Thanks to the advent of technology, more and more means are emerging to simplify our lives. One example are laptop or mobile applications to lighten the workload of small-business owners wherever they go. Time-consuming tasks involving monitoring such as sales and workers’ performance are definitely made easier because of apps. Here are eight of the best apps a small-business owner must have in 2017:
This may be too obvious, but Dropbox should really be in this list because it became one of the most important apps in this generation. Dropbox’s users already reached 500 million in quantity. This app is considered to be the most popular when it comes to sharing and storing files through the internet. Companies usually use this for safe transfer of files with remote workers. Dropbox also has both free and paid plans for each user. It works on every operating system and device.
What I love most about Dropbox is that it looks like someone’s personal set of Windows files or folders that can be accessed by anyone, if set to public or shared via links, without the need for a time-consuming remote process like Team Viewer.
Another personal favorite of mine, Trello looks so simple and attractive. It’s like putting sticky notes for everyone to see. This app focuses on project management tasks, especially tracking the team’s work performance. The “sticky notes” or cards are created to represent tasks or assignments. They are lined up all over the special team space called board. Each card can be composed of stickers, labels, due dates, checklists, comments, members and attachments for more comprehensive content. Speaking of attachments, these can be taken from the PC, Dropbox or Google Drive.
What if there are changes from team members? The whole team is notified through email or mobile. Trello is free for both Android and iOS devices. For bonus features such as Evernote and Slack integration, the user has to pay $9.99 each month. Bigger companies need to buy a package worth $20.83 every month in order for them to easily manage several Trello teams. Included in this package are more security features and account managers.
Still a hit in 2017, PayPal is considered to be one of the most convenient platforms for fast money transactions. It is so safe that many bank accounts, including debit and credit, are linked here. You can send or receive money here like a breeze. The company also created an app allowing businesses to attach the card reader of PayPal to mobile devices, serving as a portable cash register.
Thankfully, the standard plan is free for all users. The Pro plan is worth $30 every month due to bonus features such hosting and customizing checkout. Free or paid plan, both have corresponding charges for each transaction. The charges can be expensive for big amounts of money, but PayPal remains safe and easy to use. It is just a little compensation for the world-class service.
When it comes to time management, RescueTime is one of the most reliable. It is an automatic time tracker for moments you spend on each website and application. It gives you comprehensive reports about your activities every day. Because of this, you would be aware how much time is wasted or put into good use. RescueTime is available for PC, Mac, Linux and Android users. While there is a free version, the app’s premium costing $72 annually aims for bonus features such as filters, more complex reports, blocker of irrelevant websites and alerts.
I know Skype is the most popular app when it comes to communication but talking about instant messaging only, Slack is more user-friendly and easier to organize. Team conversations can be organized here through separation of direct messages from channels, also separated into public and private ones. This app is also quick to use for sharing, dropping or dragging files on the conversation. It has an automatic service for archiving and indexing files, notifications and messages. There is no limit for the number of users in each business.
Slack aims for higher team productivity because of fewer meetings and internal emails. It is free to use but of course, payment is necessary for added controls and features. The plan worth $8 every month per user has group calls option, guest access, and complete archive of the whole team’s messages ever since app membership.
When it comes to video conferences, nothing compares to Skype despite how many years have passed. The app is even too popular on mobile, proven by 8 million reviews on its Google Play page. Aside from IMs, it allows screen sharing, SMS and group calls up to 25 participants. With paid upgrades starting $5 per month each user, Skype can integrate with Microsoft Office and make group calls up to 250 participants. It requires no payment in downloading and is compatible for all operating systems and devices.
This app aims for an easier way to track and manage invoices, useful for both freelancers and owners of small businesses. It gives users the opportunity to create professional yet personalized invoices. It also accepts credit cards through mobile and automatically bills clients. FreshBooks can even organize and track expenses wherever you go. It also provides personalized business reports including statements for loss and profit.
Premium membership starts at $12.95. As more clients emerge, businesses need to pay more. FreshBooks are free for both Android and iOS devices.
Email marketing is still essential for business expansion. MailChimp makes that process easier through fast creation and management of mailing lists. Newsletters can also be quickly created and sent through this app. Other benefits of this app is building and customizing email templates, and viewing reports of email performance. These reports help you track if your emails are relevant enough for customers. The more subscribers you have, the more you need to pay. But with 2,000 subscribers, it is free to send a maximum of 12,000 emails every month.
Some of these apps became important for how many years already, proving that they really helped small businesses in their daily transactions and monitoring. No wonder that familiar apps are still mentioned here because let’s face it – small businesses will never stand a chance this year without these.