The Best Productivity Apps For Your Small Business
As a small business owner, sometimes you find yourself being pulled in many different directions, all at once. On a typical day, you’re in charge of operations, handling payroll, dealing with employees, and more. Most of the time you’re dealing with the day-to-day, but find yourself wondering how you can free up time to think about the larger picture.
The demands of running a business can weigh heavily on you, and if you let the stress pile up, it will affect your productivity and, ultimately, your sales.
Fortunately, technology is helping in a big way. Productivity apps are now being designed to help you manage everything from a neat to-do-list to delegating employee tasks and more. These new tools are making it much easier to curb business expenses and stay in control.
Remember, the type of app you use will depend on the nature of your business and your needs as an owner. Below, you’ll find some great apps to get you started.
Great General Productivity Apps
Evernote is great because it allows you to clip small bits of information from the web and tag them for quick searching. You can also alter the content by condensing or embedding audio, video, or images.
Evernote is used mainly for journaling, compiling organic notes, saving contacts, creating to-do lists, and storing emails and tweets you find useful.
If you blog, and most businesses do, you’ll find Evernote an invaluable tool for collecting content to be used as resources for your articles. It can also be highly effective for securing event media coverage, as you can clip mentions and press coverage with ease.
The basic version is available for free but the business version comes with more features (admin control, larger download space, and more) and a reasonable monthly payment at $12.
If you like to surf the web and find there’s content you wish you had time to interact with, but don’t, try Pocket. The Pocket app allows you to save articles, videos, and anything else you find online, so you can go through it later.
If you only have time to read an important industry article or video tutorial during your commute or before bed, you can do so with this app. After you save a piece of content, the app downloads it, so you don’t need internet to access it. Pocket is simple and free to use.
RescueTime is perfect for business owners who spend an unhealthy amount of time on digital distractions such as Facebook, Reddit, or Twitter.
We’ve all been there. We all have a particular vice that we enjoy and spend too much time distracting ourselves from working. Realistically, we can turn anything into a distraction to get out of doing work. It’s part of our nature as humans. That’s why we need rescuing.
RescueTime helps us be more productive by holding us accountable when we indulge a distraction. It breaks down exactly where you spend your time (by app and website). It also allows you to set your own productivity goals, so you can slowly get better at being more focused.
There’s also a premium version that lets you track offline activity and set notifications to let you know if you’ve spent too much time on a particular activity.
If you work on the clock, Toggl is the tool for you. Once activated, it tracks how you spend every second of your time, making it great for anyone who works billable hours. The app can track multiple projects simultaneously, and you can export your data into documents such as time graphs, sheets, and even allows you to sync your time with other project management apps.
Team members can use Toggl as well. With this app, you can easily keep track of several teams and stay organized across the globe.
The free version supports up to five users, but the pro version supports unlimited users and adds sub-projects and billable rates. Here’s a handy review of Toggl for further information.
Wunderlist is, essentially, a to-do list, but it has great features. It allows users to create scores of task lists and to share them, and lists can sync automatically to allow others to see which items have been completed already.
Wunderlist also has a newer, high-functioning app that allows business owners to delegate tasks to team members and to break them down into more manageable sub-tasks, add deadlines and notes, and program reminders.
Project Management Apps for Small Business
These apps help get you and your workers on the same page with your daily work list. They are designed to centralize tasks and streamline workflow, so you don’t waste your working hours trying to figure out what everyone else should be doing.
Trello is a highly visual app that organizes workflow into a card system. Each card represents a task. Each task can then be categorized under a list. If you have a list of changes you want to make to your website, like changing the header or embedding videos, you can create cards with these tasks and position them under a list created for website changes.
Trello is a very simple and effective project management sotware. It’s biggest strength is in its ability to centralize many to-do-lists separated by their categorical significance to your business. Add in the ability to move and write on cards in real-time to reflect project status, and you have a winner.
Basecamp is another app that marries project management and team communication software; however, where Trello is card based, Basecamp is thread based.
In our experience, we found Trello to be a more granular tool for individual based tasks. This means, Trello was easier to create one-off tasks that could be handled by one person.
Whereas, with Basecamp, you’ll find it easier to manage big team projects, as you can create large groups of threads for each team project. If you have a bit of a larger team that needs to work together to complete tasks more often than not, consider using Basecamp.
Asana is a great app particularly for checklists. Users can prioritize projects (or tasks) within its interface, and there’s a dashboard chat to track progress and communicate. Asana has a free versions of its service for teams up to 15 people. That’s quite the incentive for larger teams to try it.
Last on our list of project management tools is Monday.com. This software is unique in that it focuses on process rather than tasks. Many of us can attest, some tasks are not straight-forward and need to time to complete. They’re more of a “process” than a task with a concrete beginning and end. That’s why Monday.com reflects these statuses in its dashboard with noticeable colour attributions.
Couple its advanced scheduling capability with its grid system, and you can see why it has been touted as the most versatile project management platform. Plans start at $25 a month.
Productivity apps are changing the way small business owners operate, making it easy to stay on task. That’s why it’s important to have one project management software to keep your team up to date when away from the office. Try these out to see which app suits your business.
Best Time Management Apps for You to Discover
To help you get more mileage out of remote workers and make sure they have the right tools to stay on task, here is a list of the best time management apps in 2019 for remote workers.
Eternity Time Log
Eternity Time Log doesn’t focus solely on business; it goes beyond your work life. This app breaks down your day into three parts: work, play, and sleep.
You can then track your time within each of these groups, allowing you to manage personal time as well as work. Results are shown on colorful reports comprised on pie charts that are easily transferred to any device.
With this time tracking app, you’ll be able to determine how much time you spend prioritizing your work life against your social life and sleep. Most of you business owners will be surprised how much time you spend working and how much time comes out of the other parts of your life, like sleep. Work’s important, but remember to get enough sleep to fuel your health and the health of your business.
Hubstaff is a time tracking app that runs as a software on your desktop or as a mobile app. Even though it’s, predominantly, a time tracking application, it also has keystroke and screenshot capabilities to give employers high level oversight of their employees.
Its features include daily activity rates, randomized screenshots, internet and app monitoring, an employee payroll system, and easy invoicing. Hubstaff also integrates with over 30 project management systems including, Basecamp, Trello, and Asana.
If you’re looking to monitor employees with Big Brother like precision, Hubstaff is the tool of choice.
My minutes is the last of the time tracking management apps on our list. It’s simple, yet effective. Remember the old adage, if it works, don’t fix it. That’s what is happening here.
My minutes gives you the ability to set a minimum or maximum time you want to spend on a task. You can give yourself the option of “at least” or “at most” goals, giving you more motivation to complete a task, you’d likely not want to do.
The app also allows you to set repeat tasks on specific days and provides motivation through its streak system.
It’s basic, but it works.
Best Payment and Finance Apps
Square has built its point-of-sales (POS) business as one of the premier options for mobile payments. If your business depends on POS, but you have a limited budget for payment processing, Square is a good option.
With Square, you can plug in a portable card-reader to your phone or table to accept payments through credit and debit cards. Instead of a traditional payment terminal, which needs it’s own infrastructure, you can use mobile gadgets to run your business. Even though you’re operating your POS from phone and tablets, you can still email or text receipts to customers upon each purchase.
Square charges between 2.75% per purchase and there’s no monthly fee. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.
Another option for point-of-sales businesses, PayPal Here is direct competition for Square. On the upside, PayPal Here offers a similar portable card-reader that accepts credit and debit cards swipes at 2.7%, slightly cheaper than Square. However, if you perform a lot of smaller transactions, the costs can add up.
With all its draws, there also drawbacks to PayPal Here. One large drawback is that you won’t receive payments directly to your bank account. Instead, you’ll receive payments to your PayPal account and will have to later transfer your money to your bank manually. This process can take up to a couple of days, negatively impacting your cash flow.
Wave is an accounting software application designed specifically for small business. If your business operates with employees beneath double digits, you should check out this app, as it offers free personal finance software to help small business owners manage their finances.
Wave separates its services into four distinct pillars: accounting, invoicing, payments, and payroll. Its uses include tracking sales and expenses, customer and employee payments, invoices and receipts, and generates useful spending reports. Wave plus starts at $20 a month.
As a more payroll, human resources, and benefits based app, Gusto is a great accounting software for handling internal expenses.
With Gusto, you can expect reports giving your insight into new hires, automated benefit deductions and employee pay stubs, tax filings, and workers’ compensation payments.
Top Organization Apps for Small Business
Hiring can be a long and arduous process. Proven helps by organizing your hiring. It centralizes your hiring process by posting to multiple job boards for you.
You can use its dashboard to go through the results of all your applicants in one place. In addition, it also helps you organize applicants by sorting them into different buckets. It also keeps track of follow ups, so you will be certain if you reached out to a particular candidate.
This app is made for specifically for Android devices. Boxmeup organizes and tracks packages, containers, and shelf items. It also lets you print QR labels you can use to identify containers and the items within.
If you’re a small business, you want free space. Now, whether you need free physical or digital storage space is up to the type of business you have; however, most businesses need digital space. Google Drive gives you digital space for free. Make use of it for things like your branding creative, important spreadsheets, and customer information.
Google Drive gives you 15GB of free space. Just keep in mind, Google Drive splits its 15 GB free storage between your drive and your Gmail account.
Best Team Communication Apps
Slack is the big player in the team communication space. Its app allows for easy filtering and searching to make accessing important information a breeze. It uses channels as a medium to facilitate communication. These channels can be made up of individuals or whole teams. The sky’s the limit with how you organize your communication channels. It also has notifications you can customize if you want to remember channel specific important tasks.
Slack is free as well. It supports an unlimited number of users. The caveat with Slack is that it archives your messages and you need to pay to access archives. So, if you write an important message, be sure to make note of it outside of Slack before it archives the message. Generally speaking, you have enough time to do so.
Zoom has been making some noise after its initial product offering (IPO) in the video conferencing space. After years of success, it is becoming the go to video conferencing software for big businesses such as Uber, GoDaddy, Slack, and Pandora.
For all those video conferencing people out there looking for something other than Skype, we got your back. Fuze does the same job but better. It host online meetings for all devices and operating systems. It includes video conferencing on iPads and tablets as well and boast high-definition video and audio.
In addition, you can share and edit presentations on video calls in real-time.
Other Essential Apps For Your Small Business
Zapier is the next big thing in workflow automation. Many apps have automated work processes you can control within their app. That’s something many of us already take for advantage. However, Zapier is the software that automates the workflow of applications interacting with other applications.
For example, with Zapier, you can automate Google Calendar events to create event notifications in Slack, so you never miss knowing when a meeting is.
Zapier uses, what it calls, zaps to automate workflow between apps. All zaps need to work are triggers and actions. Zapier then monitors for the trigger event. Once a trigger is fired, the Zap creates an action.
There are 300 plus combinations of zaps between applications. With this software, you’ll be able to automate simple data entry, list building, or menial but necessary aspects of running a business.
Small businesses don’t have enough capital to hire a dedicated human resources (HR) manager. However, they still need to create an organizational framework to take care of their employees.
Zenefits is an app that can do this for your business. It handles HR, compliance, benefits, payroll and logging work hours without an HR manager or department.
On this platform, employees can view their HR insurance and benefits plans, log work hours, and schedule time off with ease. This is especially helpful if your business has remotes workers.
We all know the trouble that can transpire from having too many tabs or windows open when working. Most of us tend to equate more tabs and windows with higher productivity, but that is just not the case. Magnet helps to make having multiple open tabs and windows easier to handle for us mulitaskers.
With an app like Magnet at your disposal, you can eliminate the back and forth toggling between hidden tabs. Instead, you can compare data between every window at once, as the app divides screens into easily view-able sections.
If you’re traveling for work more often than not, use Tripit to consolidate your travel plans into a single master itinerary. All one needs to do is forward their travel emails to Tripit and the app will do the rest.
Expensify should be used in tandem with Tripit. Since you have all your plans in one place, you should have all your expenses consolidated as well. Expensify’s app connects to your credit or debit card and create an expense report for every expenditure of your trip in one place.
If you take pictures of your expenses instead, you can upload photos to the app and it will automatically extract all relevant spending data.