Starting and running a business demands a lot of time, energy and attention so despite being an exciting journey, it can result in burnout and a lot of time wastage, especially where one lacks a system. Thanks to the advent of technology however, we now have app and online tool for , so most tasks can now be automated. All you have to do is set things up manually (and then sit back) and watch technology do it’s magic whilst you focus on your passion. You can literally interact with clients, welcome and send them email reminders even whilst you sleep. This simplifies tasks, increases your productivity, saves you precious time and money. I have compiled a list of 5 of my favourite apps and online tools for small businesses
This article will give you a brief background of some of my favourite apps and online tools. It also outlines how you can use them and get the most out of them. Most of them are simple to use and do not require an in depth knowledge of the techy stuff. Some might need you to play around and click some buttons to get yourself familiar. Ultimately, the result should be greater efficiency on your part and satisfied clients on the other hand. Done right, all who interact with your business should be left marvelling at your professionalism and I am confident that these apps will help you to do that.
Before we get started with our list of apps and online tools for small businesses, I must state that it is important for your company to have the following essentials.
1. Your own logo
A well designed company logo that clearly expresses the essence of your brand. This is your company’s identity and should appear in all your communications and must be prominent on all the platforms you use to interact with your audience. If you do not have a logo and lack the funding to pay a designer, you can click here for my step by step guide on how to create your own logo.
2. A website
Your own website with information about your company, your products and how your customers can contact or buy from you. A customized email address @your domain will also come in handy. We have created a guide to help you get started in creating your own free website. The only thing you will need is a working internet connection to get started.
Please note that we are in no way connected to the app owners and thus our assessment is purely independent and based solely on our experience as users of the apps. All these apps and tolls made it to our list of apps and online tools for small businesses because of their relevance and usefulness to us. Now lets get into the business of the day… The apps.
Productivity Wizard app and online tool
this is one of our highly recommended apps and tools for small businesses because it helps put things in perspective and shows whether we are making progress or not. Productivity Wizard allows one to set meaningful goals, as well as key milestones and activities to achieve these goals. It is not limited to business but is also a powerful tool that can be used to enjoy success in aspects of your life i.e. business, career, relationships and spirituality and this allows for balance in your life.
• Goal setting-
You can set goals, add pictures and break down these goals into activities that you can achieve. It allows you to set deadlines, recurring activities and to also track your overall performance as you go. You can add custom units such as dollars, kilograms, pairs of shoes or any other metric you want to track.
• Daily planner-
this begins with a morning routine whereby you identify things to be grateful for, new ideas, questions you might have and then your To-do list for The day. The app has a dashboard showing your activities for the day and it will constantly send you reminders. It also has an evening routine that allows you to reflect on your day and answer a few insightful questions.
the app comes with an in-built diary where you can write about your day and add pictures. There is also a notes section where you can draft random thoughts, ideas and more.
• Performance monitoring-
the app allows you to view your progress and compare results. This has a daily option and a weekly option as well as the option to measure performance by activity.
My personal journey with the app
I began using this app and online tool in early 2017 and it has significantly improved my business results. Every morning, I begin each day by writing my to do list and the activities that will help me to achieve my bigger objectives. As my day goes I get great satisfaction from cancelling activities from my To do list. This keeps me focused by reminding me what matters. Oftentimes, I find myself carried away and spending hours on an activity that might seem productive but does little for my growth and this app has helped to keep me disciplined in that regard.
The app and online tool also allows me to assess my performance and I record my business progress weekly. Watching that chart rise further encourages me to achieve more. I would encourage new users of the app to start off with an easy to do list. As time goes, you will find yourself challenged to do more demanding tasks and soon it becomes a habit, and eventually part of your character.
NB- the app is currently available on the app store and not on Google’s Play store. We have written to the app’s developers and they assured us that it will be on the Play store in the first quarter of 2018.
Where can I get the app?
Simply visit www.successwizard.com or download it for free from the app store. My advice is to try out the free version which comes fully functional and i know you will soon find yourself compelled to pay for additional features as you see results. You can also get a desktop version of the app with a 14 day free trial as well from the Success Wizard website.
I don’t just like this app and online tool because it calls me “The Boss” but it is a one stop solution accounting solution for the entrepreneur. I highly recommend BossApp because among its many features it allows you to manage your business by providing the following
• Sales and Purchases records-
BossApp allows you to record all your sales and Purchase transactions and provides a user interface and experience that simplifies recurring or regular sales.
• Track your expenses-
BossApp also gives the entrepreneur an opportunity to track and monitor expenses to understand where their money is going and thus allowing them to make better decisions.
• Price Lists and Catalogues-
the app allows you to enter product details such as pictures, specifications and quantities. It can also arrange this information into a quick Price list or catalogue that you can easily send to your clients upon request.
the app generates useful reports that provide in depth insights into the operations of your business.
The app comes with a number of paid features and also gives one the option to pay an annual subscription of just under $50. The app can be used without a paid subscription but to enjoy its full features I would recommend that one tries out the paid version. They offer a free 7 day trial of the features and the app also has a desktop version which you can also try out through a free trial.
My journey with boss
I began using the app and online tool sometime in 2017. I was looking for an all in one app that I could use to manage and monitor all aspects of my business. We tried a number of apps and I eventually stumbled upon BossApp. It was the most comprehensive that I found. There was one other alternative that came close but I struggled to figure out the functions and eventually deleted it. This app allows me to easily record transaction on the go using my mobile device and that is why I enjoy using it.
Where can I download the Boss App?
