7 Hot Apps for Small Business
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7 Hot Apps for Small Business

Sometimes we all need a little help from the electronic world. As apps become more widespread and powerful, entrepreneurs are turning to these tools to help their businesses run more smoothly. These seven apps will help make your day-to-day business life more efficient and organised.

1. Xero 

This bookkeeping app is perfect for small businesses. The online software lets you monitor your cashflow in real-time and can be viewed from anywhere you have an internet connection, including your iPhone

The app is easy to set-up and use; simply go to the website and sign-up for an account. If you’ve used other software or a series of spreadsheets prior to using this app, you can import this data directly into the app. There is no need to re-input the information. Once the account is set-up, you can then download the free mobile app, which will sync with the web app to give you real-time information on what money is going in and out of your business.

Another benefit of the app is that it can automatically reconcile with most of the Canadian banks. Once hooked up, it will speak to any account, credit card or PayPal account you ask it to. Dealing with foreign markets? The tool monitors exchange rates for over 160 currencies every hour, allowing you to see real time data.

They even make it easy for your accountant, allowing you to invite an unlimited number of people to access your account for free while controlling the sections they can view and their editing rights. 

Want to make sure your invoices stay on brand? The app allows you to tailor its templates with your branding and formatting. Once set-up, you then have an option to include payment links at the bottom of your invoices so that clients can make direct payments to you using their credit card or PayPal.

The system also plays well with others. The team at Xero have developed many partnerships with other apps, meaning you can: manage payroll, use it as a point of sale, manage inventory, use it for e-commerce, track your interactions with a CRM and much more.

Pricing

The free trial will help you understand how the tool works. The trial lasts for 180 days and will enable you create five new invoices and reconcile 50 bank statement lines. 

Once you have decided that this is the app for you, there are three monthly price plans to choose from, at: $19, $29 and $39 per month. 

2. Payfirma

It’s now easier to take payments anytime, anywhere, with Payfirma’s mobile app. The app allows you to accept payments, offer returns and pre-authorise transactions using a simple plug-in swiper. 

Want to keep track of where the majority of your sales happen, geographically? The app allows you to tag each transaction with a location on a map. You can even check your sales trends on your phone to monitor how well you are doing that day, week or month. 

As an added extra, you can help save the planet by emailing receipts to your clients. Once you have taken the payment, the app delivers an e-receipt direct to the customer’s inbox.

The app is fully secure and holds no data on the card swiper or the phone. All data is held in a cloud account, accessible through a secure gateway.

Pricing

The app is free, however the card swiper costs $99. The app does not require the swiper, however, the app can be used by typing in the credit card number, if you are looking to save some money. 

There are additional payment processing fees, which include:

  • Monthly processing fee: $15
  • Monthly statement fee: $10
  • Fee per transaction: $0.25
  • Visa/Mastercard rate per transaction: $1.99

3. Evernote

This is a great app for those just starting out or looking at developing their business. It lets you store, organize and share text, photos and voice notes. This app will let you gather all those inspiring ideas for products, branding, customer service, or for what your office or retail space will look like. 

It can be accessed through any internet connection and with your cell phone, meaning that you can capture your ideas, things you like, things you hear, and things you see, at any time. Whether it’s a great bottle of wine, which you want to remember and send as a thank you to clients, a web page design that you want keep for inspiration, or stats you want to include in your business plan, this app can capture it and save it for you to come back to later.

Pricing

Evernote is a free app; however, if you want to upload very large files (over 1GB), work together with a colleague, or be able to lock your app for extra security, there is a premium version of the app, which costs US$5 per month or US$45 per year.

4. Google Drive

The Google Drive is a cloud based storage system; perfect to use for additional back-up of your important business files. The Drive is available for PC, Mac, Chrome OS, iPhone, iPad and of course Android devices.

The Drive allows you to create new documents, spreadsheets and presentations directly in the drive or upload documents to it. 

One great feature of the Drive is that more than one person can work on a document at once, so if you have a pressing deadline and you’ve allocated different people to complete different sections of a pitch, they can all work on it at the same time. Not only that, but the app tracks every change that you make, so when you hit the save button, it saves the document as a new revision. You can then look back as far as 30 days worth of revisions and save the one that you need.

As an added bonus, Google is currently giving away 5GB of free storage space.

Although we don't recommend using Google Drive as your only backup – it’s always safer to keep copies of important files in multiple locations – it is a good place to work on files in collaboration with others.

Pricing

As mentioned there is a special deal of getting your first 5 GB for free. 

If you want to upgrade and get up to 25 BG of space, this will cost you around $2.50 per month.

5. Skype

Skype is one of the best-known online apps in the world, with nearly 30 million users globally. This inexpensive tool allows you to communicate Skype-to-Skype for free or Skype to landline or cell phone for a small fee.

It is simple, and easy to install and start using. Regardless of your level of tech knowledge, the uncomplicated interface is easy to navigate and understand.

You can install it on your desktop, on your phone and on your tablet. As long as you have a connection to the internet (via wireless or 3G), you can be speaking to the world in no-time.

Pricing

The app is free for both your phone and your computer and calls from Skype to Skype are free.

There are number of pricing plans for calls to non-Skype numbers including monthly subscriptions starting at $1.09 per month, or per minute charges at 2.3 cents per minute.

6. Tripit

When you travel a lot for business, it’s essential that you’re organised. If you need three connecting flights and a rental car to get to that all-important investment meeting, the last thing you need is to be messing around with different emails or printouts of plans.

This app creates simple and comprehensive travel itineraries. All you need to do is forward your travel confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com with your email in the subject line and the app will make a personal itinerary, just for you. It will then monitor flights to alert you of any delays or cancellations, track your points for any travel schemes, and automatically share your travel plans with those who would like to know exactly where you are. The app also gathers weather updates, maps and directions, making your trip so much simpler.

Tripit is a free app, however, if you want to upgrade the Pro versions to receive mobile alerts, flight refund processing and to use the auto sharing function there is a fee of $49 per year (following a 30-day free trial). 

7. Scanner Pro

If you have a habit of losing important receipts, business cards or documents, this last app is for you. 

Currently only available on iPhone and iPad this app lets you scan just about anything you need, converting it to a PDF and saving it to your iCloud account. 

The app identifies the page size automatically when scanning, and converts it to a standard pdf. Have a multi-page document you need to send to a colleague in a meeting fast? You can use this app to scan the document and email it directly to them. You can even password protect the document.

The app also works well with other apps such as Dropbox and the previously mentioned Evernote. 

Pricing

A one-time only fee of $6.99.

About Mark Tempest

Mark Tempest is the Senior Vice President of Ayima, a global digital marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, San Francisco, NYC and London.