If you’re starting a new business, chances are you’ll be looking for all the help you can find.
Lucky for you there are many, many, applications online for your computer or phone that can help you with every aspect of running a business you can think of – and some you couldn’t.
There are applications for running phones, looking after the money, getting your name out there. The possibilities are endless. Read on to find our picks for the best of what the market has to offer.
1. Office Software
Office software is so basic everyone uses it for something. Even if you don’t work in an office you will at some stage need to create, edit, or view a document – usually a Microsoft Word document.
Arguably Microsoft’s office suite (Word for documents, Excel for spreadsheets, Outlook for email) has been the market leader. A rival that’s doing well is Google Docs for documents and spreadsheets and Gmail for email. Being free is attractive even though Microsoft isn’t costly – there is a cost and new businesses need to watch their expenses so why pay anything if you can get what you need for free?
However, while Apple is also worth a mention here for hardware Outlook is superior to Apple Mail so for office software you do get a lot with the tried-and-true Microsoft 365 including:
Documents, spreadsheets, email, presentations, note-taking, storage and video calling all in one program compatible with Apple and other computer hardware brands. Google docs while a worthy contender is not yet a match for Microsoft office software that everyone knows so there would be no need for training and it’s the best of its kind.
2. Phone System
Irrespective of whether your office is still dealing with the option of working from home, or not, you’re going to need an online phone system.
More and more meetings are being held over video calls. Clients, employees, consultants are all spared a lengthy journey for a 20-minute conversation and instead are opening Zoom. They consolidate all your contacts into one place and bypass pricey landlines by making all your calls over the internet.
Google Voice for Business
Google Voice for business is a communication platform that covers video, messaging, and phone calls. You can use the one number on various devices to make one-to-one calls or host video meetings.
Using Google’s AI, it filters spam calls, transcribes voicemails automatically and is integrated with Google Meet and Google Calendar to keep everyone in the business organized in one place.
Other options for phone systems can be RingCentral Office, which offers features like Contact Centre as a Service to make even a small business sound professional to customers. Freshcaller is controlled from a cloud and can be managed from a single control panel.
3. Employee Benefits
Employee benefits are a mandatory part of hiring staff, but there are a lot of spinning plates to it. Benefits boost morale, and therefore productivity. A boost to productivity will translate into a boost in profits.
Zest is an app created to present and manage employee benefits. Manage your employees’ rewards with a benefits management platform that can be controlled straight from your phone or laptop.
Elevate your employee’s engagement with bonuses and benefits which they can see in real-time. Manage benefits due to them with a simple graphic platform.
Simple visuals display personalised benefits and eligibility to your employees while you manage benefit selections with an automated provider and payroll reporting.
On top of all that, it’s secure with automated audits and two-step verifications to access employee’s information.
In an age of paying within seconds and online banking, making your payment options swift and easy for your customers is sometimes the difference between making a sale and not.
PayPal is the safest and easiest option to reach for when you are asking for payment. If you are selling online, it is safest to go through PayPal due to its encrypted website that doesn’t share information with buyer or seller. It offers fraud protection, seller protection and two-factor authentication on payments.
PayPal’s business product doesn’t take monthly fees and allows you to accept payments, make payments and streamline operations. PayPal offers to aid the growth of your business by offering to sell internationally and on marketplaces and it will step in to manage disputes between buyer and seller.
Storage is important to any business with three key factors vital to a good storage system: space, organisation, and security. Those of us who remember the days of filing cabinets will know how quickly space can be filled, and how hard it is to wade through it all if there isn’t a good organisational system.
Security is also important so that your customers’ information isn’t out into the world with a data scare.
A filing system and online backup in one, iDrive offers fast and secure sharing and filing of your business’s data. It supports sharing files by Facebook, Twitter, and email and the web interface also doesn’t delete documents entirely off the server with a single click.
Those of us a bit too click-happy will be happy to see their files not lost to the ether forever. The app works with end-to-end encryption across computers laptops, tablets, and mobile phones, etc. It also offers an array of backup methods.
iDrive offers many features, including Snapshots, which lets you store up to 30 different versions of your files. The photos stored with iDrive will be scanned with the facial recognition feature designed to organise photos into albums in a few clicks while also syncing them across your devices.
The business version offers single sign-on, priority support, unlimited users, and server backup.
Other storage systems include Dropbox, which offers an array of file sharing features and synchronization to mobile apps.
6. Project management
When it comes to project management, Asana is the best application on the market. It offers lots of features designed to boost productivity and tracks your employee’s work.
There are to-do lists and reminders available to make sure you and your staff hit those deadlines. Employees can be assigned tasks and their progress tracked.
The platform can adapt to look after day-to-day tasks and ongoing work or bigger projects managed by teams. Watch a chart shared by all the team members in the Timeline view. Use it to move items around, set due dates and view sub-tasks. Its features include the ability to host live chat, track time and edit documents, but it can do so much more through its many options for app integrations. Team chat with Microsoft Teams or track time with Harvest.
There are other options such as Trello or Notion which offer simple graphics so that your project doesn’t end up looking like a detective’s mood board.
Marketing online is a whole new kettle of fish. Affiliate links, brand deals, engagement, website footfalls – it all needs to be managed. A good application will keep track of all these marketing techniques and present to you, simply, how effective they are.
Hubspot is a great application for online marketing. Its free CRM basic level can offer contact management, supervised business task assignment and deal creation. You get basic marketing, sales, and service features that can be upgraded with paid plans. It offers split testing, content hosting, communications within a sales team and with customers as well as tracked goals and targets. It also offers 300 integrations of applications such as Gmail, Microsoft Outlook and Zapier.
Other applications like Buffer and Hootsuite offer scheduled posting to social media and Yelp for Business tracks activity on your Yelp page.