First of all, let’s define “must-have.” There are plenty of must-have apps you’ve probably already downloaded because you’re aware of their benefits. 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. We’ll avoid the the obvious apps like these, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail.
Here are the 12 must-have apps to be more productive at work in 2017,
Slack makes it easy to organize team conversations into different channels, such as engineering, admin, or finance. In addition, Slack integrates well with external systems including Twitter, and various source control systems. This helps keep everyone up to date. To cover sensitive details there’s direct messaging and private groups. Private messaging groups can also be created for circulating sensitive information and multi-channel chats can be created too, so separate group chats for, say, marketing, sales or support teams can be made.
Inkflow is for the brainstorming ones out there. If you’re the one who gets ideas when you are travelling your way home or when you are at a restaurant with no pen or paper in sight, then this one’s for you. Inkflow helps you note things down or even re-imagine your ideas in a visual manner by sketching and drawing. You also create PDFs of the same and share with your colleagues right away. The only issue of the Inkflow is that it is only available on Apple stores but many alternative apps are available on Android.
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.
Todo offers shareable and fully editable to-do lists that are ideal for collaborative work. This app provides colour coded tags, time and location details, Siri integration and space for additional notes. While a simple concept, this app hosts a quick and easy way to promote team-based organisation throughout your startup.
Trello is essentially a work and life planner and project management tool. With Trello, users can create boards and invite co-workers to interact and edit documents, customise workflows and add and assign tasks. In addition, users can upload photos and videos, attach files and add editable checklists.
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.
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.
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.
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.