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10 of the best apps for small business
5th November, 2020 |
The life of a small business owner can get pretty hectic. From chief problem solver, to smooth communicator and financial brain, it’s all too easy to end up spreading yourself too thin. However, this can have a big impact on your productivity, organisation and can even lead to early burn out.
Just as with finding the perfect phone insurance, a great business app could be the answer to increased efficiency while also relieving some of the pressure.
With the app development market evolving so quickly, we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the seemingly endless wealth of available business apps. And if you don’t see one that fits your particular needs? Who knows, you might have discovered a lucrative gap in the market!
Best office software app - Microsoft 365
The ubiquitous and feature-packed office suite still ranks far above the competition as the best overall small business software money can buy.
This web app version runs off and saves everything in the cloud meaning it’s great for mobile login and use.
The package includes the three essential office software apps: Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. OneDrive is also available for online backups and is worth using even if you already use Google Drive or DropBox.
After all, the safety of small business data is vital to your success so there's no harm in saving multiple backups.
There are a couple of different editions you can buy. These include a personal edition just for yourself and a further package for up to six users to cover the staff in a small office.
There’s also a business premium package that comes with many additional corporate service and management options.
Best accounting software app - FreshBooks
Many small businesses will be working on a tight budget so keeping on top of your accounts is vital. With a user-friendly interface designed for non-accountants and plenty of features, FreshBooks is a justifiably popular cloud-based accounting service.
Features include the ability to create individually designed invoices to match your business, automatic billing, expense tracking, time tracking, a mileage tracker, customisable business reports (such as profit and loss statements) and even an option to accept credit card payments.
Behind the straightforward useability, there's some real depth to this product and you’ll be up and running in no time. Whether keeping track of your mobile phone insurance premiums or unpaid invoices, you’ll never fall behind on your accounts again!
As well as being able to access and use the system from your desktop or its free iOS and Android apps, the system also integrates with many other popular services, including PayPal, MailChimp, WordPress, Gusto and many more.
Why not try it out for 30 days and see what changes you notice? If you like the service, then there are several plans to choose from.
The Lite plan gives you plenty to be getting on with but only covers you for five clients. There are further features on the Plus plan, which will support up to 50 clients. Or if you’re a larger organisation, the Premium plan lifts the client limit to a whopping 500.
Best online payments app - PayPal
With its ease of use and lack of hidden costs, it’s easy to see why PayPal has become the go-to payment portal for many online businesses. And it’s not just for the major online shopping sites, small businesses can easily get in on the action with just a few clicks and an email address.
While there are no monthly fees, there are transaction fees payable depending on the volume of sales. As well as the usual shopping cart options it can also be used as a standalone service for taking individual payments from clients simply by adding a payment button into an email.
For businesses such as beauty salons and food trucks that need to get paid on the go, PayPal also lets users attach PayPal’s card reader to a tablet or other device for in-store payments.
For an additional premium mobile phone insurance through Gadget Cover can also cover the loss of gadgets such as tablets.
Best sales and marketing app - Hubspot
With a focus on sales and marketing and lots of features, Hubspot is a great all-round toolkit that’ll soon help improve conversions. With a range of tools for content management, customer relationship management (CRM), sales and marketing, and social media advertising, it’s a true market leader.
With Hubspot you can engage in split testing, host content and communicate both within your sales force and with customers. You can also track your impact using analytics. The app also integrates with other applications such as Microsoft Office and Salesforce.
You can try Hubspot for free before choosing from their variety of paid-for plans.
Best project management app - Asana
Staying on top of all your jobs and work tasks is essential if you want to get ahead in business. Asana is a well-respected project management tool offering a great range of features to improve communication and collaboration and boost productivity.
With an emphasis on tracking tasks and projects you can easily follow the progress of your project, create to-do lists and reminders, share notes, upload and communicate without having to rely on email. A great way to reduce the volume of email traffic, giving your team more time to work on the actual project.
Asana also integrates with other apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Slack. By tracking everything you and your team are working on you’ll soon find projects running smoothly and to schedule.
As your business expands, the bigger teams and number of projects might sometimes leave you worrying about who is working on what. Asana lets you bring up lists of teams and individuals so you can find and designate tasks easily.
Asana offers a free basic level of functionality for teams of up to 15 users. However, Premium and Business levels are available for a price but will provide unlimited usage with no team member limit, and greater functionality.
