Every busy business owner wants to work smarter—not harder—and carve out some extra time in their day. Thankfully, there are apps that can help.
Here's a look at some of the best admin-busting, productivity-boosting apps out there. All of them are available for iOS and Android, and some offer free versions for small businesses.
Remote working is a great way to become a more efficient business, saving on overhead while attracting the best regional, national and even global talent. But it only works if your team members can still communicate effectively from wherever they are. Describing itself as a "communication and collaboration tool," Slack is essentially a messaging app which allows teams to work together remotely. The idea is that it removes the confusion that happens when lots of emails and documents are flying around, leading to things getting lost or missed. Slack integrates with other services you may already use, like Dropbox, Google Drive and Zendesk. Conversations are all archived and messages and files are searchable, and you can control notifications.
Payroll is perhaps one of the most disliked administrative tasks for businesses that don't outsource the job to an accountant. One in five U.S. small-business owners spend more than six hours each month handling payroll, according to The 2018 Small Business Taxation Survey, a survey of 953 small-business owners conducted by the National Small Business Association.
TSheets aims to streamline the process with a time-tracking app for companies with employees paid by the hour. [Disclosure: TSheets co-founder Matt Rissell has previously contributed to American Express.] Employees can track time worked on any device, clock in and out, fill in timesheets or send invoices—and managers can approve employee time from anywhere, edit and share schedules, set pay rates or automate overtime rules for easy, accurate payroll. GPS tracking for workers out in the field makes employees accountable, while reporting allows you to predict and plan your staffing needs and costs to boost profitability.
With Buffer, even time-strapped businesses can strengthen their brands with a great social media content calendar. Just let this tool do the work for you using the power of automation. Buffer lets you schedule posts in advance for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn from one dashboard. Calendar view shows you every post you've got coming up so you can visualize and plan all your social media content, and customize it for different audiences. Buffer also has useful analytics tools to help you assess the impact of your marketing campaigns and whether you're hitting your target demographic.
Late payment is a scourge affecting many small businesses—reducing cash flow, hindering growth and wasting time chasing outstanding invoices and dealing with short-term cash problems. Cloud-based invoice and accounting system FreshBooks saves you time by making it easier to manage and track invoices, expenses and hours worked, and automatically bill clients. There's even the option to send automatic payment reminders and add late fees.
Every busy business owner wants to work smarter—not harder—and carve out some extra time in their day.
You can also get paid more quickly as FreshBooks lets you accept credit-card payments and bank transfers online rather than waiting for checks to arrive. You can send estimates for jobs to potential clients, and monitor how your business is doing with tailored reports such as profit-and-loss statements. Because your data is stored in the cloud, you can access it from anywhere, on any device. You can pay for extra features you may want, such as the ability to integrate with other accounting systems like QuickBooks and Xero.
Trello is a project-management tool that lets you break big projects into smaller chunks, organize and prioritize tasks, set deadlines and manage your team's workflow. Based on the idea of a sticky note stuck to a wall, it gives all users a collective view of a project so they can see its status at a glance. The tool is a completely customisable blank slate, so you can tailor it to the way you work. You can also now integrate Trello with Slack so, for example, you could brainstorm ideas with your team in Slack and then turn them into actionable projects in Trello.
Time-tracking app Toggl lets you record what you are working on and how long you are spending on it, so you can see exactly how you are spending your time in the working day. This could help you see where your precious time is being squandered, and where you might need to outsource or delegate those time-sucking tasks. Perfect for busy executives and self-employed business owners who bill by the hour or day. Toggl syncs across all your devices and gives you detailed reports showing you where your time is really going, so you can reclaim it to become more productive and build a more profitable business.
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