There has never been a time in history greater than now to be a small business. The recession has seen a sharp rise in startups and self-made- entrepreneurs, more and more people are turning their backs on huge corporate brands in favour of the business offerings of your average Joe. In turn, technological advances now mean that small businesses have access to the kind of software and resources that would have been unimaginable and inaccessible to them only years ago.
Apps are now integral for many businesses; a recent study revealed that over 60% of SME businesses are now using mobile technology as part of the operations in their businesses – another reason why businesses in the 21st century are in an advantageous position is that such technology levels out the playing field between them and their larger counterparts, as SME have access to free and low cost technology that would have been out of their reach only a few years ago. So from accounting to social media, payment to planning, here a list of apps to help you better manage your business from the palm of your hand wherever you are in the world.
The popular social media management tool is also available as an app now so you can manage your business’s social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Foursquare amongst others) from your mobile phone. You’ll be able to stay connected to your customers and keep them up to date with the latest news as well as monitoring stats, schedule posts, upload images and much more.
Had a sudden moment of inspiration, but no notepad or pen and sick of logging notes as drafts in your messages? Evernote will probably come in handy for your business then. An app that is able to capture images, take notes and create audio notes too, and built to make organizing your notes easier.
Cloud technology is where it’s at, especially at a time when it’s increasingly important for businesses to think about how they are storing information, data and work, and how much all of this will be costing them in the long run. Dropbox has been one of the pioneers of cloud technology and file sharing, making it easier for colleagues the world over to access large files – it’s cheap to run and as offsite provider means that you don’t have the stress of dealing with IT problems or technicians.
Sage Record Keeper
Money, money, money. If this gets out of control then you can bid a sad farewell to your business, but with this free app, you’ll have instant access to your finance at all times – track in goings, outgoings, and invoices. The app also gives you the ability to set up new customers, create and email quotes, invoices, sales and orders. It’s completely free to use, simple and gives everyone in your business access to the financial information at the heart of your business.
Speaking of documents, it’s important not to leave out those PDF files too. Ensuring that you have an app that can facilitate for this document format is important so invest in the long standing gold standard of PDF files. The app allows for editing, has document signing features and has been upgraded to allow for greater ease when adding signatures from different platforms , for example tablets, smartphones and good old fashioned computers.
That organisation is key to the smooth running of any business is a common sense given, and so having an app to help to keep things moving efficiently makes sense to any savvy business person. The app functions like a mini digital secretary organizing clients, helping you to keep track of products and projects, managing orders and inventory – giving you a neat overview of the status of your business’s stock and status of your client relationships.
Just as important as organising your products, inventory and clients, surely is the organisation of your team. Making sure that everyone is aware of priority tasks, timelines, deadlines, and each team members workload is key to the success and smooth running of your business –and Trello allows you to oversee this, and share in real time with your team, wherever you are.
This app enables you to effectively build ideas with your team, as well as testing out their popularity by engaging with communities. It has integration facilities with Facebook and online blogs. Popular with the Obama administration and Wired magazine (so you’re in great company), this app is great for building campaigns and garnering feedback too.
Echo Sign enables you to e-sign, track and file documents securely online which enable you to work more effectively. It’s quickly garnered a reputation for being the one of the most efficient, easy to use signing programs in the world.
You’ll be able to e-sign, track and file documents online – safe in the knowledge that it’s been done securely, ( and is legally enforceable) the app gives you the ease of mind to operate at your best with customers and business partners.
Business knows no boundaries in the 21st century. Working from home or working from an exotic beach locale far from the office no longer means that you will be missing out on meetings – Skype has revolutionized the way we connect with each other wherever we are in the world, and your business shouldn’t be missing out – for SME businesses it’s another opportunity to grow and connect to new clients nationally and globally.