As a small business owner, you know firsthand how critical it is to stay on top of all your tasks and deadlines. But doing so can be complicated, especially while you're balancing multiple to-dos simultaneously.
However, there are tools to help you. Business organization apps can help small businesses stay on task and productive.
How can apps help your business?
Whether you're working from home without the benefit of a full office setup, traveling for work or juggling multiple responsibilities, running a small business requires taking care of many tasks on the go.
While some apps may be redundant or overlap with tasks that you prefer an employee to handle, others allow you to manage tasks like updating your accounting from multiple devices or tracking inventory as it ships. From project management apps that allow a remote team of employees to work without an office to productivity apps that keep you on task, business apps can improve your efficiency while reducing your expenses.
What are the best business and organization apps?
To start out strong, use business organization app LivePlan to create a custom business plan. The app will take you step by step through the creation of your plan with a few questions, including your cash flow projections. Once it's created, you can tweak it as needed to account for new sources of revenue, funding or inventory.
Need to sign forms or email documents? CamScanner turns your smartphone camera into a scanner, creating PDF or JPG files that you can save, email or print wirelessly. Once you take a picture of the document you want to scan, the app removes any background, adjusts the angle and tilt, fixes issues with brightness or color, and creates a high-resolution final document.
3. Goods Order Inventory
If you sell physical products, inventory tracker app Goods Order Inventory will help you keep track of your stock, along with sales, invoices, payments, locations, suppliers, clients, balance sheets and shipments. Goods Order Inventory includes a barcode scanner and multiple reporting options. It integrates with a variety of accounting applications, as well as sales platforms such as eBay and Amazon.
Managing payroll for your employees is simpler with an app like Gusto. Created by QuickBooks to integrate with its accounting software, Gusto allows you to manage payroll, compliance, sick days, vacation time and other benefits all in one place. It also allows you to calculate and file your federal and state payroll taxes.
If you are a frequent business traveler, TripIt consolidates your travel information, regardless of where you bought tickets, rented your car or booked hotel rooms. When you receive travel confirmation emails, you can forward them to TripIt to create a custom itinerary for each trip. The app also allows you to view departure times, get directions, receive travel alerts, and check delays or weather reports.
When you hire new employees, Proven streamlines the process of creating and sharing job ads. Use the app to create a post for the available position. You can then post directly from Proven to job sites, including ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor and Monster. Then, you can collect the applications you receive in one place and respond directly to candidates through the app.
Time management is a struggle for many small business owners, especially with smartphones providing endless distractions. You can boost your productivity with Moment, which tracks your phone usage and gives you a clear snapshot of how you are actually spending your day. This productivity app can also help manage time spent on your phone by setting daily limits and sending you notifications when you go over them.
You can keep track of your social media marketing with Hootsuite. It's compatible with over 35 different social media platforms, and it allows you to schedule hundreds of posts at once. Unlike many other social media management apps, it also has extensive analytics and monitoring options to track the effectiveness of your campaigns.
What are the best team management apps?
One of the best-known team management apps, Slack helps your employees communicate more efficiently and effectively. This instant messenger for business reduces the need for back-and-forth emails or long informational meetings. You can create multiple message channels within it for individual products, topics, events or projects, then add the relevant employees to each.
If your business requires conference calls with employees or clients, GoToMeeting provides a single hub that connects users from their phone, computer or tablet. The app includes screen sharing as well as an audio and video connection; you can also record calls for later playback. GoToMeeting can sync with your calendar, so you can schedule meetings in advance or create regular team appointments.
Editor's note: Are you looking for the best video conferencing software for your business? Fill out the questionnaire below to receive more information from our vendor partners.
Project management app Asana provides a platform for teams to collaborate, communicate and stick to a schedule. An Asana board allows you to create tasks and projects, monitor progress, share notes, upload files, and communicate directly with team members and employees. This task management app also integrates with Google Drive and Dropbox for file sharing and lets you post updates to your Slack channels.
12. LastPass Authenticator
If your employees work with sensitive information, you can increase your web security by using LastPass Authenticator as part of the login process. Adding the authenticator to a website login creates a two-step verification process. Once you or an employee enters your login information, you then use the app on your phone to verify your identity with a temporary six-digit code or one-tap push notification.
A simple and effective to-do list app for business, Wunderlist will help you get organized. You can create and manage multiple lists in a single place, then share them with others on your team. This task management app can also break list items down into smaller tasks for more complicated to-dos, and you can set reminders and deadlines.
What is the best business expense app?
Business expense app Expensify allows you to keep track of costs and process reimbursements without worrying about paper receipts. You can link the app directly to a credit or debit account. It automatically tracks charges and places them on an expense report. If you prefer, you can also use your phone's camera to take pictures of receipts, and Expensify will extract and upload the relevant information.
QuickBooks is one of the easiest accounting apps to use, and it comes at multiple price points based on the size of your business. In addition to basic accounting, it covers profit analysis, tax reporting, inventory management and more. It connects to your bank account and integrates with many other payroll, inventory, point-of-sale, and business expense apps to streamline your workflow.
16. PayPal Here
For those who need to get paid both online and on the go, PayPal Here is PayPal's point-of-sale app. It allows you to turn your phone or tablet into a mobile register while staying connected to your PayPal account. The first mobile card reader is free, and you can pay an additional fee for extra readers or chip readers. The chip reader accepts contactless payments such as Apple Pay.
Editor's note: Are you looking for a credit card processing solution for your business? Fill out the questionnaire below to receive more information from our vendor partners.
If your business is more brick and mortar than online, Square may be the best point-of-sale app for you. It allows you to process credit card payments with either a phone or tablet, and both your account and the hardware are free (you pay a set fee for each transaction). It also integrates with your bank account, which can help streamline your accounting.
How do you start a business app?
Apps can play another role in your business by connecting you to customers. Many businesses use apps to streamline mobile access to website features or administer a customer loyalty program.
If an app would improve your customer onboarding and retention, it may be worth investing the time and money to create one. You'll need to take these steps to start a business app:
- Create a detailed plan and strategy for how your app will serve your business and customers.
- Research other apps that you want to emulate or replace, especially those your competitors use.
- Hire a designer if you don't have an in-house person with experience in app creation. You should also hire a writer to ensure that any text content in your app is professional-looking and easy to understand.
- Create wireframes or mock-ups that map the different screens of your app to plan out the user experience.
- Write, construct, and code your app with the help of your designer and writer.
- Test your app to identify missing information or places where the user experience is unwieldy. Your app should be bug-free by the time it launches.
- Release your app after making all your tweaks and changes.
- Market your app to both new and existing customers, then take their feedback into account when making changes.
Some small businesses may find that creating their own business app allows them to improve their customers' experience and stand out from the competition. Developing a business app can be a costly process, though. Start by conducting in-depth research to determine these factors:
- The needs of your customers
- How they interact with your business
- How they would prefer to interact with your business
- What an app would achieve
- What type of app could best connect your business with your audience
Where can you find business apps for your organization?
New business apps are being developed constantly, so it pays to regularly try out new ones and see how they can help streamline your day-to-day operations. Check the Android or Apple app stores to see which new small business apps are available and how other users review them.
Keep in mind that many of your apps will need to integrate with each other. For example, if you use a business expense app, you'll want it to communicate easily with your accounting software. When choosing new business organization apps, look for information on what other programs and applications they integrate with to make choices that will simplify your business rather than make it more complicated.