Google Chrome is more than just a web browser. With the right extensions, it's also a productivity powerhouse. Whether you only need a few useful tools to improve your workday or you'd like to manage your entire business straight from your browser, there are thousands of Chrome extensions at the Chrome Web Store to fit your needs. To help you get started, here are 10 Chrome extensions that will make your life easier as a small business owner.
Small business owners wear all the hats and juggle all the tasks. The Todoist task manager Chrome extension can help you stay organized and get a handle of everything on your agenda. In addition to creating task lists, Todoist lets you collaborate with team members, keep track of projects, manage deadlines, share and delegate tasks, save websites, access tasks offline, and set SMS reminders and push notifications straight from your browser. Todoist also integrates with mobile devices and calendar apps, such as iCalendar, so it's accessible even when you're not on your computer. Other features include the ability to email tasks, set goals, and create visuals, graphs and charts of all your tasks and goals.
It's so easy to get distracted when you're on your computer, but that's not so fun when you have a lot to get done. You can block websites to get rid of these distractions, or you can use Pocket to tuck them away for later perusal. Pocket lets you save articles, websites, videos and other content so you can view them at a more opportune time. Just hit the Pocket Chrome extension button at the top of your browser and it will automatically save the current website. This way, you can procrastinate less, without missing out on important reads and cat videos. You can also close the tab or window to get rid of browser clutter – and so you're less tempted to look – without losing the sites you want to visit later. [See Related Story: Best Firefox Add-Ons for Business]
Ever find yourself with 50 browser tabs open, but you can't or don't want to close any of them? If you need a dedicated tool to declutter your screen, check out OneTab. The OneTab extension turns all your opened tabs into a single list, making it easy to toggle between them. It also helps you stay organized, while saving you the time of searching each tab or window to find the website you need. If you prefer to go back to tab mode, OneTab gives you the choice of opening tabs individually or all at once. OneTab will also help your computer and browser run faster and save up to 95 percent of your memory, since you will no longer have so many tabs open at the same time.
4. Black Menu
Sometimes, one of the biggest time-wasters is opening additional tabs to perform other tasks – especially when you must Google something. The Black Menu extension gives you access to Google services without leaving the page you're currently working on. Just click the Black Menu button, type in your search terms and choose the service you'd like to use: Google Search, Maps, Translate, News, Drive and Calendar; Google+; YouTube; Gmail; G Suite, and more. The extension will give you a preview of search results, which you can then choose to open in a separate tab.
Take the leg work out of signing important documents. DocuSign lets businesses sign documents electronically, saving the time of printing, sending, scanning and uploading them manually. Using the DocuSign extension, you can launch the platform straight from the Chrome browser without opening a separate app. The DocuSign extension also integrates with G Suite, so you can electronically sign documents straight from Gmail and store them in Google Drive, as well as access and sync documents across devices.
6. Wave Accounting
You don't need to install a desktop program to balance your small business's books. Wave Accounting is a solid finance application that runs right in your Chrome browser. You can enter expenses manually, or let the app automate the process by connecting it to your bank or credit card accounts. You can also create invoices using premade templates, add logos and brand colors, and send them to clients right within your browser. Wave also lets you accept credit cards, so your customers can complete transactions online quickly and easily. As a bonus, the app can generate accounting reports, balance sheets and more to help you see your spending at a glance. [See Related Story: Best Accounting Software for Small Business]
Evernote is a robust note-taking app that's available on virtually every computing platform, as well as on the Chrome browser. The app gives you one-click access to the Evernote web portal, where you can view your existing notes and add new ones. It lets you type or dictate notes, snap photos, create to-do lists and more, and once an item is created, it automatically syncs across all your devices. It also features text identification, which can recognize printed or handwritten text, letting you track down specific notes later using keywords. Evernote works well on a mobile device, but it's even more useful on your desktop computer, where you probably spend most of your workday.
8. Chrome Remote Desktop
Instead of installing a dedicated remote desktop application, try the Chrome Remote Desktop extension in your Chrome browser. It lets you access your files and programs on your work PC from a mobile device, as long as your computer is on and the extension is running. Once setup is complete, you can view your Windows, Mac or Chromebook desktop right on the display of your smartphone or tablet, and open files just as you would on your desktop PC. You can even run full desktop programs, such as Photoshop or Microsoft Office, via Chrome Remote Desktop. If you need reliable access to your work computer from anywhere, the extension could really come in handy.
Smartsheet is a powerful project-management app that you can use directly in your Chrome browser. The app has the look of a familiar spreadsheet, so it's fairly intuitive and easy to use. Context-sensitive columns let you access drop-down menus to change the assignment date, priority and completion status of any item with just a few clicks. You can add sub-assignments to any item, and then expand or collapse items to zero in on details or focus on the bigger picture. Smartsheet also lets you attach videos, contracts, documents and other files to assignments so you and your teammates have immediate access to them. Meanwhile, the ability to switch among a spreadsheet view, calendar and interactive timeline helps you see all your scheduled items at a glance.
10. Business Hangouts
Business Hangouts for Google Chrome takes the basic Hangouts app – a solid video conferencing platform – and adds extra features specifically for business users. Those features include a registration tool to help you manage attendees for each meeting, plus an email system that lets you send out invitations, reminders and follow-up messages. When you set up a meeting, you're automatically prompted to invite contacts via email, SMS text message or social networking platforms. The other perk of using Business Hangouts over the standard Hangouts app is that it lets you create meeting rooms that anyone can join, even if they lack an account on the Google+ social networking website. Moreover, installing Business Hangouts as a Chrome app gives you the ability to create a new meeting with one click.