Woo-hoo! You’ve validated your business idea and now it’s time for the small business building. As an advocate for business owners and their dreams, we’re excited for you to reach your next milestone. However, to hit the ground running with your new business, we recommend preparing yourself with the right tools and resources to keep things moving forward.
Knowing that you’re focused and starved of free time, we’re pitching in with research to save you time—now and down the road. We’ve gathered 16 apps covering four categories to help your business run smart and efficient. Here’s to launching your business!
1. Trello: Turn your to-do list upside down with Trello. With this free app, you and your team can access shared boards where you can assign, track, discuss, and color-code your tasks to completion. While it looks simple from the surface, Trello is designed to handle complicated projects and is good for entrepreneurial individuals and start-up teams alike.
2. IFTTT: More and more, we’re finding that a productive business is an automated one. IFTTT (short for “if this then that”) allows you to sync the apps you’re already using by creating triggered recipes. For example: “If I post a picture on Instagram, then save the photo to Dropbox.” The IFTTT mobile app is available for both iOS and Android and runs in the background to help you automate your life.
3. Asana: Designed for teams, Asana is a more robust project management software. Founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, it was created to help Facebook employees be more productive and track their work. With clients like Uber, The New Yorker and Salesforce, there’s reason to believe Asana is built to last as teams pivot and work through the hurdles of running and growing a business.
4. Calendly: Are you tired of endlessly ping-ponging emails before nailing down a meeting time on your calendar? Calendly integrates with your calendar and allows your email contacts to sign up for meetings (at times you’ve already blocked out) without all the back and forth.
5. Slack: For a fun and efficient way to communicate with your team members, try Slack. Instead of sending hundreds of emails every day, Slack allows you to house all your communication in one platform. Share docs, calendar invites, and create channels for different functions to streamline communication and cut out some of the busy-ness in your day.
6. Skype: We love how many different ways you can use Skype, from chatting with team members to calling clients and contractors who are located all over the world. Another great feature is that you can use Skype on both your desktop and mobile phone, perfect for those of us who are often on the road.
7. Uber Conference: If you’re working with clients who don’t have a Skype account or would rather dial in from their mobile phones, use Uber Conference to schedule free conference calls with your team. It’s easy to use and works from both your smartphone or desktop.
8. Google Drive: If you and your teammates need access to a lot of the same documents and frequently collaborate on projects, Google Drive is the perfect tool for you. You can create and organize folders, allow viewing and editing access to people you share your work with, and can collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with comments and edits.
9. Viewpost: You knew this was coming, right? Viewpost is the perfect tool for new and growing businesses. It allows you greater visibility into the invoicing and payment process so you can see when your clients and customers have viewed invoices and when payments are expected to arrive in your bank account.
10. QuickBooks: One of the most popular accounting software tools, QuickBooks is an easy, efficient way to track your income and expenses. Plus, when it comes time to do your tax returns, you’ll be able to hand over your information to a CPA in one, neat package.
11. Microsoft Dynamics GP: If you’re starting a retail or ecommerce business, Microsoft Dynamics GP might be the right accounting tool for you. In addition to keeping track of your income and expenses, this app will help you manage your operations, inventory and supply chain.
12. Mint: Upgrade your spreadsheet budget to Mint, a website that allows you to track your finances and customize budgets that work for you. Sync all your bank accounts, credit cards, assets, and loans to your profile, and Mint tracks your spending based on the criteria and goals you specify. It’s a good app to help you stay accountable for your finances, and it also keeps you informed by sending you email and text alerts as often as you’d like.
Other Web Must-Haves
13. Google Analytics: Measure your web traffic and start gathering important data about your audience with Google Analytics. It’s easy to use and can be as simple or as sophisticated as you need it to be. As your business grows and you get more comfortable crunching numbers, you can start to build out more sophisticated segments and channels within the Google Analytics platform.
14. Hootsuite: Automate your social media marketing with Hootsuite by scheduling posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram from a single dashboard. You can sync multiple accounts and allow multiple users to use the same interface for collaboration.
15. BuzzSumo: If you’re working on a content strategy for your new business, you’ll want to sign up for BuzzSumo, which allows you to track the top-performing content in any topic all over the web. The free version is a great way to get ideas for blog post titles that might do well on different social networks, and as you upgrade you get access to more features like content alerts, competitor research, and influencer outreach.
16. Bit.ly: Manage and track the links you use in social media, search engine marketing, and email with bit.ly. The app shortens links and also provides you with a platform to track click rates and traffic over time to determine what topics most engage your audience.
So, here you have it—over a dozen apps to help your new business take off. What did we miss? What other apps and tools do you frequently use to help you work better? Share this post and your response with our social links below.