Running a small business can be rewarding, but challenging.
The competition can be tough. Which is why you need to choose the right technology to help you work smarter not harder.
There are numerous online tools promising to increase your bottom line and productivity. But, finding exactly the right apps can be difficult. Which is exactly why we’ve done the hard work for you.
Here is a list of the five best business tools, to help boost your business’s productivity.
Basecamp is one of the top project collaboration software for businesses, with a proven track record going back a decade. It remains one of the most popular applications to manage teams and tasks.
You’re able to track client feedback, create to-do lists (ordered by priority), set up work reminders and assign co-workers tasks to complete, chat with colleagues and share documents.
The built-in message board has a central role in the app. It allows you to post announcements, proposals and ideas.
Overall, it’s a great team management and communication tool for small businesses
Price: Free to use for 30 days. Beyond that, subscriptions start at $99 per month.
Platforms: Android and iOS
Evernote is a multi-platform app that allows you to capture ideas by writing notes. In this case, ‘note’ refers to formatted text, a webpage clipped from the web, a voice memo, a photo, or a handwritten ‘ink’ note.
Easy search means you can search for text (even handwriting) in images. Premium and Business plans allow you to search for text in PDFs and Office docs.
You can keep a lot of information about your business and daily tasks using Evernote. It’s a great way to keep notes. You can brainstorm new business ideas or remind yourself of activities that can keep your business smoothly. How?
Whenever you’re travelling and have an idea, write it down using an Evernote note. Use it for taking notes at meetings, whether in an office or a local coffee shop. Your notes will be automatically synced between all devices, mobile, tablet or laptop.
Share notebooks with team members, so you can plan tasks, and track their progress
Use it to plan visits to a new city; people to meet, restaurants to check out, sites to see.
60 MB of new uploads/month; access notes on up to two devices, like a PC and phone.
Plus: $3.99 per month (or $34.99 per year)
1 GB of new uploads/month.
Premium: $7.99 per month (or $69.99 per year)
10 GB of new uploads/month.
Dropbox is a file sharing app. You can upload photos, videos, music, pdfs, etc. onto Dropbox using your smartphone or PC. All of this is done using the power of the cloud.
Ease of accessibility – instantly access your files whenever you need them. All of your files are automatically synced across multiple devices. You can even share a file with someone, even if they don’t have Dropbox.
Share files of any size, by just using a link – No more huge email attachments; using Dropbox Plus, you can share files with a simple link.
Easy collaboration – shared folders allow everyone access to new and updated files simultaneously. You and your team can collaborate on presentations, designs, or complete client work.
Dropbox works by creating a folder on a user’s computer. The contents of this folder are synchronized to any other devices (mobile or PC), the user has installed Dropbox on. So the same files are kept up-to-date on all devices.
Pricing – For individuals
2 GB of space. Reliable backups. Simple file sharing.
Pro: $9.99 per month;
All features of Dropbox Basic, plus: 1 TB (1,000 GB) of space. Extra sharing controls.
Pricing – For Teams
Business: $15 per user per month
As much storage as you need. File sharing. Unlimited file recovery. Priority support.
4. G Suite (formerly called Google Apps for Work)
G Suite is a Google’s own range of cloud-based, productivity and collaboration tools, and comprises of 4 categories spanning 11 products.
‘Communicate’ has Gmail, Calendar and Hangouts. In ‘Store’ there is Google Drive. In ‘Collaborate’ you’ll find Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides and Sites. In ‘Manage’ there’s Admin and Vault.
What does it do?
Google Apps one-ups Microsoft Office with its simple to use UI, best-in-class collaboration features and ability to access documents from any device. Built in the cloud, it’s designed for concurrent access, and constantly getting improvements.
Google Apps can be used for email hosting. It looks more professional and gives a better vibe when staff are sending emails from [email protected], rather than [email protected].
Docs, Sheets and Slides are Google’s equivalents of Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint, with the emphasis being on ease of use rather than advanced features.
Your work can be kept all in one place, with secure access from your computer, phone or tablet. Invite others to view or collaborate on any file. Sharing is done via a simple one-button click. Options to share documents include; public, anyone with the correct link, anyone within the organisation, or sharing with a specified group of people.
Overall, Google’s suite covers the basics very well. It’s lightweight, fast and works on a wide range of devices and easy to use.
If Google’s apps cover the features you’ll use every day, it’s a very compelling product. You can test risk-free, with 14 days to put it through its paces.
Pricing: Free for 14 days. Then, $5.66 for each user per month.
The Premium version costs $11.32 for each user per month. Google Apps for Education is free for educational establishments.
For small business owners, saving money is one of the top priorities. Some owners may choose to e-mail over calling their contacts, to save on their company phone bills. But, it’s still important to maintain crucial business processes like calling prospects, keeping in touch with suppliers and contacting clients. This could lead to an expensive phone bill, particularly if some of these people are abroad.
Skype has broken many of the barriers for business to business communication. If you’re looking for an online meeting tool or a cheaper way to stay in touch, you should definitely give Skype a try.
It’s main benefits include:
Easy to Use: Skype has a user-friendly interface, that anyone can quickly learn to use. A single button click can add new contacts, sending instant messages or place calls.
Call quality: It’s important to choose inexpensive call services while ensuring they are of high quality. As long as the caller has a good headset and a high-quality microphone, the calls to both Skype users or landlines are crystal clear.
Reliability: As long as you have a stable Internet connection, your call won’t get dropped. If for any reason, the Internet connection is bad, Skype also will inform users.
Location and device independent: Thanks to the availability of multiple Skype versions, you’re able to use it from anywhere in the world, using any device. Regardless of whether you’re on your office computer, laptop, or smartphone, you can make free or cheap phone calls using Skype. A huge benefit for small businesses who need to take important calls while you’re away from your desk.
Pricing: Free for just for calling or (one-to-one) video conferencing other Skype users.
If you prefer to call on a landline or cell phone, you can choose a pay-as-you-go plan. For frequent international calls, Skype could work out much cheaper than using your office phone.