Back in the old days, when you started a new business, you open a tiny shop on Main Street or in your garage. Now you’re more likely to open a business on your phone while watching soccer practice or while sitting on a beach in Thailand. In today’s mobile world, small business owners are on the go and interacting with people all over the world without a second thought.
Lucky for you, there are plenty of enterprising people eager to create apps that make your job easier. Small businesses do business by helping small businesses do business – that’s quite a circle. These apps are designed to help small business owners and employees in every aspect of the job no matter where they are.
Let’s take a look at a few apps that will make your work life easier.
How long does $40 last in your wallet? Cash frequently sits in my wallet for months. Like many people, I pay for everything with a credit card. Why wouldn’t I when I earn points for every dollar spent?
If you’re selling to customers outside of a typical retail store, Square Register is an essential app. You can swipe a credit card and have customers sign right on your phone. They’ll get an email receipt. Moreover, it’s a great way for you to keep a consistent track of your inventory. You can even keep track of customer trends, peak sales time, and more using Square Analytics.
Project Collaboration and Management: Slack, Basecamp, and More
It’s fairly easy to keep track of everything when you’re a one person company. Things get more complicated when your business employs multiple people. It’s hard to do a stellar job on a team project if everyone doesn’t know what’s going on. That’s where apps designed to make project collaboration and management easier come in handy.
There are multiple popular project management apps, especially Slack, Basecamp, Trello, and Asana. Each have different features that may fit your company’s needs better than others. Generally, the apps make it easier for teams to collaborate. They include features such as to-do lists, team discussions (instant messages or general posts), file sharing, and backups to Google Drive and Dropbox.
It’s funny how quickly expenses can add up when you’re traveling or even staying in town. Maybe you and your employees take a trip to Japan on behalf of a client, eat lots of sushi, and stay at cool hotels (lucky you!). Or perhaps your employee walks to the printing shop down the street to make copies every day and then does the office Starbucks run. Either way, expenses add up quickly.
Expensify is an app that lets you and your employees track expenses. You can take a picture of your receipt and then app will automatically include it in your expenses. You can keep track of the time you spend on an assignment. If you sync your credit card with the app, whatever you spend on the card will be imported into your expenses. You can even use the GPS tracker on your phone to record miles driven. Alternatively, you can enter the distance manually or take a picture of the odometer. It’s also easy to integrate the app with popular accounting software like Quickbooks or Xero to keep track of your company’s entire accounting needs. It’s a versatile app that makes the tedious task of expense reports loads easier.
Basically everyone uses e-mail these days. Even my 90 year old great aunt uses her iPad to check her email (when she isn’t busy playing Words With Friends). Whether you have a physical shop or your business is entirely online, you almost certainly use email to communicate.
MailChimp helps you manage your customer email list. You can add new subscribers, monitor current subscribers by location or demographics, and more. It helps you create email campaigns using the app’s pre-built templates. Plus, you can send out the campaigns via your phone. Once you’ve got the email marketing campaign going, you can get statistics on how frequently the emails are opened and whether they turn into sales.
With bands, usually you start as a group and then the best looking member (who may or may not be the most talented) jumps ship to go “solo.” With small businesses, it’s usually the opposite. You begin as a solo act and as your sales grow, you hire more people.
Proven is an app the helps you find new employees. You can post a job listing on over 25 hiring websites with a tap of the phone. It also helps you manage your job listings, whether that’s creating one, editing a current listing, or re-posting an old listing. Also, once those applicants start rolling in, Proven helps you manage the deluge of candidates. You can sort and filter resumes, add notes, and keep track of who’s already been contacted.
People sometimes feel nostalgic for the old days. Back when you had a cute little shop on Main Street, and you spent your lunch break at the soda shop three doors down. But I think today is better. Your business isn’t limited to the people who drive by your shop between 9 and 5. Your customers can be global and you can work anytime and anywhere. That’s why having a good set of mobile apps is so important to function as a modern small business. It makes your life easier and helps turn your small business into a big business.