Did you know that one in three Americans has nothing saved for retirement? Experts recommend having five times your annual salary saved by age 50. That’s a lot of Frappuccinos. But those Frappuccinos could actually help you save for retirement with a neat app called Acorns.
As an entrepreneur it’s important to run your business cost and time efficiently (work hard not smart). You’re most likely a one-man, or woman, shop, and all business owners starting out know you’ve got better things to do than to pour endless hours into the mundane and administrative tasks of your business. Hiring someone can be expensive and in the beginning unpractical. That’s where apps come in.
Apps can act like micro workers. They can automate portions of your business and pick up the slack where you can’t, or don’t particularly want to. Most apps (and recurring monthly subscriptions) offer a free version or are very inexpensive. Considering the immense work output you gain from using apps, I highly recommend implementing them in your business. Even with the use of multiple apps, you can get all that you need for significantly less than the cost of hiring someone and you will save precious hours each month.
Here is a list of some of my favorite apps:
I use QuickBooks Online (QBO) for all my bookkeeping needs and prefer it among the competition. It handles all of my banking transactions, invoicing, and reporting. QBO can also handle payroll but I have found they are more expensive than other service providers. The mobile app let’s you see your business’s current financial condition and you can take pictures of your receipts and attach them right to the corresponding transaction for sound record keeping. The category recognition is pretty accurate and the reconciliation tool makes reconciling accounts fast and easy. QuickBooks is the most widely used accounting software in the world among small businesses and if you ever need help with it there is an extensive network of ProAdvisors in place to help you (like me). It’s the best you can get and you can’t go wrong.
Anything Google can be considered best-in-class. The Google Suite of Applications is like the lite version of all Microsoft Office applications. I wish I could replace my Microsoft Office software with Google's, but Google isn’t quite there yet. That being said, for any new entrepreneur, the free suite offered by Google is more than plenty. Unless you’re preparing overly complex spreadsheets, or really need to step up your presentations, it should suffice. In addition, Google Drive is the perfect cloud storage solution for all your files and the efficiency of being able to collaborate with others is truly amazing.
#3 Scanning App
I have no specific recommendations but any scanning app that can efficiently scan documents and upload them quickly to your cloud drives is a winner. You could even use the camera app pre-installed on any smartphone and that would be good enough. I use Office Lens, which is free, and scans up to 10 documents at once. I love the quality but it is not the fastest. Scanning apps often crop out background imagery that you don’t need (like the table you scan your documents on) and are typically clearer than the camera apps pre-installed on most smartphones. Whether in the office or on the road, you need a scanning app for efficient paperless document management.
In today’s technologically driven world we need to be able to get our work done from anywhere. Gone are the days of mailing documents back and forth or e-mailing, printing, signing, scanning, and e-mailing documents back and forth. Consider the use of apps such as Adobe DC or DocHub to get your documents signed (legally binding) fast, easily, and within compliance standards. Professionals all over the world swear by the efficiency you gain from using such platforms and regardless of which one you choose the cost will be well worth it.
Last but not least is one of my favorites, Zapier. This app lets you make Zaps. A Zap brings together two or more apps by triggering events. For example, if a client were to upload a file to my cloud directly, then I could setup Zapier to work between my cloud provider and my e-mail provider to send me an e-mail notification that a file had been uploaded. This is a very basic example of what Zapier can do. I have only scratched the surface of what it can do in my own business, but from what I have experienced, I know it can do so much more to keep my business humming along efficiently. I highly recommend looking into this app for anyone seeking to automate parts of their business.
This list is certainly not all encompassing, but rather some of the highlights of my favorite and recommended apps for any entrepreneur. Your time is valuable and these apps will help you make the most of it, especially in your early days. Check them all out by clicking on the links throughout the post. Most are available across platforms including iOS, Android, Mac, and PC.
What are some of your favorite apps for productivity and efficiency? I would love to hear them in the comments below!