One of the hardest parts about being a small or medium business can be the need to run all of the operations of a large-scale company without the same staff, resources or efficiencies.
In an increasingly digital business world, apps are increasingly the solution to skills or time shortages, helping you manage everything with ease and create more time in the day.
As ever, some are markedly more useful than others, so here is our top ten of the ones you really need in your life.
1) Evernote: Essentially an organiser that keeps track of everything you want to, well, keep track of – from notes to receipts, to photos, to webpages, to articles bookmarked to read later. Able to sync across all devices and also featuring a powerful search function so you can always find what you’re looking for further down the line, you can even turn notes into a presentation at the click of a button.
2) Dropbox: Bills itself as one place for your stuff, with all file uploads accessible from any device and easily shared. Great for collaborative working as well as those who need files on the go, it can house all common types of files including photos and video, and you can choose whether to share a single file or a whole folder, leaving you in control of your data and information flow.
3) People Per Hour: Like an eBay for freelancers, this site connects people with skills with those looking to get jobs done. Post a job and choose from the applicants who get in touch, with the ability to both rate each other afterwards, or buy an hourlie – a fixed price piece of work designed to take one hour to complete. Also great for those looking for additional work, particularly when starting up.
4) Mention: Real-time media monitoring, which allows you to create alerts for names, brands and competitors and get a real-time alert any time they are mentioned on the web or in social networks. You can also create analytics charts based on your mentions versus competitors, for example, and make sure you’re not missing anything.
5) LinkedIn Connected: Billed as taking the work out of networking, this app essentially mines your existing LinkedIn contacts and keeps you up to date with what’s new, ranging from birthdays to promotions, keeping you in touch and giving you the chance to strengthen relationships without having to constantly keep tabs on what everyone you are linked to is doing.
6) Buffer: A superb scheduling tool that enables easy management of multiple social media accounts, allowing scheduling of posts across various platforms and then spreading out their posting throughout the day. Fully integrated with major social networks including Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, it makes for fast and simple sharing.
7) Feedly: A free web-based news aggregator tool that allows you to find the content that is most valuable to you by filtering out the rest, as well as suggesting new experts that may be of interest based on those you already follow. Easy sharing options too.
8) Paypal Here: A chip and pin reader from the secure online payment masters, allowing you to process payments on the go, as well as issue receipts and invoices. Highly secure, it also accepts both debit and credit cards, and also has a facility to log cash and cheque payments.
9) Facebook Pages Manager: This app lets you manage multiple Facebook pages from your tablet or smartphone, as well as sharing content, seeing activity on each page and interacting with it by liking or commenting, in addition to having access to page analytics.
10) Survey Monkey: Web-based survey leaders, used by everyone from business leaders to academic institutions. Surveys can be customised with your logo and branding, and sent out over web, mobile and social media, with the site’s survey builder featuring multiple types of questions. Once released, benefit from the site’s real-time results and analysis to help you make key decisions about your business.
So that’s it – our top ten. Hope you find them as helpful and time-saving as we do!