Running a small business comes with a unique set of challenges. As the business owner, you need to constantly check on each aspect of the business and remain on top of your daily operations. The latest mobile applications offer small business owners a way to maximize efficiency.
Apps are a great alternative to outsourcing your administrative tasks, in fact. They allow you to organize your business calendar or check on payroll details even when you’re away from your office. Having the right mobile apps enables you to work on the go and turn your smartphone or tablet into an on-the-go office.
Scheduling, task management, note taking, file keeping, messaging — all of these fall under general administrative or tasks. These tasks are part of the foundation of your business. You will need an organized calendar and keep a record of all communication with your clients or suppliers, among others, to ensure smooth business operations, after all.
For the optimal organization of all your work tasks, Asana is the answer. The app is available on both mobile and desktop. Asana allows you to view all tasks, projects, and notes in one place. Moreover, you can connect it with cloud-storage apps like Dropbox and Google Drive for greater ease in file management. It also connects to the messaging app Slack for more convenience in communicating and collaborating with your team or clients.
Another great alternative is Tempo, which is available for both iOS and Android. While Asana is focused on task organization, Tempo is mainly a calendar app. You can sync multiple calendars using the app and receive daily emails of your agenda. Tempo can also go through your emails to find relevant correspondence about upcoming events, such as flight schedules and details, and then add it to your calendar. Other perks include the app’s ability to make conference calls and connect with your social media accounts.
Mobile apps have changed the game for many small retail businesses, but perhaps none more so than credit card processing apps. More entrepreneurs have been able to start their retail business without buying an expensive and complicated point-of-sale (POS) system. You can use a single POS app, its free credit card reader, and a tablet or smartphone for simplified payment processes. The latest POS apps also have the advantage of being cloud-based for automatic backup of your business’ information.
Square Point of Sale offers a large suite of features for retailers, including free online store and shopping cart solutions through Weebly, inventory tracking, invoice creation and sending, and more. The app comes with a host of add-on services, such as email marketing and a loyalty program, for minimal additional costs. Moreover, the app doesn’t charge any monthly fees; instead, Square gets 2.75% of each swiped, dipped, or tapped transaction.
Quick-serve small businesses like cafés or food trucks match well with the ShopKeep app. It offers inventory tracking, profitability reporting, as well as the splitting and merging of order tickets. The app also offers bulk uploads of products using a CSV spreadsheet and comes with Bluetooth barcode scanners for retail-based businesses. Perhaps one downside to ShopKeep is its limited availability for iOS devices. The app is only supported on iPads but allows for limited access on iPhones through ShopKeep Pocket.
Finance and Payroll
Keeping track of your profits, organizing your business’ books, and ensuring your employees are paid correctly and on time are just a few of the financial tasks you take on as a small business owner. All these and more can eat up a lot of your time. Mobile apps not only help streamline your financial tasks but also reduce your margin of error through automation.
Xero is a paid subscription service that simplifies your small business’ daily accounting tasks, including employee payroll, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. The app is available on both mobile and desktop and features cloud storage and data sharing to ensure backups of your sensitive financial information. Xero offers discounts for nonprofit firms, as well.
Intuit QuickBooks is perhaps one of the most used accounting and bookkeeping applications among small business owners. You can use the app to track sales, check your financial statements, organize payroll, and more. QuickBooks also connects to nearly all your accounts, such as credit cards and PayPal. The app’s receipt tracking helps simplify doing your taxes, as well.
Shipping and Delivery
Your ability to offer instant gratification, whether you’re an online apparel retailer or a small bakeshop, raises your company’s status in the eyes of your customers. Crowdsourced deliveries are a growing trend and excellent alternatives to traditional fulfillment companies. While most of the crowdsourced delivery players are focused on delivering groceries and other food items, such as UberEats and GrubHub, there are others that deliver anything you may want to ship.
One such service is Roadie, which offers same-day deliveries and is available both on mobile and desktop. The app works like ridesharing apps where you post your delivery task, have a local driver confirm, and wait for them to pick up your delivery. Roadie also has partnership options for small businesses and larger enterprises.
If you’re looking for ways to boost productivity and streamline the operations of your small business, the solution may be a good business app or two.