To run a successful business, you need multi-tasking and time management skills as well as a hustler’s attitude. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly expected to stay on top of your game, finish business meetings, oversee multiple departments, act as the perfect salesman for your business and over and above, reply quickly to emails.
It’s true, in a fast-paced economy, all you need to be is fast, that’s why without proper management, some facets of your business may end up neglected.
The good news is that technology can help ease this workload when you have the right tools and applications installed on both yours and your team’s desktops and smartphones. Today, every business has a set of go-to apps they cannot go without.
And because there are only so many applications out there, it can get quite overwhelming to find the right ones for your business. Here are some factors to consider when selecting your business’s go-to apps:
- Affordability: is the app free or does it require a subscription?
- Ease of use: how easy is it to navigate your way through the application and enjoy its features?
- Adaptability to your business: how relevant is the application to your business needs?
- Good customer support service: does it provide any customer support to its users?
With so many options, listed below are some of the go-to apps to help entrepreneurs run their small businesses, categorized by usage:
APPS FOR COMMUNICATION
Effective communication within any organization is important for its success. Emails aren’t the only way you can pass information to your clients or employees. The following apps will improve how information is circulated within your business.
Video conferencing is the future of long-distance business communication. It is an effective solution that reduces the need for business travel.
As far as video chat apps go, Skype is the most widely used - with over one billion downloads on Google Play alone. It comes in handy when dealing with employees based in different locations. Skype can allow up to 25 individual connections on a single call. It also offers a version for businesses, known as Skype Business.
Skype is free to download and use. Upgrading to Skype Business costs $10/month. The subscription also offers full access to Microsoft Office packages.
It is easy for information to get lost if emails are the main method of communication in your business.
With Slack, dedicated channels can be formed to send messages pertaining to certain topics or to a select group of people. The messages are easy to search and sort through. The app does not limit the number of users that can be added; therefore all your employees can be reached without difficulty.
Slack offers a free package but with limited features. The standard package, suitable for small and medium-sized businesses, costs $7/month.
APPS FOR RECEIVING PAYMENTS
These apps ensure that you get paid promptly by your customers at their convenience.
PayPal is one of the most convenient methods of receiving online payments from anywhere around the world. All you need to do is set up a business account and link your bank account. Payments are received instantly when a customer makes a purchase on your website.
PayPal Here is a POS service that processes payment from PayPal cards. It requires an external reader (compatible with iPhone and Android devices) that converts your phone into a register.
PayPal is free to download and has no setup or monthly costs. However, a fee (2.9% of the transaction amount in the US, 4.4% everywhere else) is charged per transaction.
The card reader for PayPal Here is currently free.
This app is very similar to PayPal Here, with the sole difference that it is compatible with all kinds of credit cards. It can be useful for small retail businesses such as restaurants or salons. It removes the need for a regular POS device that is usually expensive to set up.
It also allows you to key in your credit card details if you don’t have an external credit card reader. Payments can be processed over the internet if the customer is not there in person. The Square app also generates invoices on demand.
The software is free to download while the card reader costs $10. A commission of 2.6% is charged on every amount.
APPS FOR ACCOUNTING
These apps ensure that you manage your business’s financial transactions, manage pay rolls, store receipts and assess the profitability of your business.
This is a cloud-based accounting software that can be useful in tracking spending, profits and sales in your company. Because all information is saved on a cloud, it can be accessed anywhere, anytime.
Quickbooks comes in three packages for small businesses at different costs. The advanced package lets you manage and pay bills, transact in multiple currencies and assess the profitability of your projects. With Quickbooks, you can connect to your bank, PayPal or Square account. It also allows you to upload pictures of receipts on your phone.
Having all your financial transactions on one app makes it easy to track the spending habits of your business.
QuickBooks offers a free 30-day trial. From then on, the app charges $8/ month for the Simple package, $11 for the Essentials package and $15 for the Plus package.
This is an accounting and payroll management app for small businesses. Unlike Quickbooks, Wave’s accounting software is free to use for businesses with 10 employees or less. The app is useful for invoicing, scanning receipts and tracking expenses. This can be the best gateway software if you are new to accounting applications because it is free.
Wave is free to use. Additional payroll support costs $20/ month.
APPS FOR TIME MANAGEMENT
These apps let you track your team’s online habits, measure your own productivity and your team’s as well and schedule important events, tasks and meetings.
While working online has its benefits, it comes with its fair share of distractions. RescueTime is an accountability app that can help track your as well as your employees’ online habits. It is one of the most popular time management apps in the market today.
The app works in the background and automatically records the amount of time spent on every website visited. Apart from tracking internet habits, it can also help track the overall productivity of your employees. It also comes with a site blocker that can be used to block websites that are time wasters.
RescueTime offers a Lite package that is free to use but with limited features.
For businesses, it costs $6/month for every employee subscribed to the package and allows a free 30 day trial period.
This is a planning and scheduling app. It helps in assigning and following up on tasks in any organization. With Trello, you can integrate different tasks, keep track of deadlines and plan events.
It can also be linked to other apps commonly used in the workplace such as Evernote and Dropbox to increase productivity. It can be synced to different devices to ensure that your employees can plan and meet their deadlines wherever they are.
Trello is free to use for individuals and costs $20/ month per user for the Enterprise package.
There are plenty of apps available to help ease the burden of running your small business for entrepreneurs.
Choosing the right app to meet your business needs can save you time, resources and costs. In fact, most of the apps listed here are free to use or download (or have a trial period), therefore they are a guaranteed cost-effective method for you to run your business and for your employees to enhance their productivity levels wherever they are.
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