Successfully running a small business is challenging. It requires perseverance, resolve and the ability to oversee multiple projects at once. With so many extraneous pressures (and a sea of online choices), finding the right apps to streamline workflow and increase productivity can feel like an uphill battle.
The following is a guide to the Seven Wonders of the Marketing World: The best tried and tested apps that small businesses shouldn’t travel the digital world without.
The grand canyon of the digital note-taking space, Evernote provides a chasm of possibilities to save and organize everything in one place with a design, interface and functionality that leaves its competitors for dust.
- Organize and share your ideas
- Keep all of your files, web clips, images and notes ordered in one place
- Collect research and data for use later: images, text, Web clips
The Victoria Falls of list-making apps, Wunderlist’s waterfall design lets you create running to-do lists. This may seem basic but being able to maintain order and visibility on your projects amid many competing priorities is like discovering an oasis in a digital desert.
- Keep a detailed record of project progress
- Sort tasks and sub-tasks via subject (work, personal, etc)
- Delegate tasks to other team members (through email or through the app)
- Set priority lists, reminders and due dates
- Comes with a beautifully simple mobile app
- Syncs from mobile to desktop via cloud storage
The Northern Lights of communication apps, Skype is by far and away the best free app to reach and communicate with clients on a more personal level than mobile-to-mobile. Skype illuminates a constellation of possible business applications.
- Screen sharing – ideal when video calling colleagues or clients, this allows another person to see exactly what is on your screen
- Sending files
- Instant messaging clients, business partners and colleagues
- Video conferences
- International calls
The Great Barrier Reef of scheduling apps, Buffer is to content marketing what the Great Barrier Reef is to the Australian tourism industry. Great content marketing is a critical component of the digital marketplace thanks to its unrivalled ability to convert website traffic into profits – and a great content marketing strategy is not possible a without a powerful tool like Buffer.
- Custom content scheduling on multiple social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter Google+ LinkedIn, App.Net)
- Ability to tightly control when content is shared
- Analytics on what content produces most engagement
- A huge time-saver when you are in a rush
The Guanabara Bay of cloud storage, Dropbox allows you to securely store and share files within the closed bay of your work team. Dropbox allows you to share documents with every person in a network so that multiple users can access and edit the same document simultaneously.
- As simple as it gets, all the fancy stuff happens in the background without you even knowing
- Syncs files between all of your devices and the cloud seamlessly
- Automatically backs up a history of all deleted and earlier versions of your files for 30 days. If you purchase the Packrat feature for your account, Dropbox automatically saves all your files meaning you never have to worry about losing data again
6. Google Drive
The Mount Everest of collaboration tools, Google Drive summits your workload by offering the ability to access files wherever you are.
- Share documents, sheets and slides and entire folders with colleagues or clients
- Give others permission to access documents and edit
- Insert and track comments
- Track edits by multiple users in real time
The Paricutín volcano of the accounting realm, Mint cools any pent up financial volatility by monitoring, tracking and scheduling all your business expenses. Mint connects directly to your bank account and oversees your financial activity. It’s only available in the U.S.*
- Generates visual charts
- Ability to track sales
- Ability to program payment reminders; and
- Break down employee salaries based on hourly rates
*If you are outside the US, other tools such as MoneySoft, Xero & PocketBook (Aus) are hot alternatives.
These are the top seven picks for apps that small businesses can’t live without. Think I’ve missed anything? Add your small business travel stories in the comments section below.
Sarah Lynch is a freelance writer and content manager based in Sydney, Australia. To hear more musings from Sarah, you can follow her on Twitter.