When you run a business, you’re surrounded by a million different responsibilities, tasks and demands every day. And thousands of productivity apps promise to help you in your day-to-day operations. So, what are the really important and best apps?
If you don’t have time to check an endless list of apps, here are some recommendations, based on daily experience:
Evernote is a cross-platform app designed for note taking, organizing, and archiving. And it is perhaps the most well-known digital notebook app ever made. It’s the app for anyone who’s ever wondered “where did I put that?”.
You can add anything you want to Evernote, from any of your devices, and then rest assured that you’ll be able to find it again in seconds from anywhere. From text, documents and images, Evernote can help you access your information anytime.
Wunderlist is a simple and easy-to-use task management tool. You can create to-dos for tasks that fill your daily life and organize them into lists such as “Shopping”, “Work”, “Private” or anything else you would like. Use Wunderlist to capture your ideas, goals, wish lists, trip plans and daily tasks.
You can also share your lists with friends, family, colleagues and partners. Use Wunderlist as your collaboration tool to help each other get stuff done.
Todoist can remind you about upcoming tasks via email or mobile text message. With task reminders, you’ll never forget about an important meeting. It even supports collaboration, so you can share your tasks and projects with others. Share projects, delegate tasks, discuss things and get notified when important changes happen. Todoist makes collaboration easy and powerful from any device or platform.
Basecamp is a popular project management tool used by many companies, helping them to manage projects and collaborate with clients. Basecamp offers to-do lists, wiki-style web-based text documents, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, and a messaging system. The interface is streamlined and intuitive.
However, this ease does come at the cost of some flexibility: For instance, you can’t do advanced reporting or budgeting, and it’s hard to see everything in one glance.
A good alternative to Basecamp is this project management tool. Perhaps the most obvious and popular way to use Trello is as a projects and tasks manager, both for personal to-dos and team projects.
A Trello board is basically a web page containing lists laid out horizontally on the page so you can get a bird’s eye view of your project. Items within the lists, called cards, can be dragged and dropped onto other lists or reordered within lists.
Trello works very well for people who think very visually, and images and colored labels register with their brain better than plain text.
Dropbox is a home for all your photos, docs, videos, and files. Anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show up on all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website — so you can access your stuff from anywhere.
If you work in a collaborative space, the sharing of files may be crucial to working successfully and efficiently. Dropbox also makes it easy to share with others. You can send people links to specific files, photos, and folders in your Dropbox, too. This makes Dropbox perfect for team projects
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
Streak is a feature packed CRM and productivity tools for Gmail and Google Apps accounts. Instead of organizing customers by contact, it lets you keep track of where you are in your business relationship.
For instance, perhaps you’re just beginning a pitch, or maybe you’re finalizing a deal. You can view all emails associated with each client directly within Streak, and a newsfeed can keep everyone on your team updated on the status of everything in the app.
Hootsuite is one of many tools referred to as a “Social Media Management System” or tool. It helps you keep track and manage your many social network channels. It can enable you to monitor what people are saying about your brand and help you respond instantly. You can view streams from multiple networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and post updates or reply directly.
The most-critical component of any business is communication. You need to stay in touch with your clients, employees, and teammates. Insightly is easy-to-use online CRM software that helps businesses not only organize interactions with clients, but also keep track of projects, emails, notes, leads, milestones, and much more. With Insightly, you can easily manage all of your contacts, partners, vendors, suppliers and more, as well as easily stay on top of your upcoming projects and access all of this crucial information across all your devices.
MailChimp is a powerful tool for creating email newsletters or advertisements. You can integrate MailChimp with social media services and your applications to collect contacts for your lists of recipients. Emails sent by MailChimp on your behalf comply with anti-spam regulations, which is important to reduced the chance that your messages will be filtered into spam.
FreshBooks is a time tracking, invoicing and expense-tracking software for small businesses. Tools are highly visual and intuitive, and the service integrates with several others including Basecamp, PayPal, Google Apps, and ZenPayroll.
Despite the name, it’s not “true” accounting software. Freshbooks is all about invoicing, so if you are a large business that needs accrual based accounting you will need to use another system like Quickbooks.
QuickBooks Online is a powerful accounting and invoicing software for small and medium size businesses. It provides an exceptional invoicing/payment processing, reporting and mobile apps.
QuickBooks Online is a safe choice for small business owners who work with accountants.
Wave is a great choice for one or two person companies with simple finances and few employees. The accounting features are pretty basic with very little automation (i.e. auto-categorization and recurring invoices). There’s also only one payment processing option (Stripe) and few other integrations.