As a small business owner, I’m sure you’ll agree with this: There’s just too damned much to do in a day!
Thankfully, there are thousands of awesome people out there spending all their days dreaming up ways to make your life easier.
Thanks to their brilliance there are masses of apps and tools to help you control and maintain many – if not all! – aspects of your business with the tap of the screen on your smartphone, tablet, or PC/Mac.
Get your hands on the right tools, and you’ll be able to do your accounting, manage your inventory, process and fulfil orders, send and receive payments and manage your HR function and payroll, all while sipping coffee at your own kitchen table.
Of course, finding the apps that will make running your business so much easier takes time.
In fact, you’re probably thinking:
“I simply don’t have time to look for tools that are supposed to save me time!”
How do you find the right tools, without spending precious time you don’t have scouring the web, downloading, installing and trialling a bunch of tools that promise (but will they deliver?!) to transform your business?
I get how precious your time is – after all, that’s why you need these tools in the first place – so that’s why I’ve done the hard work for you and compiled this handy list of tools for small business owners.
In this article you’ll learn about the top ten tools and apps you need to make running your small business a breeze.
Do your accounting on the go with Quickbooks
Quickbooks is a one-stop-shop accounting app you can install onto any web-based device, directly from your web browser, and access at any time.
Within this single, versatile app you can create invoices, track your cash flow, track sales, create and manage budgets, and manage your customers and suppliers. And that’s just the start!
If you have an accountant, you can also give them easy online access to your financial records.
The Quickbooks app is free to download on iOS or Android, but you’ll need a monthly subscription plan to use the service. It comes in three different price points, ‘Simple Start’, ‘Essentials’ and ‘Plus’.
Each plan offers different services, so you can pick the level to suit your needs – if you’re not sure which services you need, simply start with a basic plan and work your way up.
Like many other apps out there, Quickbooks offers a free 30-day trial so you can check out its awesomeness for yourself.
Get organised with Asana
With Asana at your fingertips you can create individual projects, set timelines, assign jobs and deadlines to team members, create progress reports and communicate as a team about the projects, all in one highly accessible spot.
Like Quickbooks, Asana works on a subscription basis with three different service tiers – the confusingly named entry-level ‘Premium’, the more complex ‘Business’ package, and a bespoke ‘Enterprise’ level service that can be custom branded just for your business.
With Asana you can opt for a monthly or annual bill, and with the Premium and Business tiers you can get a free trial before committing to the service.
Enterprise is a price-on-application option "for organisations that need additional security, control, and support.”
Revolutionise your payment collections with Square
Square is an app I think is far too often overlooked.
It’s simple and elegant, giving you the power to collect payments wherever you are, so if you don’t run your business from a brick and mortar shop – or if you often take your business on the road – this app can be a fantastic asset.
Square accepts tap-and go cards, mobile wallets, and chip cards. There are a few different chip reader options to choose from:
Square Reader for chips cards: This is a small unit that plugs directly into your Apple or Android device and allows you to accept all major credit and debit cards and you’ll receive your payments as early as the next business day.
This unit is $19. Find out more
Tap-and-go Credit Card Reader: This unit allows you to accept chip cards, contactless cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Your customers can simply hold their smartphones or cards near the unit to process a payment.
This unit is $59. Find out more
iPad POS Stand: This is a deluxe unit that turns your iPad into a complete POS station. It comes complete with a swivel stand, square reader and dock.
This unit is $299. Find out more
Check out their website for up-to-date info on fees, where to snag yourself a Square, and the answer to any burning questions you may have.
Make legal stuff simple with HelloSign
HelloSign is a sophisticated e-signatory app that lets you automate document flows and execute legally- binding business contracts online.
You can create and edit your contracts from right within the app, then sign electronically with the press of a button and have your entire transaction done within minutes.
HelloSign now offers a huge range of products and prices, so get over there and check out their website to discover all theways HelloSign could help you do business.
If you’re worried about security, HelloSign has it covered. In fact, they promise to provide “BANK LEVEL SECURITY” using use SSL encryption during file transit and document hosting via a “state-of-the-art Tier III, SSAE-16 certified data centre with ISO 27001 certification.”
Make document storage and sharing a breeze with Google Drive
The Drive app allows you to store and share files in the cloud and access them at any time from your computer, smartphone, or tablet. You can use Drive to easily share documents with your teams, suppliers, customers or clients, as you can set permissions for other people to view, edit or comment on your documents on or offline.
