So, you founded a startup. You have big ideas about how to change your industry or even the world, and a limited amount of time and resources to implement them. You can’t afford to be distracted by the day-to-day burdens of business management — bookkeeping, time tracking, etc. With so many tasks to attend to, it’s a wonder if you get anything done. Fortunately, these applications streamline the essential processes of manning your own business, freeing you up to tackle the bigger picture. Here are six applications that allow you to conquer the less favorable aspects of your business management with efficiency.
Pipedrive is an easy-to-use, sales-focused customer relationship management tool being hailed as the newest ace in the hole for sales professionals. The CRM allows sales personnel to create their own visual sales pipeline, an up-to-the-minute account of their sales dealings, progress, profits, and agenda. The drag and drop interface feels intuitive, and the timeline feature provides a clear view +of which deals are nearing close and which are in the earliest stages. Pipedrive also makes it easy to make sense of historical sales data to determine the average time to close and see which stages seem to be particularly critical to success.
Web-based time tracking software offers the most flexibility for employers who want to manage their time attendance anywhere. FingerCheck provides employers with tools to manage scheduling, payroll, worked time, and of course, attendance. By utilizing real-time alerts, managers can be kept in the loop with their employees’ punch habits and identify patterns. Both the online time clock and mobile application offer features that make it easy for employees to clock in from anywhere, along with fun features like photo tracking and geo-tagging. Managers can even require employees to sign off on weekly timesheets, a great way to guarantee accuracy.
Constant Contact is an email marketing company that makes attaining professional marketing a possibility for businesses of all sizes. While email marketing is their main forte, they also offer social media marketing, event marketing, digital storefronts, and even online survey marketing. They have tools for just about every business need, from list-building tools to contact management, and are renowned for their great customer service. With a free 60-day trial and affordable packages based around features and contact numbers, Constant Contact is within reach for any company looking to step up their online marketing.
If your cup holder is full of a mish-mash of receipts — yet you can never seem to find the one you need to give Accounting — this one for you! ExpenseBot is a software that automates the entire expense reporting process. It learns your habits by integrating with your credit card, calendar, email, and mobile device, and then automatically tracks, categorizes, and adds expenses to a customized report for you (which you can then hand to Accounting). Using their mobile app, you can even capture receipts on the go, and track distance and mileage, which is excellent if you or your employees need to travel for work.
Social media’s a cinch with this app, which allows you to schedule tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates, Google+, etc. all in one place. It’s a user-friendly way to keep your queue stocked with relevant content–and if you’re running low on ideas or time, it even provides suggested premade posts you can add into your queue. Buffer for Business charges a monthly fee based on company size, ensuring that it remains budget-friendly for every business. Buffer also has a free version of its application which limits the number of posts that can be scheduled and allows the management of just one social media account per social media website. However, it does give analytic information like the number of clicks, retweets, likes, favorites, mentions, and potential views each post has.
A tried and true favorite, QuickBooks is a reliable option for comprehensive accounting. It has the ability to scale, so if growth is in your future, this is a great option. Another, slightly less expensive option that’s been getting some buzz is Xero–it’s not as geared toward small businesses, but has a focus on mobility, which can be helpful for more “spread out” workforces. What apps are essential to your business? Have you discovered any hidden gems you’d like to share?