetitive tasks, enabling you to ensure their time is spent on more productive and revenue-generating tasks.

Every employee you grant access to on will cost you $6 a month. However, you do get free access for two people for 14 days, so you can use the tool and decide for yourself. 


We at Prio have not one, but two great tools that would fit right into your SMB toolstack: one for efficient time tracking and the other to automate invoicing.

Prio’s time tracker allows you to assign tasks to team members, control their permissions to use the tool, track their productivity, access analytical productivity reports, and a lot more. The tool in itself is easy to navigate and simple to use, making it the perfect tool for managing hybrid teams.

Invoicing is a chore that often takes up a lot of productive time, especially if you need to keep creating the same or similar invoices repeatedly. Our homegrown invoicing tool helps you easily automate the creation of repetitive invoices for regular customers.  

With the ability to add custom fields for different clients and add your logo to these invoices, Prio’s invoice generator will help drastically reduce the amount of time spent by your employees on invoicing on a daily basis.

And if you’re looking at affordable solutions to add to your toolstack, look no further. Prio’s time tracker and invoice generator are absolutely free, irrespective of how many times you use them!


Quickbooks finds its way into our list of productivity tools for SMBs as a solution for your accounting and bookkeeping needs. 

You can use Quickbooks to do everything from generating invoices, track income, and send payment reminders to generating detailed financial reports for you, allowing you to pay vendors online using credit cards, track the effort and time spent on a project, monitor the cost-effectiveness of a project and a lot more.

While there are different versions of Quickbooks you could choose from, it may be best for you as an SMB owner to use the website version, since it does not need you to install any software onto your computers. This is a cloud-based solution that allows you to access your Quickbooks account from any computer. 

Quickbooks Online, as the version is called, comes in four variants: Simple Start. Essentials, Plus, and Advanced. Expect to pay between $30 and $200 a month depending on the variant you choose.


Hubspot is a great CRM tool that helps with managing sales pipelines and closing deals. The tool is 100% free, irrespective of how many of your team members use it. 

Essentially, it integrates sales, marketing, and customer services with the help of an easy-to-use interface. By letting you save and easily access customer details and buying habits, your customers are guaranteed the same experience irrespective of which member of your team they interact with.

The CRM database allows you to save millions of customer details and allows you to chat with them in real-time.  The tool also has a customizable sales dashboard that allows you to organize and track progress on your sales pipeline, thus allowing you to increase sales.

The task management section allows you to schedule meetings, send emails and do a lot more customer-centric tasks out of one section.

All things considered, Hubspot is an efficient CRM tool that is free of cost and makes a great addition to any SMB toolstack. 


If you’re looking at expanding your business footprint from a brick-and-mortar store to include pop-up stores, an e-commerce store, and more, then Shopify should definitely feature on your SMB toolstack. This tool allows you to offer your customers a seamless experience across multiple marketplaces.

Shopify allows you to set up every aspect of your business, from managing inventory, accepting and making payments, shipping your wares to your customers, and a lot more. Since it is entirely cloud-based, you can use Shopify wherever you want, just as long as the device is compatible.

Want to set up an e-commerce store? Shopify can help you build one from scratch, designed to be an extension of your physical business. It has everything you need, from POS software and website hosting capabilities to branding tools and data management.

Shopify has a global reach, which means your business no longer needs to be localized, and it is compatible with businesses of all sizes, which means even if you scale up your business in the future, you can still continue to use Shopify.

Shopify Basic costs $29 per month, along with a fee of 2.9% + $0.30 for every online transaction. The most commonly used plan, simply called Shopify, costs $79 a month with a 2.6% + $0.30 fee on every online transaction. 

The third version is Advanced Shopify, costing $299 a month, with an additional fee of 2.4% + $0.30 for every online transaction. 


An important part of small business productivity is in marketing itself successfully. In today’s day and age, businesses of all verticals and sizes need to actively market themselves online if they want to reach out to more than just their regular customers.

SEMrush is a one-stop shop for all things digital marketing. 

Irrespective of whether you’re looking for trending topics in your business vertical, need keywords to help your marketing blogs rank and reach better, see how your business website ranks against its peers, or build backlinks so that your website or blog features better on search engines, SEMrush can do it all. 

SEMrush’s free package has limited features and will not really help you much at all. Small teams could subscribe to SEMrush Pro, paying $119.95 a month for up to 5 projects.

The much more feature-loaded SEMrush Guru package costs $229.95 a month, while the fully loaded SEMrush business costs $449.95 a month.


Adzooma is another great tool to help improve your brand’s visibility in digital marketplaces. By using Adzooma, you can ensure your website shows up as one of the top search results for related keywords.

Adzooma can also help your advertisements on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Microsoft reach out to a larger demographic, building awareness about your business and thereby increasing the number of potential customers.

Adzooma also offers SEO solutions and has a training section to help your team upskill themselves.

You could start using Adzooma for free with the Essentials package, and then upgrade to Plus when you’re ready to scale up for $99 a month. Plus gives you access to additional insights, reports, and automation templates, gets you an account manager, and more. 


Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to market a business. AWeber can help you make your email marketing efforts a lot more efficient.

The tool supports auto-responder emails and HTML newsletters, all of which are mobile-friendly. 

You can easily send bulk emails, customize templates, send instant push notifications, build landing pages and get access to critical analytical data about how your campaigns are performing.

With 22 years of experience and the capability to integrate with over 1000 software tools that are commonly used, AWeber should feature in your SMB toolkit to ensure your email marketing efforts are optimized. 

AWeber has a free plan that allows you to send up to 3,000 emails a month and manage 300 subscribers. For $16.15 a month, you get AWeber Pro, giving you access to integration services and premium consulting, along with unlimited 


Crowdfire is a powerful social media management tool that allows you to curate and post quality content specific to different social media platforms. 

Using it, you can tailor content for each platform you want to post on from a single view. You can also manage multiple accounts from one tool, and schedule posts in advance.

A new feature on Crowdfire is that it is now compatible with TikTok, an important addition if you want to reach a younger audience. The paid version also offers businesses important feedback mechanisms, such as social listening and competitor analysis.

Based on the number of social media handles your business has and the features you want, there are four plans that you could choose from - Free, the Plus plan for $9.99 a month, Premium for $49.99 a month, and VIP for $99.99 a month. 

Survey Sparrow

Whether you want to improve your customer experience or check on your employee morale, there is no better way to do it than by launching easy-to-answer surveys. SurveySparrow allows you to do just that.

Create great conversational surveys using customizable templates, and integrate these surveys with other apps, ranging from Facebook and Slack to AWeber, to enable these surveys to reach the right audience and mine important data from the surveys.

Visualize the data from these surveys in a variety of formats, including graphs and charts by using the inbuilt widgets.

This data will help you recognize areas of improvement and change easily, allowing you to act on these areas of concern proactively. 

With workflows, automation, and many other amazing features, you definitely want SuverySparrow to feature on your SMB toolstack.

Discover a suite of productivity tools with Prio

Other than the invoicing and time tracking tools we’ve already spoken about, we at Prio have a whole host of productivity tools for you to use, ranging from project management tools to reporting, scheduling, and team management tools, all of which are available at very affordable prices. Come aboard the Prio family today!

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