The first 15GB of storage is free, but if you need more, you’ll have to upgrade to the a monthly Google One subscription.
Google Drive promises to be completely safe and reliable, with all data centres “SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II SOC 2-audited and having achieved ISO 27001 certification.”
Check out the Google Drive website for all the details about the features, safety and security, and pricing.
Manage your workforce on the go with Employment Hero
Employment Hero is an employee management program specifically designed for Australian small businesses.
It allows you to combine and manage your payroll, HR function and employee benefit services all in one powerful app.
With Employment Hero you can take your HR function paperless, and even use digital signatures to execute binding contracts.
Like many of the other apps in this list, pricing for this service is based on a tier system.
You can integrate Employment Hero with lots of other apps to keep all of your information synchronised and easily accessible – and for $4 per employee per month, you can add an advanced payroll and workforce planning system.
There are also a bunch of other extras you can add (for an additional fee), including:
- Time tracking and attendance records
- An HR Advisory Line (giving you access to trained HR consultants via phone or email)
- An ‘Ultimate Advisory Pack’, which gives you access to full HR and payroll support
- A confidential Employee Assistance Program, which will provide help to your employees if they need counselling for personal or work-related issues
Close more deals the easy way with Zoho
Zoho Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an all-in-one customer management suite that lets you handle and manage everything ‘customer’ in one place.
Zoho makes it easy to reach and engage prospects across multiple channels at exactly at the moment they are motivated to buy, so you can capture and convert customers and ultimately close more deals. (What business owner wouldn’t want that?)
Zoho offers a bunch of great features including artificial Intelligence, analytics, pipeline management, customisation, sales automation, process management, team collaboration, security, and developer tools.
The pricing tiers are ‘Free’, ‘Standard’, ‘Professional’, ‘Enterprise’, and ‘Ultimate’.
You’ll find that the free service is sufficient if you only need a basic CRM, but you can always upgrade to a more complex service as your business and needs evolve.
Design like a pro with PicMonkey
If you handle your own marketing and website design, online photo editing tool PicMonkey is a real gem.
It makes it super easy to create professional-looking designs for your business – and best of all, you don’t have to be a pro at photo editing to use it.
You can use PicMonkey for everything from creating infographics, to crafting social media posts, to designing your own business cards.
As well as the tools to create “high end looks that change your photo game”, PicMonkey boasts a dizzying array of:
- Graphics and icons (3000+)
- Fonts (200+)
- Templates (2400+)
- Filters and photo effects (60+)
- Decorative textures and frames
You can give PicMonkey a whirl with a free trial, or sign up right away for a ‘Basic’ or ‘Pro’ plan.
Ship and track orders on the go with ShipStation
ShipStation is a cloud- based shipping software suite you can access from any iOS or Android device while you’re on the go.
If your business handles online orders, this is a first-class tool that will help you customise and automate your order fulfilment processes.
With ShipStation at your fingertips it couldn’t be easier to take care of all your shipping administration, including:
- Processing orders
- Creating and printing address labels
- Choosing the fastest shipping option
- Choosing the best carrier
- Tracking your shipments
- Placing holds on orders
- Auto-signing documents
- Handling customs documents
There are six different price points based around the number of users you have and the volume of shipments you need to handle each month. Check out the features and see how ShipStation can free you up to focus on growing your business.
Shopventory is an advanced inventory system you can use to manage your stock levels and monitor sales trends.
You and I both know that information is power – and Shopventory is pure power in your pocket.
See at a glance which product lines are making and losing you money to avoid restocking slow- selling items. Track and compare sales across multiple locations, monitor theft and spot theft trends. If you deal in food items, you can even keep track of the cost of individual ingredients.
Shopventory is available on iOS and Android and it integrates seamlessly with a range of different payment platforms, including PayPal, Square and Clover.
There are five different price points and you can opt for annual or monthly billing.
And, of course, you can test the waters with a free 30-day trial.
Every one of the apps on this list has been hand-picked by me to make managing your business quicker and easier.
Save time, save hassle, or just save your sanity with tools to help you manage your people, your projects, your stock and your shipping – not to mention the most crucial thing of all, your customers.
Streamline your service and delight those customers with your speed, efficiency and responsiveness – all at a tap of your mobile device. Put your admin on autopilot, free up your time and focus your attention where it really counts – on kicking your business into the stratosphere.
We all have a pet app we love beyond all others – the one that has transformed our business and even our lives. What’s yours? Tell us what tools you would add to this list!