Are you collapsing under the weight of your to-do list? Pedalling hard but not getting anywhere? Want to grow your business to the next level but not sure of the best way?
SMB owners all around all the world have the same types of problems – how to attract and manage clients, how to tackle marketing and social media and how to measure and sustain profitability. So it only makes sense that some of the world’s smartest entrepreneurs and visionaries stepped up to provide a range of excellent tools to help SMBs achieve their goals.
We’ve explored the best apps and tools currently on the market. They should make your life simpler, but more importantly streamline and optimise your current activities to help you achieve your specific business goals – because that’s what it’s all about, right? Here’s our list of the best, most useful apps and tools that are integral to your success and easy to install, learn and use.
Super-popular Evernote is like an easy-to-use, infinite filing cabinet that lives in the cloud – that you can access from all devices. You can store everything in there – PDFs, Word docs, receipts, images, graphics, the list goes on. It’s really easy to retrieve what you need using a basic keyword or tag search. It’s also great for writing notes or journaling on the go. All of those features are available in the free version, and the business version for $12 a month provides extra features like unlimited space and administrator control. Check it out here.
Basecamp is the most well known project management tool in the cloud. It can be accessed from any smartphone or device, linking workers and teams around the world. Collaborators can invite each other, chat within projects, create checklists, attach files and track progress, all within an intuitive and streamlined interface. Helpful workflow calendars keep everyone on track. Plans start at $20 per month for 10 projects and go up to $150 a month for unlimited projects – You pay per project instead of per user, users are unlimited. Check it out here.
Similar to Basecamp, Trello has a highly visual, card-based design that many people prefer. Combining project and task management in the one, simple interface, it’s a great way to manage content and teams at the same time. It’s fantastic for people who like to organise things visually – each project is condensed down to tasks that are represented by various cards you move around as different stages are completed. Team members can chat directly on each card, as well as create checklists, add files and assign members. Trello is free for personal use, but starts at $3.75 a month per user for businesses. Check it out here.
Another hugely popular project management tool, Asana is more text-heavy than Trello and is perfect for people who love checklists. It’s great for tracking every aspect of a project, from the tiny day-to-day details to long-term workflows. One of the best features is Asana’s ability to integrate with other popular services, including Evernote, Google Drive, Box, Slack, MailChimp, WordPress, and ZenDesk. What’s more, the basic version of Asana is free for up to 15 users – great for small businesses on a budget – with the premium version starting at $21 a month for five users. Check it out here.
Manage all of your social media activities in the one place. One of the best social media analytics tools out there, Sprout also lets you schedule all social media posts across networks. The interface is divided into clear sections – messages, tasks, feeds, publishing, discovery and reports. The discovery tab shows you all of the profiles that have interacted with you. You can easily view their profile and determine whether or not you want to interact with them further. This is great for easier networking and sales activities. The useful Cleanup feature lets you unfollow accounts that are inactive or that have not followed you back. They have a 30 day free trial – check it out here.
If you need to process point-of-sale purchases but don’t want to fork out on complex payment systems, it’s possible Square could do everything you require. You simply plug in a small card-reader to your smartphone or tablet and swipe credit cards and process payments just like any established retailer. Internet connection is not required, you can send receipts via email or text message, and the system even allows customers to leave a tip of 15%, 20%, or 25%. There is no monthly fee; instead, you’ll pay 2.75% of each transaction, or a bit more if you have to manually enter payment information instead of swiping. Check it out here.
Intuit QuickBooks Online
There’s a good chance you already use QuickBooks, or your accountant does. The online version has a lot going for it, including a familiar, easy-to-navigate interface and integration with a range of other popular services, including PayPal. You can view balances, send invoices and approve estimates on the go. The basic version is $9.99 per month and includes invoicing and bank integration. More expensive versions are $19.99 to $29.99 a month and include features like bill payment scheduling, purchase order management, and inventory tracking. Check it out here.
If you have a service-oriented business that doesn’t require a complex accounting solution, FreshBooks is easy-to-use and offers a lot of functionality on the go. You can track hours, log receipts, and send invoices from your smartphone or tablet. Freshbooks is intuitive and highly visual and integrates with a range of others including Basecamp, PayPal, Google Apps, and ZenPayroll. The base plan starts at $19.95 a month, and allows management of up to 25 clients. More fully featured versions allow unlimited clients for up to $39.95 a month. Check it out here.
The global leader in SEO services – Searchmetrics allows you to work on SEO marketing and analytics, SEO optimisation and social and content marketing, all in the same place. It’s a solid SEO platform that covers all of the basics including position and rank tracking, backlinks and keyword research. It can also give you a an SEO visibility score – a reliable and accurate indicator of the size of your online presence. The $69 monthly essentials plan should provide enough functionality and features for SMBs. Check it out here.
With low price points and intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces, this list of the best available apps and tools for SMBs can provide a multitude of benefits for your business. Some of them are also great for personal use (particularly Evernote), making your life easier, more organised and flexible all round!