If you’ve made getting organised one of your new year’s resolutions, then productivity apps just became your best friend. We take a look at a number of apps that will help you to run your business and your life more efficiently.
Taking (and Finding) Notes
There’s so much to do and remember as a small business owner that it’s impossible to keep it all in your head. That’s where note-taking apps come in. Instead of scribbling a reminder on a yellow sticky note that you can never find when you need it – make a note in an app that lets you access that note from whatever device you want.
Here are three fabulous apps that let you take notes, record audio, store photos, clip web pages and then store everything in one central place that’s accessible from all of your devices.
Evernote – best for taking notes, scanning documents and clipping web pages.
Microsoft OneNote – best for organising thoughts, to-do lists and projects.
Google Keep – best for collecting images, drafting documents and creating checklists.
Whipping Your Inbox into Shape
Keeping up with emails is an ongoing battle for every small business owner. There are now an array of apps that help you to manage your mail without losing your mind.
Sanebox – works its magic from inside your existing email system. You allow Sanebox access to your email account and it automatically starts filtering your inbox. Using algorithms which you can train and override, it only allows “important” email to land in your inbox. The rest are stored in a new folder called SaneLater. Costs $7-36 USD – but it’s really worth it if you get a lot of mail.
Inbox (by Google) – This email app for Android and iOS that pulls all your existing emails into a new interface that focuses on productivity and organisation. Our favourite feature is the ability to “snooze” with one swipe, making an email disappear until a designated time.
Managing and Accessing your Files
As a small business owner you spend your life on the fly – so you want to make sure that your documents are at your finger tips when you need them. Make sure you have a file storing system that enables you to access your files from any device and share files with customers, suppliers or anyone else you may want to collaborate with. Here are the three big boys, all of whom deliver well in both accessibility and sharing.
Dropbox – lets you drag and drop files into your Dropbox folder and they will appear on all your devices. You also have the option to store files in a public folder for easy sharing.
Google Drive – an online productivity suite that can be accessed from any device connected to the Internet. It can also be set up to sync so that files are available offline on multiple devices. Set up for easy sharing and collaboration.
OneDrive – a great place to store all your documents, photos and videos. Because this is a Microsoft service you can be confident that it will play nice with other Office apps.
Managing Your To Do Lists
It’s far too easy for a busy small business owner to drop the ball. Good list management is critical to making sure you meet client deadlines and get paid on time, not to mention remembering to pick up some milk on the way home. Here are a couple of apps that let you manage all your lists in one place.
Wunderlist – this award winning app lets you manage multiple work projects and your personal todo’s all in one place. We love the fact that you can turn emails into actions by simply forwarding them to Wunderlist.
Any.do – is another great task management app that syncs personal tasks, work projects and shared lists to all of your devices.
Getting Contracts and Agreements Signed
It can be all too easy for a small business owner to put signed agreements in the too hard basket. You know you should “get it in writing” but you’re just too busy. E-signature apps let’s you get sign off on employee or supplier contracts, customer invoices or estimates with a simple email. No more printing, scanning or walking documents around town to get signatures.
DocuSign – this app dominates the market so it is likely to be the most familiar to the greatest number of people. A single user can send up to 5 documents for A$10/month. The professional package is A$20 for up to 10 documents per month.
RightSignature – is probably the easiest and fastest way to get documents filled out and signed online. You can get unlimited document sending from a single sender for US$11/month. Mac: