A lot has been written about technology. Some call it a time –consuming distraction from life’s important tasks. But technology can make you better at what you do, schedule your tasks and give you reminders for these tasks as an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur means high hopes for making an impact—with as low a budget as possible.
If there’s one thing most entrepreneurs wish they could create more of, it’s time. These 10 productivity apps for business owners are the next best thing.
The beauty of Evernote (which is available for free in Web, iOS and Android versions) is that it can be whatever you need it to be. Need a simple place to store notes or track thoughts as they occur? Evernote has you covered. This is the app for syncing notes across mobile and desktop devices. If you’re just starting out with your small business, you’re probably going to be bombarded with advice from every angle. Evernote serves as a great space in which to organise these nuggets of wisdom.
As with Evernote, it probably isn’t a surprise to see Dropbox on a list of recommended productivity apps. Boasting 500 million users, Dropbox is the most popular platform on which to store and share files on the cloud. Though Dropbox could probably benefit any small business, its services are especially useful for companies that have telecommuters and need a reliable way to share information.
If you’re looking to send better email, Mailchimp is a must. This email marketing tool helps you manage your mailing lists and easily create newsletters to send to your subscribers. With this tool, you can build and customise email templates, build a list of subscribers, send out campaigns and view reports of how your emails perform. With this information, you can learn more about your customers and send them more relevant emails in the future.
Ever wondered where entrepreneurs get their ideas from? Surely, they aren’t born with them! Any established entrepreneur you come across is probably very well-read. Hint: Take a chance at reading books and gaining knowledge to spruce up your mind. To help you do just that on the go, try Audible. It lets you listen to books without having to actually focus on reading while you are out travelling or just doing chores.
Although several competitors have made valiant efforts to knock Skype off its videoconferencing throne, this app remains notably effective, not to mention popular (with more than 8 million reviews on Google Play).
Probably the most effective method for remaining in touch with all your employees, Skype has become an office norm for instant communication and connectivity. With its app version available for mobile phones, connectivity has taken a new form by allowing entrepreneurs to schedule and attend important business conference calls on the go.
This is a convenient platform with which to pay people and get paid, something you’ll have to do a lot of as a small-business owner. PayPal lets you link your credit and debit accounts and other bank accounts to your PayPal account, thereby making transactions quick and painless.
PayPal’s standard merchant service plan is free and allows you to accept credit cards and PayPal on your site and in store. The Pro plan costs $30 per month and comes with added features, including the ability to host and customise online checkout (both options charge 2.7% per swipe for mobile and in-store payments and 3.5% plus 15 cents for manually entered sales, and 2.9% plus 30 cents for online payments and invoicing).
While travelling, you probably want to keep your receipts to claim office expenses once you get home. But why go through the hassle of keeping all these receipts when a smart phone can do the same for you? By using your phone’s camera, you can take pictures of your receipts as a digital record in a chronological order. Expensify also lets you log mileage, meal expenses and other business-related travel costs.
In an age of digital insecurity, forming secure passwords is an absolute must – but who has time to remember all those different combinations of letters and numbers? If you struggle to keep your online accounts secure, Lastpass can help by generating, storing and automatically recalling strong passwords for all of your Internet logins. It’s free to use on both PCs and Macs, though you’ll pay $12/year to have the premium version available for download to your mobile device.
On KanbanFlow, a web-based app, managers can assign tasks to their colleagues, upload documents and schedule due dates. KanbanFlow visualizes your workflow and simplifies communication among team members. What’s more, KanbanFlow’s basic version is free and works on most smartphones and PCs and Macs. The premium version costs $5 per user per month and comes with features such as file attachments, revision history and a cumulative flow diagram that lets you analyze your work history. To get the premium version, first sign up for a free account, then click on the “get premium” button at the bottom right corner of the board.
If RTM lacks in any one area, it’s visual appeal. So if you’re a more graphically-inclined entrepreneur, take a look at Wunderlist – a perpetual favourite on lists of the best “to do” trackers. The program is easy to navigate and can be used to quickly and efficiently track important tasks from within its free desktop, Web, iOS and Android versions.