The New Low-Cost Employee: Business Apps Made to Work for You

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Apps Made to Work for You

A quick trip to any app store gives way to tens of thousands of applications to help small business owners with everything from product development to social media. With so many sophisticated options available, finding the right applications can leave a small business owner feeling like a dunce. Although the army of applications may seem brainy and unapproachable, they are made to work for you.

A great application is like a great employee: reliable, easy to work with, adaptable and – if you’re lucky – you get them at a good price.

Some applications are available in the cloud while others are downloadable software,but rest assured, they are all designed to help make your business faster, smarter and business-ier. Many applications are tailor made for SMEs and allow easy management of accounting, document creation, data management and organization of client information all held safely within a securely encrypted platform.

Now, let’s start with the basic needs.

Productivity

Working at an SME means you get to wear a lot of hats while fulfilling a number of core and peripheral responsibilities. Employees must be flexible, mobile and organized across their activities. Enter Evernote. This simple and intuitive application will store web-pages, take notes, hold photos, create to-do lists and send the user voice reminders synching it all across devices on-the-go. Tasks and notes once entered become searchable from any location allowing the user to nimbly organize and respond with the strength and memory of an elephant. Oh, and it’s free!

Accounting

When a business is born, accounting processes tend to be created ad-hoc and modified as a company grows and needs change. It’s difficult to know what kind of accounting system will work best in three to five years but no matter what tangent your business takes, payroll will almost always be a reality. For advanced payroll management, Intuit Online Payroll Plus is the number one online payroll provider. Available for $39.00 this affordable system allows you to easily pay employees via direct deposit, pay payroll taxes, and file payroll tax forms.

Security on the go

It’s a mobile world (see: productivity). Accessing important client info when and where we need it isn’t just a luxury anymore – now, it’s a necessity. It keeps us competitive. It keeps us in business. Serving clients and customers from anywhere has become and expectation and doing so securely is implied. VPN Direct (Premium) give users the privacy and security they need while surfing away from home. Requiring no bandwidth at all, this application encrypts traffic as it exits user computers cloaking data from outside viewers in both open and locked networks. Available for $9.99 it costs more to keep your data secure than to buy a pair of lattes.

Social media management

For whatever reason, pockets of social media resisters remain. They’re the businesses that have no webpage or social media accounts and their only online presence is at yellowpages.com. For the remaining 99.9%, connections and communications in the social media universe have become as common place as photocopiers, email and coffee breaks. Now familiar friends like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and the “next one” are powerful tools but, without a strong administrative leader, these systems can run amuck. They need to be organized, tracked and managed along with the rest of the elements that make up your business. Buffer allows users to harmonize sharing their efforts shipping out pictures, articles, and everything else from multiple accounts from any web browser using any mobile device as scheduled by the user. This free application also provides detailed analytics revealing the best times and ways to reach an audience. Sharing can be controlled by a single person or an entire marketing team delivering a CRM or B2B strategy.

A new way to view apps

Applications are like the neat little personal assistants and subject matter experts we all we wish we had on call. They may seem complicated or overly complex at times, but once we learn how to use them they keep track of all the little details and organize them for us, so we humans can actually find time do our jobs. With most offered at no or low cost, SME’s need to get as many of these little experts working with their teams as possible.

 

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