Running a small business can be incredibly stressful. There are dozens of tasks you need to do each day and an endless list of things to remember. If you're not organized, you could quickly get overwhelmed with everything you need to do.
Mint is an app you can use in your personal life or your professional career. It is a simple budgeting app that is part of the QuickBooks family of products. This tool is ideal for small business owners who need to see their expenses broken down by category and within line items so they can stay on budget.
Each month, set a goal for how much you need to spend to stay profitable. Then, add static expenses, such as rent or internet, that remain the same each month. Finally, you can estimate dynamic expenses such as payroll, utilities, and inventory based on the demand you expect that month. You can sync your credit cards and even your bank accounts to automatically record the expenses for easy management.
QuickBooks is another financial app for your business. Through QuickBooks, you can issue payroll to your team members, track your taxes, and handle your company's books. Companies of all sizes work with QuickBooks, which means you can use it to scale your small business when the time comes.
QuickBooks offers a certification process so you can become an expert in its tools and improve your financial acumen. Even if you don't have an accounting background, knowing your numbers can help you make strategic business decisions.
If you want to outsource your accounting, look for professionals who are QuickBooks-certified who can use your tools. Here are more payroll tools to look into for your small business.
Slack has become one of the most popular communication tools used by small businesses. It stands above other business apps because of its multiple channels and organized threads. For example, within your small business, you could have one communication channel where you just talk about marketing. All of your ideas about marketing will be in one place, and the only people who have access to the channel are marketing staff. Some companies have dozens of channels to keep the discussion focused on their business operations.
Test out this tool with a few employees, and then expand it to the rest of your staff. It can also improve communication if you work with remote employees or outside contractors who aren't in the office. If you need more
If you're looking to jot your notes down more often, so you don't forget small tasks or ideas, then play with Evernote. With this tool, you can share meeting notes with attendees, organize your thoughts under specific categories, and link media to your notes for extra information. You can use Evernote on your work computer, personal device, or smartphone, with information that syncs up in one place. This means if you jot down a note during a meeting on your tablet, you can pull it up later when you're back at your desk.
Evernote is a useful tool if you find yourself writing down notes on scraps of paper or in email drafts throughout the day but don't have a unified source for all your ideas. You can forget fewer ideas and have less chance of missing something important.
There are many apps for business that you can use to track your time, but RescueTime is one of the most highly recommended. With this tool, you can track what you work on throughout the day without having to record it. Automatic time tracking will show you how long you spend checking email each day, how much of your day you waste of social media, and which projects are going over the planned time frame.
With this clear data, you can set goals to waste less time and get more done. Small steps, such as only checking your email a few times per day or staying off Twitter, can add up and create real progress in your time management.
If you are operating a lead-based business, then consider investing in a content management tool to track each completed contact form or email that comes in. Streak can do just that. You can sort your leads and track which ones you have already followed up with or pitched to.
You can also track your lead completion and conversion rates to see how effective various promotions are.
This tool will be particularly valuable if you plan to hire sales staff for your business or want to improve your marketing efforts. You can see which marketing sources drive leads and which salespeople turn the most leads into customers.
Streak can also help your sales team work better together. You can save frequently used email templates and share them with others on your team. This way, you don't need to draft a new message for every lead.
Another competitor for Mint is Simple, an app that strives to make banking easy. This app has multiple features your business can use. For example, you can set spending goals to avoid going over budget and track when you're getting close to spending more than you would like. Simple as has a Safe-to-Spend feature that alerts people as to how much money they can spend comfortably based on their goals.
Simple is a great app for making sure your business stays profitable. You can set goals based on your profit margins and work to earn money each month — not just break even with the hope of future income.
If you plan to operate a product-based business or sell products at your service-based business (for example, a hair salon selling shampoo), then you might want to find an inventory management app. Tools like Sortly can tell you how much inventory you have and will adjust the numbers with each sale. This system is highly visual and offers a clean interface, turning an otherwise confusing process into an easy one.
Inventory management is also important if your employees check out resources for your company. For example, you can track your fleet of work vehicles and see which employees have them on specific times and dates. This prevents double-bookings from your staff.
Expensify is a more advanced budgeting app that you can use to understand a project's various costs. This tool offers unlimited receipt scanning, so your employees can scan their own expenses (such as travel costs and per diem) or expenses related to company events. Expensify also has corporate card reconciliation that aligns the expenses from the uploaded receipts with the card charges.
One of the main benefits of using this option is its next-day reimbursement. This way you won't owe your employees for their expenses and can automatically repay them as long as you approve the charges. If multiple people on your team are making charges on behalf of the company, consider using this tool.
Trello is a task management tool you can use within your teams. You can create different boards that focus on different tasks and assign those tasks to others. You can also create workflows within Trello to understand where each task is in the completion process. Trello allows you to upload documents and mark certain items as complete. For example, if you need to review marketing designs for the website, your web designer can upload a framework on Trello and assign the task to you to review it.
These tools help you manage business operations easier because you don't have to check in on your employees constantly. Instead of asking about a task and distracting both you and your employee, you can glance at Trello and know what needs to get done.
More Apps Your Business Can Use
There are other apps besides the ones on this list that you can use for your business operations. Each one falls into a certain category and has its own unique features. A few categories to consider (and apps that relate to them) include:
- Business Financial Heath tool like SmartBiz Advisor
- Budgeting apps such as Wally, Spendee, and Lasting Bond
- Communication apps like Addappt, Pushover, and Skype
- Project management apps such as Basecamp and Asana
- Social media apps like Hootsuite and Buffer
The right app organization can help you take back your time and make seemingly impossible tasks (like your finances) much easier. These are a few popular business applications, but there are dozens to choose from. Test a few of these apps to see which ones you want to use and which ones are right for other companies even if they don't work for yours.