So you’re a small business owner. You’re your own boss, payroll executive, and customer service representative. Maybe you’re even the company’s sole employee.
You wear a lot of hats. The right app can help keep the logistics behind your business simple and organized, from the numbers to the fine print. Whatever industry you’re in, from general contracting to retail, here are five apps that’ll change the way you do business — minimizing hassle and making the most of your time.
Think of Evernote as a physical home for your mental to-do list. Sign up for Evernote’s most basic package, and you’ll find templates for weekly planners, annual calendars, checklists, budgets and even a place to store your frequent flier numbers.
The app’s flexibility makes it a valuable addition to businesses of all sizes; even if you’re a one (wo)man show, you’ll value the ability to neatly store all of your important information in one place. If you’re constantly coordinating with employees, take advantage of the ‘share’ option for your notes, and utilize the app’s ‘work chat’ function for direct communication.
You can also upload scans or PDFs of important documents to Evernote, like handbooks or training guides. Why not streamline the process of training a new employee, especially if they’re working remotely? Plus, you can place searchable tags on your content — think of it as a virtual filing cabinet.
Shortly after its launch in 2009, Square completely changed point of sale systems — especially for small businesses. At its most basic level, the app can be downloaded and you’re ready to begin taking credit card or debit card payments.
If you’re willing to splurge a little more on hardware, you’ll likely find it worth your while: the company makes display stands for easier customer use, as well as chip readers at varying levels of sophistication. The app also generates analytics, helping you close up shop at the end of the day or at the end of your project. You can also run payroll, track employee hours, and generate project-specific invoices.
Payment methods are becoming increasingly digitized and that’s a good thing, considering the added security and convenience built in to digital payments. As we’re moving away from more traditional tender, like cash, accepting a range of payment forms is especially crucial for small businesses. Square is an excellent option for hopping on the digital bandwagon.
Slack’s popularity stretches across industries and business models —its platform as a work-specific instant messaging service caters well to multi-employee businesses.
Slack’s mission of expediting communication between colleagues is a simple one. It’s perhaps that simplicity that makes the app easy to overlook for small business owners, but make no mistake — this is a crucial platform for coordinating everything from company-wide events to one-on-one meetings.
The app encourages streamlined communication outside of formal channels, like voicemail or email, which don’t tend to generate the immediate responses your work might demand. Plus, users can search through archived messages. Can’t remember the address of a project site? Don’t bother aimlessly shifting through your emails — just take a moment to track it down in-app.
Owning a small business means you’re probably inundated with messages in every form. An app like Slack can make a world of difference.
Remember those infinite hats you’ve been wearing? Getting the details of your to-do list organized with an app like Asana can free up an incredible amount of mental space.
The app is essential for tracking task progression. Simply create the umbrella task — Monday’s Catering Event, for example — and then create subtasks (purchase ingredients, check. Grill 100 hamburgers, check. Delivery, check.)
You can then share the tasks with relevant employees, who can mark the subtasks complete as they work through finishing them. The app also allows for commenting, which is useful for details or elaboration. You can also tag other users and colleagues by name, in case a task requires special attention or clarification.
If you’re in the construction or home remodel industry, Punch List will do most of your multitasking for you. Designed for general contractors (and, subsequently, homeowners), the app makes the remodeling process as easy and smooth as possible.
Start by uploading a project plan. Users can then section out portions of the project, creating phase-specific to do lists for every step from demolition to finishing. Contractors and homeowners can organize the timeline and budget for each phase and then track project progress, all within the app.
Punch List also acts as a platform for communication between contractors and homeowners. In-app direct messaging allows for regular, instant communication with homeowners; send photos of finished work for approval, or confirm project details in real time.
Once completed work has been approved by the homeowner, Punch List will generate automatic, digital invoices. Then homeowners can conveniently pay through the app, cutting down delay for contractors, substantially expediting the payment process. As small business owners, taking digital payments is crucial — and it’s nice to speed the process up.
Effective communication, organized operation and flexibility (like when it comes to payment methods) are some of the pillars of successful small businesses. As a small business owner, your time is (quite literally) money. In fact, your time is an investment in your business — and that’s why you shouldn’t spend it trying to get organized without the help of these apps.
Get your to-do list in order with Evernote, make your business accessible with Square, stay in touch with Slack and track projects with Asana, no matter what industry you’re in.
If you’re a general contractor, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. You can do all of those things with a single app: Punch List.