There’s always more for a small business owner to do and only so many hours in the day. You want to be more efficient but how?
A wide range of apps on the market promise to help you be more productive and better organized. It takes time and energy to find them, though, which small business owners often have in short supply.
We’ve done the work for you. This collection of free or low-cost apps will help you work smarter—and save you time and money. You can also use them on just about any device, whether your desktop computer, tablet or smartphone, so you’re no longer tethered to the office.
1. Manage Your To-Dos with Wunderlist
Who doesn’t need help keeping track of all of the things that need be done—today, this week, next month? Wunderlist lets you capture and manage an endless number of to-dos across all of your devices, and will remind you when they’re due. You can also share lists as a means to collaborate with your team.
For a monthly fee, a more powerful business version of Wunderlist provides features for delegating tasks to team members, creating subtasks, adding notes, and setting deadlines and program reminders.
2. Dropbox for Anytime, Anywhere Access to Your Files
With over 500 million users around the world, Dropbox is one of the most used cloud storage apps in the industry, according to TopTenReviews. Dropbox lets you store files in the cloud and access them from any device, so no matter where you are, you never again need to be without the files you need. Features include:
- Fast backup copies of your files
- File sharing, especially helpful with clients and remote employees
- Ability to sync your files across all accounts
3. Evernote for Taking Notes
Evernote is a virtual way to take notes, update them on all your devices and share them with others if you wish. You can “jot down” anything that comes to mind—ideas, names or places, reminders or things to do. You can snap pictures, capture links and add videos or podcasts. Evernote can be your online source for all your inspirations, and its organizational options and powerful search function make them easy to recall.
4. Appointment Scheduling with SetMore
SetMore is an appointment scheduling app and much more. With Setmore, you can book and track appointments for yourself and your customers, and send reminder emails and text notifications. Your clients can also self-book meeting times with you, a convenient feature that eliminates the back-and-forth messaging that is so often required in the quest for a mutually convenient time. You can also use Setmore to share customer reviews, accept customer payments and manage schedules for your staff.
5. Capture Digital Signatures with DocuSign
DocuSign is a timesaver for completing agreements and gathering signatures. With DocuSign, you can quickly prepare and send digital documents that others can sign using a stylus or their finger, eliminating the time required to scan, fax or mail paper documents or deliver them in person. DocuSign also allows you to keep up to date on the status of your agreements and save them to your computer or the cloud.
6. Scan with Cam Scanner
With Cam Scanner, your smartphone or tablet becomes a scanner—a handy replacement for the unwieldy scanning devices of the past. You can capture images of receipts, photographs and entire documents and save them as a PDF or JPEG document. Cam Scanner also includes tools for editing and improving scan quality.
7. Skype for Meeting Face To Face
When a phone call isn’t enough and an in-person meeting isn’t possible, Skype is the next best thing. You can use Skype to meet face-to-face with clients using your phone, tablet or desktop computer. You can also use Skype to make voice calls, send text messages and share files of any size. The basic app is free. For an additional monthly fee, Skype for Business provides meeting and collaboration software that integrates with your Microsoft Office applications.
8. Asana for Project Management
If you have a team of two or more working together to accomplish a shared objective, project management software can help keep everyone informed and on track. Asana lets you set up projects with tasks and due dates and assign them to team members. It also includes project calendars, at-a-glance dashboards for status reporting and features that facilitate communication and collaboration.
Asana’s basic features are available free of charge for up to 15 team members. A premium version is available for larger teams which also includes richer project management features, including private projects, task dependencies and unlimited dashboards.