Owning and running a business is a role that can take over your whole world as there is always something else to be done, a new product to finish or another marketing avenue to pursue. This can be a 24/7 job so finding shortcuts to help ensure the smooth running of your company is essential to making sure your business and employees are as productive as they can be. There is a wealth of apps on offer that can help you manage your business, from file sharing to HR, social media management to sector-specific apps, there is something for everyone, whatever your business specializes in.
To help streamline project management and ease communication within your workforce, there are multiple apps available. For example, Slack is an app that specializes in improving team communication. It gives the option of breaking down a project into multiple strands, meaning the whole team doesn’t need to become overwhelmed with the full scale of a project and can instead just focus on the elements relevant to their role. Team members can also message using the app, and it has an easy to use the search function. Basecamp is another app that allows all team members to see who is accountable for what task and can shortcut the need for endless meetings as so much can be done via the app.
If you have employees who work remotely or you want a safe and convenient space to store your files that you can access from anywhere in the world, then a file-sharing app such as Dropbox could be the answer. Multiple users can log on, and it will track all edits, sync files and save the latest version of documents, letting other users see who has edited them, as well as providing cloud storage backup of all files.
Market research can be fundamental to ensuring the success of any outward facing company, from designing the latest vacuum cleaner to creating a new gaming app, it is vital to know what your target audience actually want so that you can tailor it to their needs. Market research can also save your business from making expensive mistakes; for example, you won’t roll out a new product if you find out there is no need for it. Ideally, you would conduct focus group sessions and one-to-one research to help you to gain in-depth quality information, however, this is not always possible or financially viable, so to help you to gather feedback apps such as SurveyMonkey can help you create, send and analyze surveys from any location.
Every business knows how valuable social media is in terms of attracting and retaining customers. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can keep your business at the forefront of peoples minds and allow your content to be easily shared. However, keeping track of your different accounts and remembering to update them all can be overwhelming if you are a small business without a large staff force or dedicated person in charge of social media. An app such as HootSuite can help here, combining your accounts into an easy-to-use interface and allowing you to schedule updates across accounts.
Accounting, Billing, and Invoicing
Invoiceable.co is a cloud-based accounting app for small businesses, which allows you to manage and track your invoices from a single dashboard from anywhere in the world, utilizing your smartphone or tablet. If you’d like to be able to keep on top of business expenses as they occur, then an app such as Expensify can do just that by keeping track of all expenses, billable time and mileage, as well as synching with credit cards for automatic updates, including receipt capture.
Perhaps you need to be able to take payments from any location because you run a pop-up shop or sell your wares at a market and carrying a cash register is simply not practical? Square Register is an app that allows you to take payments wherever you are simply by using your phone and converting it into a credit card reader. It also has the capacity to offer a discount or accept a gift card, so you can make every sale a personal experience.
Alongside the apps above that aim to boost business productivity across the board, there are also a host of industry-specific apps that can ease the running of your business in specialized ways. For example, for oil and gas operators, GreaseBook Oil and Gas app for iPad helps to digitalize your operating system, enabling you to scale your independent oil and gas business systematically. It can operate on any kind of well from old-dog stripper wells to gangbuster horizontals.
For craft and art sellers, there are numerous apps that can help you to reach wide global audiences easily, for example, Etsy allows artists to sell directly and charge a small transaction fee. These sites have user-friendly apps that allow customers to easily scroll through categories to find what they are looking for, with anything from handmade lace underwear to nursery art prints on sale.
If you are a restaurant or café owner, then the Yelp app is worth knowing about. It has over 135 million reviews of businesses worldwide and acts as a local guide, directing people to top places to eat, drink or shop. Ensure you claim your business page so that you can regularly update the key information, making it easy for customers to find you. If you are searching for more inspiration to keep your café menus fresh, then Key Ingredient is an app which lets you peruse over 1.5 million recipes from around the world, allowing you to save the ones that get your taste buds going, and then incorporate them into your own menus.
Lastly, and useful for any business owner, if you’ve ever wondered where the time disappears in your day and how your ‘to do’ list remains still un-ticked as 5pm rolls around then the RescueTime app might be able to help. It will track the time you spend on websites or tasks, and allow you to block distracting websites, thereby helping you to focus more fully on what you want to achieve.