Best cloud storage app - IDrive cloud storage
In a crowded field IDrive cloud storage stands out as providing a fast and easy to use experience with great levels of security for your valuable business data.
It also provides continuous syncing of your files and the ability to quickly share files by email, Facebook and Twitter. And don’t worry about deleting something vitally important by accident, their servers archive copies to your cloud account just in case.
And if disaster should strike then the IDrive Express service can send you a physical hard drive containing all your data. Perfect for quickly restoring your important files and getting back up and running.
Disasters can come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s all too easy for there to be mishaps when out on business. Be sure to get the very best mobile phone insurance before you leave the office.
Best hiring app – Indeed Employer
Recruitment can be an expensive process and with small businesses often working on a limited budget, it can be difficult to find the best candidates.
Indeed Employer lets you advertise roles on Indeed’s huge jobs board, manage applicants, and track results on your phone.
The app is free but unsurprisingly there are usage limits you have to keep within. Sponsoring a job for a nominal fee gets rid of these limits.
Best video conferencing app – Skype
While there are so many video conferencing apps out there to choose from, Skype is still the number one in free video calling.
With a global reach, small businesses can have a video conference call with up to 25 users for free.
However, if you’re looking to host large meetings and want greater integration with other apps, Skype for Business is available for a monthly fee.
Best time management app - RescueTime
As a small business owner, time is perhaps your most valuable asset, so don’t waste it. By using a time management app like RescueTime, you can organise your schedule and stay focused.
The app automatically tracks time you’ve spent on apps and websites to give you an accurate daily picture of how you’re spending your time.
You can even set alerts to warn you if you’re spending too much time social networking or reading the news, and block distracting websites.
Best business phone system app – RingCentral
Offering a wealth of features, RingCentral is a popular business phone service for small business users.
From standard features including unlimited calling, call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting and transfer, it also offers video meetings and integration with other business app services.
There are several plans that come with different pricing and features.
Other small business app favourites
With so many apps on the market for business users, here are just some of the most popular and effective:
- No one looks forward to filing business trip expenses but Expensify at least makes keeping track of them less painful. Linking your business credit or debit card to your Expensify account enables the app to immediately create an expense report. Alternatively, you can take a snapshot of your receipts and the app will simply extract the important information for you to quickly make your own expense report instead.
- Boasting many millions of individual users and businesses, Dropbox is yet another popular place to store and share large files in the cloud.
- For many small businesses that want to personalise their messaging, MailChimp provides an invaluable service. The app helps you build and manage your customer mailing list and lets you easily create and send newsletters. Performance reports analysing your emails will also help you send your customers more relevant communications. The perfect way to avoid the Spam folder!
- Keeping your notes of business meetings, to-do lists and personal reminders organised can be a marathon task for the busy small business owner. Using the Evernote app could therefore be the revelation you’ve been searching for.
- A plucky rival to the behemoth that is Paypal, Square is a point of sale payment system app that’s a good fit for many small businesses. Users get a small, convenient card reader that easily attaches to a phone or other gadget to take on-the-go payments.
- The Slack instant messaging app is a great way for team members to communicate and lets them easily drag, drop and share images, PDFs and other files. There’s no limit to how many users you can add. The app automatically indexes and archives any message, notification or file.
- Employee pay, tax and other benefits processes could be more efficient with the Gusto
- Insightly is yet another powerful project management and CRM tool that also lets you import your contacts straight over from your mobile. Keeping your project’s status and operation on schedule has never been easier.
- Content-rich social media accounts can be a mainstay for keeping many small businesses in the public eye. Social media management app Hootsuite lets you schedule, share and measure the impact of your latest posts across social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn and more. By automating much of your social media output, you’ll have more time to engage with potential customers and grow your business.
Mobile phone insurance with Gadget Cover
Successful business people are never far from their phones and are always alive to a new opportunity. However, having your phone with you so much means your device – and the vital business data it contains – can be at risk.
Award-winning mobile phone insurance policies arranged by Gadget Cover include protection for things like accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage. For an additional premium, policies can also cover your phone and gadgets against loss.
With over 25 years of experience, the specialist team at Gadget Cover will work to find you the perfect cover, whatever your business and individual needs.
If business opportunities take you abroad then worldwide cover up to 180 days in any one year is available. Cover can also be extended to your immediate family.
Get a quick quote for mobile phone cover from Gadget Cover today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.