Small business owners and entrepreneurs have to wear many hats. Sometimes you may find yourself acting as management, human resources and an administrator, all at once. Fortunately, there are many applications these days that can make running your own business easier and less time consuming. Here’s a list of our favorite apps for automating various tasks that plague small business owners:
Dropbox: If you don’t already have it, you probably should. Dropbox is the world’s most popular cloud-based file storing and sharing platform. This is particularly useful for businesses with employees who travel or telecommute.
Google Drive: This cloud-based tool offers a full-featured office suite, in addition to acting as a cloud drive. It comes with 5GB of free storage and works seamlessly between PCs, tablets and smartphones.
Quickbooks: Selecting the right accounting software will make running your business much easier, especially when tax season comes around. This application enables you to track sales and expenses, as well as create invoices, estimates and receipts. The app also features built-in reports for tax time.
Calendly: If you are a Gmail user, the best tool for you is the Calendly app. Calendly allows you to manage your time and communicate your availability, all at once. You can schedule meetings and times that are dedicated to your own productivity, and then share your calendar with a business associate or potential client and allow them to select a time slot for a meeting. The app automatically indicates your availability, eliminating the back-and-forth emailing of meeting scheduling.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Highrise: From the same developers that brought us Basecamp, High-rise is a great contact management platform. It allows you to keep track of every possible detail about your contacts from where they were referred from to all tasks and conversations related to them. The software is complete with tools to track deals
Nimble: This app differs from many CRM tools with its emphasis on social media. Nimble pulls information from your conversations across social networks, collaborations on calendars, and email to give you a birds eye view of your communications across all channels. This tool is great for those doing integrated marketing campaigns and wanting to gain insight as to where there potential clients are coming from.
Evernote: This app is designed to capture those ‘a-ha’ moments you have while on the train, reading before bed, or virtually any other time of the day. The app allows users to store, organize, and share notes and photos on the cloud.
Templates and Tools
Score: This app was developed by a non-profit organization to provide resources and advice for small businesses. It offers a myriad of legal and business templates to help entrepreneurs with everything from business plans to contracts.
Expensify: This app can be a lifesaver if you’re trying to manage the expenses incurred on business trips. The app keeps track of receipts and things like mileage, and even enables employees to submit expenses to employers any time, anywhere.
Square: Anyone with a smartphone or tablet can easily accept credit card payments on the go, simply with the free Square Reader and a corresponding app. In some countries, you can even accept debit payments. The app is free, and it just takes 2.75 per cent of each transaction as a commission. This app is ideal for small business owners such as artists who may not need a debit machine for their regular art sales other than a few shows they do each year, or artisans who sell at festivals.
Fuze: This video conferencing application hosts online meetings for all devices and operating systems. It’s easy to set up and offers HD video and very high quality audio. Fuze is great for video conferencing with large groups and it also allows for screensharing.
Skype: Skype is still the most widely used video conferencing application, and most of its features are free. This app is best for small groups, since it sometimes experiences connection issues with groups of more than 4 people.