By Mary Frenson

Are you a start-up who is finding it difficult to juggle all the different tasks involved in running a new business? Or perhaps you are an established small business who is experiencing growth but find that increased productivity is challenging your existing systems? Running a small business has a lot of moving parts and it is imperative that we attend to them all lest we drop the ball in one area causing a potential problem.

The myriad of apps that are available for business use can help us to track activity in different areas, making it easy to keep an eye on different business systems without the need for significant time investment. Whether you are looking for ways to make your business financial life more fruitful or increase efficiency in your projects managements and work autonomously, if you have the best investment apps on your smartphone or internet-enabled device you can automate a lot of tasks and save time. Here, as a starting point, we have listed just five apps which will be useful in any small business.

1. Skype for Business

Skype is the market leader in free online video communications. People the world over have seen its enormous benefits for keeping in touch with loved one’s abroad. However, the applications for Skype for business use are just as impressive. As technology improves there is greater scope for companies to recruit overseas employees for remote work. This is made incredibly easier when Skype is on hand to help out. The Skype for Business app allows you to communicate with up to 250 users, who do not have to have the app themselves. It integrates well with Microsoft Office and allows you to make calls from inside Word or PowerPoint. You can also use the chat function, transfer files, record meetings and more besides. It is well worth checking out for the small fee of just $2 per month per user with advanced functions costing a little more.

2. Asana

Asana is a great little app that helps you to manage and track activity within your business. It is essentially a project management app with a whole host of in-built functionality. The interface is user friendly and allows you to see progress on a given project at a glance. Staff members are assigned projects and everyone involved can see what is happening through the app. It can be used for brainstorming, messaging and advanced scheduling. When you want to get on top of what is happening when in your business, Asana is your guy. It is free to get up and running for up to 15 people but there is a premium version available.

3. Insightly

Customer Relationship Management software can be very costly for a new or small business. This CRM app is a viable alternative. The Insightly app itself costs $12 per month and gives you functionality which caters to all your relationship management requirements. You can manage potential leads, existing customers, suppliers and more. Features include a business card scanner, calendar, events, address book, file sharing and linking between contacts or projects. Insightly is a CRM and Project Management app in one, negating the need for two separate apps.

4. PayPal Here

PayPal is one of the most trusted payment software providers globally, and when it’s a question of funds we want to know that we’re using a trustworthy provider. Using a simple handheld card reader provider by PayPal Here small businesses can accept card payments on the go without the expensive outlay involved in more traditional card payment systems. The system works on a per transaction fee (2.7%), so no monthly fees are involved. The versatility provided by PayPal Here is impressive allowing for virtually any payment type including cheques. The payments are sent to your existing PayPal account and can then be transferred to your bank account.

5. QuickBooks Online

Accounting may just be the most dreaded aspect of running a small business for many owners. Yet, despite this, we know just how important it is to keep clear, organized books. QuickBooks Online is a powerful app which takes the stress out of accounting. Many accountants have access to Quick Books software and so your accounts generated here will be accessible to them when the end of year arrives. You can scan receipts while on the go, send custom invoices, pay your staff and link up to your bank account. Reports are easily generated through the app allowing you to see at a glance how your business is performing. Handy, eh? Prices start are $10 per month with increases for advanced features.

There is no need to spend longer getting these tasks done than absolutely necessary. When we set up a business we generally have our own innate talents that we bring to it. New business owners generally don’t yearn to spend all day seeing to administrative tasks. Use these apps to take care of the necessary parts of business so that you can get back to being the best at what it is you do!