As the founder of a startup that has grown into a mid-size company, I am always on the look for the tools that will give us an edge.

How can your company compete as an SMB or mid-size company against the big players in your industry who have 100s, and in some cases thousands, more employees than you do? 

To have a chance, you need to invest wisely in the SaaS tools that will help you automate and streamline tasks to work as efficiently as possible. Over-investing in the wrong software or not investing enough in the right software can both hinder growth for smaller companies.

Today, I take a look at the tools that make our lives in business easier. The software that cures our headaches and frees up our time and enables us to get more done in the areas of our business that contain the highest levels of profitability. 

I asked my employees and several of our clients to help us compile a list of the SaaS tools that they simply cannot live without.

Here is what we came up with.

1) Mailcontrol

A Spymail security solution is critical for smaller companies. Spymail are emails containing hidden tracking codes that collect metadata about your email engagement and relay them back to the sender, infringing your privacy. Competitors, marketers, intelligence analysts, and clients routinely send Spymail to gain an unfair information advantage. 

With companies like Google and Microsoft tackling traditional virus, spam, and phishing attacks in their cloud solutions, this overlooked vector of attack needs to be protected against. Mailcontrol’s offering protects your business from this type of espionage.

2) Microsoft O365

James Brown once sang “This is a Microsoft world”. Not really, but the phrase is true. Microsoft is still the king of the information worker, and Office 365 provides companies with all the applications three generations of workers have used in their business in a convenient and stable platform. 

The cost is minimal, and you get access to desktop and mobile versions of all the applications. When used with Onedrive you have the ultimate way to collaborate with your co-workers, regardless of where you are.

3) Salesforce

When Mark Benioff and Parker Harris founded Salesforce in 1999, it’s doubtful that anyone else except them believed it would revolutionize sales across the globe. Salesforce is a tool that helps a sales rep stay organized while providing insight and safety to a company. As sales is a high-turnover position, being able to have a record of the activities being taken on a deal is a huge benefit to smaller companies.

4) LinkedIn

From networking to recruiting, or building a brand, LinkedIn should be one of the first stops for anyone looking to market their company digitally. 

Some may dismiss the newer social features LinkedIn has added, such as commenting on news articles in the website. However, this serves as another layer of filtering when it comes time to screening candidates.

5) Xero

Xero is an award-winning accounting tool. Xero is fast and flexible, but also supports many new payment options such as PayPal and Stripe. Xero’s collaboration features and mobile access are great as well. All of this is backed by top-level security.  

While traditional bookkeeping software has moved online, you can see a difference between a modern, young platform like Xero, and one that is trying to shoehorn conventional on-premise software features into SaaS.

6) TriNet

This tool will help you automate certain HR tasks, expenses, retirement all from a convenient platform. For smaller companies having a system behind you to weed through the complexities of medical plans, payroll deductions let you focus on your core business functions. At PlanningEdge we value a Customer Success and Support model. TriNet excels here.  

While other companies have more name recognition, having a real person to speak with is so critical to having a successful HR program.

7) Fiverr

Marketing/Advertising as a Service. Fiverr is an excellent service that gets your company access to some of the best content producers and marketers in the “gig economy.” Fiverr’s rating and review system are the best we have seen. 

Also, Fiverr promotes the best to the top of their rankings and the Fiverr Pro program has allowed many companies to supplement their staff resources with some of the best folks in the marketing industry.  

Indeed, the elite in the “gig economy” gravitate toward Fiverr.

8) LastPass

Data breaches are most often due to negligence by the end user. And with all of the apps and tools your team uses day in and day out to do their jobs, they will be responsible for keeping track of a number of passwords. LastPass users have their data safely stored and readily accessible when they need it. Your team will no longer lose time over trying to remember passwords and doing password resets.

9) SE Ranking

If your company cannot be found on the internet these days, you won’t last long. SEO remains a critical function to the success of every company. SE Ranking gives you all of the tools your company needs to manage your SEO in a way that is cost effective and highly efficient.

With SE Ranking your company will be able to track your page rankings, improve you’re on page SEO, discover your keywords, monitor backlinks, perform strategic competitive analysis and more.

10) Wave

There may be nothing more important than managing your company’s cash flow. This accounting software helps small teams handle their finances using a tool that is an efficient, cost-effective manner, and easy to use. Wave removes the stress of bookkeeping and payroll.

About the author: 

Benjamin K. Walker is the founder and CEO of Transcription Outsourcing, LLC in Denver, Colorado. Ben has become known worldwide as an expert in helping companies grow by utilizing the services of freelancers and contracted employees. He makes regular podcast appearances and has been featured in major publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc. Magazine.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.