The boss app and online tool is available for both iOS and Android devices. You can also visit the developer’s website at https://boss-app.com. The app is free but you need a subscription to access some of its secondary features.
is one of the most powerful picture creation and editing apps out there. It is a personal favourite of mine and I have used it to create many amazing pictures. Picsart allows you to do virtually anything to manipulate a picture and all from the palm of your hand. I highly recommend Picsart as one of the best apps and online tools. I have personally found it useful in creating my marketing images and backgrounds. It is fairly easy to use and has the following features.
PicsArt allows you to adjust photos in many ways including removal of shadows. You can also enhance poorly taken photos and crop out the unnecessary bits. It also gives you the options to make corrections such as teeth whitening, removing blemishes and colour replacement.
• Layered images-
you can add images on top of other images and crop out certain parts to create one beautiful image. For example, you can crop yourself out of a picture and add a different background in a matter of minutes.
• Add Effects-
the app comes with a large number of effects that you can use to give your pictures a certain look and feel.
you can add text to your pictures and customize it using the various fonts, textures and shadow options. You can also download additional fonts from a large online gallery, some free and others paid for.
you can create original images from scratch using the draw function.
• Add ons-
the app comes with a great collection of add ones that can be used to bring out any ideas that you might have.
• Online tutorials-
there are a lot of great tutorials and videos on YouTube showing you how to fully utilize the app and come up with awesome creations.
With PicsArt, your creativity is the limit and this article would not do justice in describing all its features. You can use the app and online tool in your own business to create posters, flyers, banners and much more.
My personal journey with PicsArt
We have used Picsart to create labels for my products, company profile covers and featured images for my blog posts. When doing product features I use the app to enhance the pictures taken with my smartphone by adding effects, removing blemishes and adding my company and contact details. I have used this app and online tool with such phenomenal results that people have approached me with their pictures asking me to work my magic on them.
Where can I download PicsArt?
You can download PicsArt from the app store or play store. The app itself is free and works fully well like that. No features need unlocking. Add-ons are however paid for but some can still be downloaded for free.
Canva app and online tool
Let your brand stand out with professional looking banners, wall paper and social media posts. Canva is a great app and online tool for creating beautiful designs. It comes with ready to use templates for flyers, logos, social media posts and more. I use this app and online tool in partnership with PicsArt. So after editing my pictures in PicsArt I then use Canva to customize the pic and prepare it for its intended use. For example, a Facebook cover, post and profile picture all have different formats.
1. Create your own designs-
you can create your own designs from scratch starting from a blank canvas, adding pictures, text and page components.
2. Ready to use templates-
Canva comes with a number of ready to use templates for Instagram, twitter, facebook, pinterest, invitations, book covers, album covers, and so much more. All you have to do is edit the text, download and share.
3. Drag and drop editor-
Canva is fairly easy to use. It has a user-friendly interface that allows you to drag and drop page components.
My journey with Canva
We have had Canva for some time now but I only started using the app and online tools religiously when I launched my blog. It allows me to come up with promotional materials in minutes. All I have to do is edit the text and share. It has reduced the time I spend making banners and posts thus allowing me to focus on other areas of my business. My communications look professional thanks to Canva. If I need to send a thank you note, all I do is find a suitable text, edit it and send. I highly recommend Canva for anyone who constantly posts content online and has an active social media presence.
Where can I get Canva?
Canva is available on both the app store and play store. You can find out more about Canva here.
Mailchimp + Mailchimp Subscribe
Mailchimp is an app and online software tool that allows you to build mailing lists send automated emails and run campaigns. So for example, when a user signs up, you can set it up to automatically send a welcome email, a follow up email two days later, a reminder after one week and so on.
1. Email Templates-
Mailchimp comes with a number of templates that you can customize to suit your needs. It allows you to create professional looking emails, with different sections, videos, pictures and more. You can also create a lending page on your website using the templates to give your users incentives to sign up on your website.
2. Mailing Lists-
Mailchimp allows you to create various lists of your users. These lists can then be used to send customized and targeted emails. So you can have a list for users who joined at a specific time or from different locations and then send them relevant messages.
you can run promotions and offer a free giveaway such as a free download or a coupon using Mailchimp. It has a user-friendly interface and provides useful tips on how to do this.
4. Mailchimp Subscribe-
is an app that accompanies Mailchimp and allows you to collect user emails at functions and is a very useful tool for building your email list.
5. Website integration-
you can link Mailchimp to your website and embed a sign up form on one of your pages. You can also connect it to your Facebook account and have your Facebook followers signing into your mailing list from there.
I highly recommend Mailchimp because it allows you to send professional looking emails and you can have your messages sequentially scheduled to keep a client interested for weeks by constantly sending them material at scheduled intervals whilst you focus on other things.
My journey with Mailchimp
I have been using the Mailchimp app and online tool ever since I launched my blog. Mailchimp has made it onto my list of apps and tools for small businesses because it automatically sends my welcome emails and it provides useful stats on who has joined and what emails have been sent to them. We will soon be running an online business development program and I will be using Mailchimp to ensure that all the individuals who sign up receive the prepared materials at the time and in the sequence intended. Our organisation also uses Mailchimp Subscribe to acquire user emails when I attend functions or meet new individuals. I do this offline and it syncs with my list when I get to an internet connection.
Where can I get Mailchimp?
To get started with Mailchimp, visit their website and create an account. Once you are done, you can then start building your list and also integrate it with your website. You can download the Mailchimp App as well as Mailchimp Subscribe from the App store or google’s play store.
I hope you found my list of best apps and online tools very helpful. Let me know in the comments section which one you like best.