There is no end to web-based apps and their mobile counterparts that claim they can help small business owners save money, time and resources. Unfortunately, only a small number of them actually live up to the expectations. The best applications combine easy-to-use visual design with an option-oriented back-end that not only simplifies communication between team members but also automates any redundant tasks and streamline the overall workflow. These 10 apps do that, and much, much more. From project coordination to time tracking, here are 10 indispensable apps you can use to further develop your small business.
BigTime is one of the most popular online apps used to manage time and expenses. It offers numerous useful options such as billing, expense and time tracking, workflow and task management and WIP management. Currently, the platform is responsible for tracking of over $1 billion worth of fees, annually. Small business owners can track their workflow with both personal engagement and company-wide tracking. Its intuitive dashboard allows for real-time tracking as well as opportunity identifying reports in order to increase your company’s productivity.
No online advertising effort is complete without social media marketing. Hootsuite is one of the most loved and widely-used social media management tools. You can use it to manage your social media profiles, schedule posts, interact with followers and measure your online marketing campaign’s ROI all from a single dashboard. The Pro version has proven to be particularly useful for medium and small business, however, it does require paying a monthly or yearly fee. You can manage up to 100 profiles and use 10 different analytics reports to additionally improve your online marketing efforts.
Trello was recently purchased for $425 million by non-other than the creators of HipChat. Since then, the app is slowly but surely becoming a favorite when it comes to task and team management platforms. With it, you can easily create various boards, cards, add notes, set due deadlines and more. Furthermore, Trello allows for advanced task tracking and structuring in order to make them as simple as humanly possible finish in time. It comes in a number of different plans but it can be used for free as well, which is useful for small companies looking to scale-up their business.
Hailed as one of the most useful project collaboration and management tool, Wrike has taken a step forward from the traditional project and task management using a suite of different features which make team collaboration a breeze. It combines project and task management with real-time workspace in order to provide its users with a dynamic environment for discussion and file sharing. Using this innovative tool, you can track deadlines and workflow, align team members, set priorities and take your companies professional accountability to another level.
With over a billion business owners using it on a daily basis to track $60 billion of fees, expenditures, and income, Wave is a completely free app used to manage and track various expenses and the best thing is that it only takes a couple of minutes to set-up and use. It includes features such as accounting, invoicing, payments and payrolls. There’s no need to enter the expenses manually, all you have to do is to connect it to your bank or an online account and it adds and tracks transactions automatically.
One of the major set-back most small business owners tend to experience, particularly when dealing with a website-based business, is the lack of communication with their customers. Failing to understand and relate to your customers can lead to problematic decisions regarding user-experience design, as well as a lack of overall awareness of said problematic decisions. This is where Intercom steps in. It makes it very easy to communicate, interact and engage with your customers by offering a number of features such as customer education, live chat and more.
Tracking work-hours and creating billing plans can be a tedious task, to say the least, especially when you have to jump from one project to another. Toggl is an excellent tool used for bill and time tracking, organizing projects by color coding them for a more intuitive time management, set different bill rates and get weekly and monthly productivity overviews all within a single dashboard. And almost all options can be accessed with a single click in the already streamlined dashboard.
Slack is hands-down the single most popular team communication platform. It can be used across multiple platforms and devices and sports features such as one-on-one and group chat on both private and public channels. Other features include direct messaging, phone calls, file sharing, searching through messages and shared files, notifications and it can even be integrated with Skype. The chat even includes emojis which can be completely customized, in case you and your employees like using them.
Upwork is a freelance job seeking and offering platform. You might be wondering how can this possibly help your small business prosper, but have in mind that not all teams prefer to work as independent contractors. This is where Upwork steps in, as it allows business owners to hire as many freelancers as they need for pretty much everything, whether it’s graphic design, web development, social media management, writing, etc. Their bidding, reference, and review system allows you to search for the best possible workers with the least amount of hassle.
Quora is a simple Q&A forum which provides answers even for the most technical issues. It’s similar to Yahoo Answers in nature, however, Quora actually requires that for all users to have their identities verified and encourages them to include as much info about their expertise in their profiles. No matter what question you might have, and you will have plenty of them during the course of running your small business, there is someone on Quora who knows the answer, whether it’s business and legal questions, design issues, IT support, etc.
These are just some of the most essential and useful tools a small business owner might need. Some are free, while other require a small monthly fee, but having in mind a number of benefits they provide, this fee is often times nominal. When selecting an app for your business, take the time to consider the app’s interface, whether it’s easy to use it and how much can it improve both work and user experience. Don’t go for the most expensive ones, as there are often free counterparts which do more than a good job.