As an entrepreneur, you handle an onslaught of tasks day in and day out. You are often juggling a multitude of jobs. Competing priorities make being organized and focused on the end goal even more crucial. The good news is that there are several useful business apps available now that can improve your work quality and boost productivity and collaboration.
If you go to your app store, you'll see several apps under most business categories, so how do you know which one to use?
While there are many apps you can use for specific tasks that make life easier in your particular industry, there is also a slew of apps that assist general business functions. Most business owners use these apps to help with time management, scheduling, reminder, note-taking, collaboration, and project management.
When choosing a service, a robust mobile presence is critical for avoiding hiccups in productivity.
We asked 14 members of the TAB community about the apps they use and rounded up some of the best business and productivity apps that can be an integral part of your team's software solution assortment.
Evernote is an excellent app for organizing your ideas and thoughts so you can find them easily and quickly when you need them.
Evernote is an app designed for note-taking, organizing, task management, and archiving.
Here's why I find Evernote to be useful:
- I keep all my notes for everything (business and personal), including coaching notes and notes from TAB board meetings on this app.
- I have 1,800 files —think of them as individual file folders in a filing cabinet
- I can search by a word or a phrase, and it will pull up all files in which the search is included.
- It allows me to save everything, and I don't have to worry about losing anything.
- It has been the most life-changing tool I have ever had when it comes to organization.
2. 5 Apps Every Business Owner Should Have
Here are the five apps that every business owner should have:
(The first three are for Mac users.)
-Fantastical: This is the one calendar you need on your phone. [Mac 2020 App of the Year]
Without a doubt, Fantastical is the best calendar app I have ever seen. Besides being easy to use, it collects all your calendars and displays them as a single, merged calendar. Suppose you have multiple calendars (such as your personal calendar, a calendar for your partner, a calendar for your business account, a calendar for your zoom meetings); Fantastical can view and update them all. There's also an iOS app (included when you purchase the app for your Mac) that provides the same synchronized view and allows you to add or edit calendar entries easily.
-SpamSieve: Block the spam
Spam is a problem for everyone. SpamSieve was built explicitly for Apple's Email client. It does a great job of filtering out spam mail with a smart algorithm. It makes it easy to block unwanted emails or allow known senders to get through. (Easy-to-use shortcut keys make this painless).
-Contacts Sync for Google Gmail: Now, syncing your contacts is easy.
Syncing your contacts with a Google Gmail account requires several steps, including setting up a Google workspace on your iOS device. According to Google, it takes 10 minutes more. With Contacts Synce, the process is simple: open the app; optionally create a backup, tap "Begin," and let the app do the work. It gives you the option to review changes before moving on.
The following two are for everyone, Mac or PC:
-Grammarly: Improve your communication
There's a free version that works very nicely, and you can move up to the PRO or Teams version. The free version checks your spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It's very nice to have this consistent interface across multiple sites and apps, and using it is easy. You can get versions for MS Office or Google Docs and add your dictionary for special requirements.
-SimpleNote is an easy-to-use note-taker that's free and available everywhere.
You can add notes, add tags, search for notes based on those tags, and your notes are automatically synchronized across all your devices. The features are basic but eminently workable, and having all your notes available anywhere, anytime makes the app invaluable.
3. Marvelous Marvin
This productivity daily-planning app allows you to plan your time using customizable planners to keep your workday organized. It's a great product for busy people needing to stay on top of many tasks.
I recommend using Notion, a program to manage information: notes, checklists, projects, and tasks.
It includes views to show the gathered information in different ways, like tables, calendars, and Kanban boards, where you can sort and filter as you wish.
You can create a relational database in it to manage projects and tasks. It allows you to plan ahead, keep track, collaborate, organize, take notes and manage your data. You can even share it with others and participate in discussions, comment, assign tasks, share and receive feedback, set reminders, and so on.
It is incredibly flexible, versatile, and easy to use. You can add text, images, spreadsheets, lists, files, databases, and so much more. The possibilities are almost endless.
Moreover, it works on several platforms like Android, iOS, Mac, Windows.
Being a business owner is a tough, stressful job, and the best way to help deal with this stress is through the Headspace app. Headspace is a meditation app that offers customers sets of guided meditations to tackle problems related to anxiety, sleeplessness, and relationships. This app is critical for me and goes beyond the pandemic. Even if you are not into meditation, the app is simple to use and has guided meditations from 1-20 minutes, so taking a break and clearing your head is much easier with Headspace. I try to use Headspace before every coaching session and board meeting to clear my head. It helps me be as present as I can be for these meetings.
6. Arrange Apps in Groups
I arrange all my apps in groups to access all of them from my phone's home screen. With HTML5 some are websites that are mobile-enabled and work pretty much the same as an app. Make sure you lock your screen down so you or your kids don't mess up this beautiful structure that keeps you on one page.
Here are my top apps by category:
- Books: Learning more (Audible, Scribd, Kindle)
- News: Staying on top of those who matter in business (The currency, Financial Times, MyWallStreet, WSJ)
- Cloud Storage: Everything everywhere (Dropbox, Drive, Samsung Cloud or iCloud, One Drive)
- .Banking: Receiving and sending payments/ money (Local banks plus Revolut, Google pay)
- CRM (Pipedrive, Cam Card, DocuSign, Eventbrite, Kmend.com, Dochub.com, TAB Connect)
- Social Marketing (LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook)
- Talking to others: (most frequently called businesses and friends, Whatsapp, Skype, Alexa, Zoom, Go to Meeting, Go to Webinar, Live Transcribe, Teams)
- Tracking & Measuring (Expensify, HRDuo Dock, calculators, Google sheets with KPI's)
My TAB Member and Virtual Admin provider, Carolina Gutierrez of Business In Order, introduced me to Loom to help me train the Virtual Admin that she provides me.
The app allows me to record the keystrokes and mouse movements on my computer screen while recording my voice to explain why I am using the program and the details of what I am doing. This tool can be a real asset for anyone who has to train repetitive tasks on a computer. There is a similar tool called Vidyard that has some different features.
Process Street (Process.st) is an app where businesses can capture and automate their internal processes. Some great examples are onboarding new employees, onboarding clients, scheduling social media posts, requests for customer reviews, and any tasks that need to be done regularly —weekly, monthly, etc.
Process.St is beneficial where multiple teams and people are involved in getting something done because tasks can be assigned to a team or individual and scheduled for a specific due date. One of the best things about Process.St is that business leaders can see each active checklist's status —whether on schedule (or behind) and where it is in the process. I've found it to be a useful tool!
If you have had to create an expense report, you know what a real pain it is to keep up with these. You need to track the business miles on your personal vehicle for every trip, including who you met and any meals or other expenses. It's a real pain! MileIQ has made this much less of a torture for me. It uses GPS through your Smartphone to automatically log every trip you take. All you need to do is scroll through the trips to click "business" or "personal" against each. You can even add multiple sub-categories. This is a huge time-saver. Try it, and you'll never look back.
10. Grammarly, Contacts Sync, and AccCalculator
My top three recommendations are Grammarly, Contacts Sync, and AccCalculator. These can help you get your day-to-day functions in control.
Trello is an app that helps you manage projects with teams. For me, this app is invaluable, especially with a 100% remote team. The app alerts you when tasks and actions are progressing or completed. You can easily add new boards or projects, create checklists, complete and archive projects. Combining the app with a daily or weekly meeting streamlines the agenda. It helps your team feel empowered to report their projects' progress and negates the need to continually chase status updates on your department or company's projects.