One of the biggest challenges of running a small business is that you and your team will inevitably find yourselves switching hats throughout business operations. From managing finances to managing people, from analyzing data and developing effective strategies, the challenge is to maintain a tight grasp on the reins as you shift between roles and build the ship as it sails.
That’s where apps come in, changing the way we approach business operations and saving entrepreneurs a lot of headache. Apps are used by large corporations and small home business alike, but they’ve proven to be fundamental to the success of the latter. As the saying goes – “There’s an app for that” – and it’s there to help you improve and grow your business with minimal resources.
Customer feedback: SurveyMonkey
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, the success of your enterprise depends on how well you’re able to anticipate and meet your customers’ needs.
And what’s the best way to get to know your consumer base and find out what they want? – Take out the guesswork and ask them yourself. SurveyMonkey helps you create surveys from templates and collect relevant, meaningful data and feedback that you can utilize at scale.
You can build surveys of varying complexity to measure customer satisfaction and collect feedback on your digital marketing efforts, pricing, products, and any possible needs of the market that you need to address. The SurveyMonkey website also offers helpful tips about survey question types and the best way to word them. Overall, it’s an immensely useful tool for a business of any size, but especially for a small business that’s adjusting to the market and looking to develop an effective growth strategy.
Finances and accounting: QuickBooks and FreshBooks
These are two great apps to help you stay on top of your finances, manage accounting, and more.
QuickBooks is accounting software and a platform for tracking the overall financial health of your business. It offers features for:
- Paying employees and vendors
- Tracking your business’ expenses and sales (you can also upload photos of receipts from your phone)
- Viewing profit and loss reports, along with other financial statements
- Tracking unpaid invoices
- Maximizing tax deductions, etc.
One of the key advantages of this platform is that it connects to thousands of accounts, including your PayPal, business bank account, Square, and credit cards. It seamlessly uploads financial data from any account you’ve connected to.
FreshBooks is another cloud computing app with similar features for tracking expenses, but its key focus is managing and tracking invoices. It’s great for freelancers and small businesses as an app for creating and personalizing invoices since it offers customization features to help you maintain a professional and branded look. You can also use it to set up automatic billing for clients with recurring invoices and to accept credit cards on your mobile device, which is an extremely useful feature for a resource-limited, growing business.
Device management and security: Hidden and SOS Online Backup
Authorities have noted that 60% of small business will close within 6 months of a data breach because rarely any of them have the capacity to withstand the blow. From losing the data crucial to your business’ functioning to losing customer trust, the aftermath is incredibly difficult to get over.
That’s why it’s crucial that your business relies on only the most secure and “fortified” cloud computing apps, such as the two financing apps we’ve previously mentioned. Along with that, security comes down to the basics of training your employees to recognize phishing scams, using strong passwords and two-factor authentication, encrypting data, and updating all applications regularly for security patches.
But there are two other extremely important security factors that need to be covered, and there’s an app for each: device protection and data backup.
Since we’re living in the age of remote work and many small businesses or startups rely on the remote working model, it’s especially important to pay attention to the growing issue of device theft. When work is done outside of the security of a company office, you need to take the necessary measures to ensure company accounts don’t get compromised.
Hidden is a device tracking app for Apple products. In case of theft, the app helps you locate your device and remotely lock the thieves out of your data within a matter of seconds. It also features “Secret Screenshots” and iSight to help you capture the culprit on camera as well as a key log to collect information on their activity on your device.
When it comes to data backup, there’s a simple and effective app called SOS Online Backup. It’s a cloud computing solution for automatically backing up your files. It’s extremely secure, relying on military-grade encryption to provide maximum privacy.
Team communication: Slack and Fuze
Whether you have a team of remote workers or you prefer online conversations to ensure efficacy, smooth communication via digital platforms is key. Slack is one of the most popular apps in this field and it has certainly proven to be an invaluable platform for keeping team communication organized. Slack’s channels help minimize confusion and stay focused on topics and projects so that when necessary, team members can go back to the chat and find any possible information they need without getting tangled in conversations. It’s the ultimate tool to help you avoid the mess and confusion of group emails without having to call an official meeting.
But for the times when you do need to call an online meeting, Fuze is your friend. This is a great video-conferencing app that enables you to host online meetings that feel much like in-person meetings. It works on all devices and operating systems, offering crisp audio and video to ensure smooth, natural conversations, without the awkwardness of not seeing the faces of the people you’re talking to.
There are other great apps out there on the market, and hopefully, we’ll cover them in the future as well. For the time being, focus on these extremely helpful apps which are crucial for growth, security, and operational success. Apps are about simplicity and problem-solving, so as a small business, the best thing you can do for your enterprise is to embrace them in the early stages. With an optimized operational structure and smart reliance on technology, you’re set up for success. You can only continue to build on your existing efforts and improve from there.
Natasha is a lady of a keyboard whose fields of expertise could be summed up in digital marketing, branding, and growth-hacking related topics. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs by sharing her knowledge. These days Natasha is all about helping businesses to grow smoothly and strong. To see what she is up to next, check her out on Twitter.