The Top 6 Business-friendly Apps for Small Business Owners

Wednesday 28 September, 2016 | By: Colin Fruk | Tags: apps, digital, productivity, time management

Since their inception, mobile applications or, ‘apps’ as they’re known have dominated the conversation about technology in relation to nearly every aspect of our lives - from gaming and music, to travel and fashion. Now, we’re seeing entrepreneurs and small business owners becoming increasingly reliant on these savvy tools to help their business grow and improve workplace coordination and productivity. But with such a huge array of resources available, how do you know which apps are going to prove most useful for your business?


Well, that will largely depend on your business structure and your own preferences. Here are six tried-and-tested apps to get you started. Before you know it, you’ll be deeply immersed in the app culture!

For General Productivity

Evernote

Inspiration can strike anywhere, anytime. Ever had a great idea pop up while on the run? Evernote allows you to capture, nurture, and share your ideas in one place, and sync it across any device. With Evernote, users can store, organise and share text, photos, and voice notes to keep track of all their brilliant ideas. Users can also use the app for organic notes and journaling, to-do lists, recipes, contacts, and even storage for tweets and emails you want to keep handy. With the free version, Evernote users have access to all of these features and can upload up to 60 megabytes of data per month. The app’s business version costs $12 per user, per month, and provides access to several additional team and administrative features and unlimited space for uploads. So if you’re a list maker and idea generator - this app may be perfect for you!


For Time Management Tracking

RescueTime

Whether you’re a freelancer who needs to keep track of your hours, or a small business owner wanting to hold yourself (and your team) more accountable, RescueTime can help you see exactly where your time is going. Wondering how much time you waste on digital distractions, such as Facebook, Twitter, or online shopping? This app that works for Mac, PC, Android, and Linux, will hold you accountable by automatically tracking the time you’ve spent on applications and websites, letting you set productivity goals and sending you detailed reports based on your activity to give you an accurate time breakdown of your day. The basic version of RescueTime is free, while the premium version, which lets users block certain sites, track offline activity, and set notifications (if you’ve spent too much time on one activity, for example), will set you back about $9 a month. We recommend this app for those who are trying to work on their time management skills.


For Team Communication

Slack

Slack is an instant messaging platform that allows you to organise your team’s conversations into separate private or public channels, or send a direct message to other employees. The app also makes it easy for users to drag, drop, and share images, PDFs and other files via the platform and automatically indexes and archives shared files so that they are easily accessible. According to a company survey, Slack users saw 48.6% fewer internal emails and held 25.1% fewer meetings after installing the app within their workplace, leading to an overall increase in team productivity. The app is available for free, however upgrading to the standard plan will cost $8 per month with more added features and controls. We recommend this app for those mid-to-large scale teams who want to veer away from unnecessary meetings, and enable direct, quick communications between employees.


For Project Management

Trello

Trello is an easy-to-use project management system that provides businesses with an easy, free, flexible, and visual way to track workflow. Essentially, it is a collaboration tool that allows business owners to create boards, which represent an assignment or task. The app allows users to assign members to specific tasks, and add comments and attachments, checklists, due dates, and labels, that can be viewed by all team members. This app is free to use on iOS and Android devices, while the business version costs $9.99 per user per month and includes additional features, such as integration with apps such as Slack and Evernote. If your business is heavily project, or assignment based, then this app will assist in progress tracking, and prove to be incredibly useful for you and your team.

For Finance and Accounting

QuickBooks

QuickBooks is a useful accounting software that will assist you in running your business and provide a clear indication of your company’s financial health. The app allows users to track business sales and expenses, view financial statements, pay employees and vendors, and track unpaid invoices and cash flow. QuickBooks also had the added benefit in that it connects to thousands of accounts, including your business bank account, credit cards, PayPal, and Square, and seamlessly uploads data from these sources to the app. Tracking expenses has never been easier; QuickBooks lets you upload photos of receipts with your phone at the touch of a button. With QuickBooks online, users can access the app via their iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet. The program includes a 30-day free trial, with a range of long-term plan options to subscribe to. Quickbooks is a great option for start-ups who want to track costs, and keep on top of expenses.

For File Sharing and Collaboration

Dropbox

Boasting over 500 million users worldwide, Dropbox has essentially simplified the way that businesses and individuals create, share, and collaborate. The platform allows users to securely store and access files in one place, which are automatically synced across multiple devices, meaning that you can access your files on the go. With powerful collaboration tools, advanced security and control, and all the space you need to work without limit, Dropbox Business is the secure file storage system that employees love, and IT Admins trust. Dropbox Business will help your company grow without limits, allowing you to maintain control over important company information and user activity.

There’s no denying that the rise of accessible and available mobile apps have fundamentally changed the nature of how businesses operate, and will continue to do so over the next decade. From monitoring workplace productivity and performance, to storage and accounting services, these valuable tools provide business owners with a wealth of knowledge to assist them in establishing and growing their business.

So, what does the future of application use look like? We can only expect app-dependency and usage to increase, and apps continue to invade and improve all aspects of our lives.

 

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About the contributor:

Colin Fruk is the General Manager Membership at CCIQ. He is an experienced marketer, having managed customer relationships and revenue for well-known brands like Queensland Theatre Company and the Abused Child Trust before joining CCIQ.

 

 

 

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