10th May, 2016
As an entrepreneur time is precious, so you need to make the most of it. One of the best ways to save time is to make use of tools that make completing your tasks that much easier. This list is comprised of the top apps that can help you do your job more efficiently. Not every app will be relevant to your start-up but take a look through and you can be sure that you will find something that can save you time, stress and maybe even money.
Google Drive – Docs, Sheets, Slides
As a start-up you naturally want to save costs where you can. Paying for an office suite can be costly for individuals and even more so for businesses. Google Drive is the perfect free substitute consisting of four individual apps; Drive – an online storage app, Docs – a word processing app, Sheets – a spreadsheet app and Slides – a presentation app. Google Drive has great features and works across all of your devices; it also allows multiple users to edit a single document which is a great collaboration tool that even paid alternatives don’t always offer. The apps load documents seamlessly and if you’re worried about people using other versions of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications and not being able to open yours, don’t, because they are all compatible with the most popular file types.
Working in business it is easy to get lost in your inbox and being an entrepreneur will only add to that! Relying on your mobile or tablet’s built in mail app can be dangerous, with multiple accounts and lots of emails to get through; you will need something more simplified. Cloud Magic is easy on your device’s battery and even easier to use. Add from a huge range of email providers and create contact cards for your recipients. This app is certain to change the way you handle emails. It has custom folder sync settings and is even connected with a range of top apps to allow you to share files easily. Rated as a top app on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store you should definitely give it a try.
Organisation is a key trait that is essential to the success of your start-up business and any tool that can help you perfect this is worth its weight in gold. Trello allows you to organise your tasks into boards, allowing you to keep on top of absolutely everything. You can also invite colleagues, friends and even family members to view or edit the boards, allowing you to keep everyone in the loop with the projects you are working on. The ability to attach files and photos really does set this app apart from the rest. If you want to unlock more of its great features you can sign up for a paid account, but it really is brilliant as it comes.
A team communication app that allows you to get more done and spend less time attending meetings and sending lengthy emails. This app has great features; you can split your staff into individual teams, but also be a part of more than one group, so it’s brilliant for small projects. The app also has hundreds of integrations with other popular apps and services that allow you to quickly share files and other content. Slack transfers easily from your tablet or phone and it can also be used on your desktop, which makes it a worthy alternative to email. The app is free but you can pay for other features such as more file storage and extended message history.
This app is the ultimate time saver. Using your camera on your phone or tablet, Evernote Scannable allows you to scan any document wherever you are. Forgetting to scan small documents like business cards or receipts is a thing of the past, you can easily scan as you go and save them as PDFs or JPGs and even email them straight from the app. Also, the ability to scan full documents is extremely helpful; not needing an office scanner will save you a lot of time. The quality of the scans are great, although this does depend on the quality of your device’s camera, but most smartphones feature cameras of a reasonable quality.
Finding a free social media management tool that works for your business could turn out to be one of the best things to happen to your start-up. Hootsuite supports Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even now Instagram, which is great if your business is selling a visual product. Allowing you to send posts straight away or schedule them weeks in advance, this app can really help you get on top of your social accounts, freeing you up to focus on other things. Hootsuite is also available on desktop, allowing you to keep everything under control.
The live steaming app Periscope has recently celebrated its first birthday, and what a year it has been. Snapped up by Twitter before it had even launched, Periscope was an inevitable success. Periscope is a great way to let your customers know what your business gets up to on a daily basis, share special events and stream conferences, workshops and events straight on to your Twitter feed. You can even do a live Q & A or just give a tour of your workspace or shop and let your customers see how you work. With over 200 million broadcasts in the first year and 110 years of video watched every day, this relatively new social network is something you can’t afford to ignore.
All of these apps are certain to improve your efficiency – a crucial necessity for entrepreneurs. They are all available across both Android and Apple devices as well as most having desktop equivalents. Get downloading! You can thank me later.
If you would rather face to face start-up business support, mentoring or help to achieve a business loan there are additional resources available to make your business dream a reality.
Written by Tara Gillam, Head of Enterprise, Business West – business support and advice in the South West
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