24 Apps to Help Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs in 2017
Nowadays, it seems easier to do anything, anywhere and anytime. Whether you want to share documents and pictures, manage emails; update your social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter accounts, there are chances this can be done more efficiently. This is largely due to technology — specially, on your Smartphone or tablet.
A recent survey listed over 350 small-business owners worldwide and the tools they use for email marketing campaigns, cloud storage, social media optimization and marketing, increased productivity, and more. The survey also mentioned that up to 80% of SME owners have adopted to multiple changes in order to become more online and technology-based marketplace. That tells you just how persistent technology has become in our personal and professional lives as everything is cloud based.
Organization and Productivity apps
Google’s free productivity suite, Google Drive, is packed with tools to help people work together using little more than a browser. Make sure that you’re taking advantage of all it has to offer with these tips.
Evernote joins a long and often lucrative tradition of tools and systems for those who dream of a more efficient, productive, successful life — not just the turn-of-the-century vogue for personal digital assistants. The more time you spend with Evernote, the more you can imagine spending ever more time with Evernote: mastering the spin-off apps, scanning all manner of documents, devoting yourself (as one fan put it) to “feeding” the software.
Everyone seems to have different ideas about how best to book travel online. Some even still swear by airline websites. That so many methods exist means there are a lot of choices, but also a lot of chaos. TripIt has figured out that you will run into more of the latter than the former as a businessperson who travels frequently and works closely with other frequent travelers. Instead of being just another booking tool, the free TripIt app looks to make sense of the chaos by being like a travel organizer. It collects your confirmation e-mails from booking sites to create electronic master itineraries that can be viewed on any device and shared with CD-workers.
A round for over a decade, Trello offers an easy to use system which utilizes “cards” to manage each project. These cards give the opportunity to visualize all aspects of a project, including checklists, comments, attachments, and more. Even with the free version, there are unlimited boards, lists, cards, members, checklists, and attachments. Even more impressive is the integrations Trello has with storage sites like Box, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Finally, if you still need persuading to at least give Trello a look: Pixar, Kickstarter, and Google all use the tool.
Keeping track of expenses (and holding on to receipts) while traveling is never pain-free, but Expensify makes it slightly less taxing. The free app lets you log mileage, file expense reports, and upload a limited number of receipts using your phone’s camera (a smart scanning system automatically extracts information like the date and the amount charged). Available on iPhone/iPad, Android, WebOS, and BlackBerry devices.
Asana has emerged as one of the leaders in project management software, helping teams within business track progress on group efforts. With 140,000 businesses using its software (13,000 of them paid) and 10,000 joining each month, Asana has moved into bigger businesses and staked out significant turf against competition such as Wrike, Basecamp and Smartsheet. Its customers include Airbnb, Dropbox, Pinterest and Uber, but also companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Time Inc., Santander and the city of Providence, Rhode Island.
Cloud storage tools
Dropbox, which provides Web-based storage used by 275 million people to keep their documents, photos, and videos, is one of the most celebrated startups in Silicon Valley. Investors have poured more than $600 million into the seven-year-old company. An initial public offering beckons and will almost certainly mean billions for Houston and millions for many of his 650 employees.
Google Drive is an outstanding file syncing app that gives you on-the-go access to all your most important documents, images, and videos. A generous allotment of storage space means you’ll always have your most important files close at hand. Google also sweetens the deal by letting you store files locally on your Android device for offline access. But when you download the apps for Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Photos, Google Drive becomes the center of a powerful mobile productivity suite.
iCloud Drive is Apple’s response to services like Dropbox and Google Drive. It’s a big addition to iOS, OS X, and the Web-based iCloud interface. Mail Drop, on the other hand, automatically uploads large email attachments to a user’s iCloud account and emails a link to them.
Customer-relations management tools
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can now also be fully integrated within an intelligent business system, displaying immediate information on quotations and their status, past and present orders and invoices – with all customer correspondence including contracts, price lists, etc, at your fingertips. CRM also lets you categorize sales leads, prepare and send email sales campaigns and newsletters, assign tasks and more. You can process enquiries and orders far quicker by being able to search on part of a stock or customer code or description, have automatic credit checks, customize input screens, import quotes and past orders to create new ones, automate customer special pricing, automate release of back orders, print lines by bin location and print invoices in run sequence for faster packing and delivery.
All these things not only deliver a wow factor, they also improve your sales conversions and reduce processing costs. Customers today want to deal with an efficient business!
Some of these tools include but are not limited to:
Email marketing / marketing automation tools
Imagine being able to send personalized emails that have the feel and appearance of your website or even one of your brochures, but are a lot more intelligent. Any good email marketing software package will allow you to access an array of features such as tracking on open rates, click-throughs, bounce-backs, refer a friend, uploading photos and survey/response forms.
The secret of a great email marketing campaign is to be well mannered. Always offer your customer the opportunity to unsubscribe or allow them to make other choices about what you send them.
If you don’t have their email addresses already, then you will need to ask for them. In my experience, telemarketing with an incentive – say an invitation to an event or entry into a prize draw – is probably the best way to obtain this permission.
Some of the best Email Marketing tools include but are not limited to:
Social media and content tools
There are a number of different measurement tools to track the company’s extensive social media presence, which features Face-book, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, a YouTube channel and a Ning community. But like other b-to-b marketers grappling with how to monetize social media marketing, more and more social media integrations are seen in the market. Some of the best tools include:
Ian Naylor is the founder and CEO of AppInstitute, one of the world’s leading DIY App Builders (over 70,000 apps built).
Naylor has founded, grown and sold 4 successful internet and technology companies during the past 18 years around the world. He gives seminars as an expert authority on startup mobile app trends, development, and online marketing and has spoken at numerous industry events including The Great British Business Show, Venturefest, the National Achievers Congress and numerous industry exhibitions around the UK.
AppInstitute regularly provides leading publications with app analytics, business data, case studies, white papers and statistics for established publishers across the world. They were named in the top 50 creative companies in England by Creative England.