A Guest Post by Tina Martin
On-the-go entrepreneurs and small business owners can make their lives easier by automating as many business tasks as possible, and by using apps to streamline operational functions. This approach allows you to work efficiently, from any location, and some app functions may even be able to take the place of an employee or service.
Regardless of the type of business you run, you’ll want to create best practices around project management. This ensures team members are on the same page and able to collaborate, and that deadlines are established and met for clients. It’s especially helpful when people working on a project are located in different geographic regions or time zones. Some project management apps will ping you when someone updates a folder, or issue reminders when key tasks need to be completed. Some apps can also serve as a repository for storing documents, presentations, timelines, files, and other critical project elements. Some top choices in the project management app arena include Basecamp, Trello, and OneNote.
Technology has created an environment in which it’s now possible to stay virtually connected to team members regardless of their location. Apps that can aid in this effort include Skype, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. Not only can colleagues see one another and collaborate, but you can also use features like file sharing, screen sharing, chat notes, and recording meetings for future reference. Many of these platforms can also be used for delivering presentations, hosting workshops and training sessions, and supporting team cohesion and connectivity. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, good communication skills — especially in a remote work environment - are essential to business success.
Financial and Operational Functions
The more ways you give your customers to buy your product or services, the better. While you can take cash and checks and create paper receipts, apps like Zelle, Venmo, PayPal, and Square can help you simplify invoicing, payment, and financial tracking. Scanner apps can also be useful for various financial and business functions, as can budgeting app tools. You can even use an app like Zenefits for tracking employee benefits, and Deputy for creating and managing employee schedules and timesheets. BambooHR allows you to manage key human resources functions, and Social Sprout can be an asset when it comes to social media campaigns and marketing strategy implementation. According to SCORE, marketing is a critical function in a small business - especially an entrepreneurial startup. An app like Salesforce can help you implement, track, and streamline some of these customer cultivation tasks.
An inventory tracking app can be a tremendous help for your business. Not only can it reduce the potential for ordering and financial errors and miscalculations, but it can also streamline how you buy products. An app that can integrate customer orders on Shopify and Amazon is a must-have for companies that specialize in online sales. Distribution software for wholesale businesses can also be an invaluable time and money saver. Using these products can help free up time for building your business and ensuring high-quality customer experiences.
Other apps that are beneficial to all business owners include Speechy for dictation and translation, SurveyMoney for taking polls, and HubSpot for managing contacts among team members. There are also industry-specific apps that are designed to serve as solutions for niche industries.
About our guest blogger: Tina Martin stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance. She is also working on her first book, Ideaspired: Put Your Ideas, Your Inspiration, and Yourself First to Make Your Dreams Come True.