5 small business apps that will empower your productivity

March 24, 2014

Technology helps small business owners take control of their tasks. The five apps below can help you manage your business.

Running a small business is quite a balancing act.  Entrepreneurs and company owners are continually pulled in the different directions of managing, administering, marketing, selling and producing.  Each of these is important and can’t be ignored and each demands dedicated time if you’re going to do them successfully. Since ignoring these functions isn’t an option, the next best idea is to streamline them as much as possible.  Getting things done faster and with the same or better accuracy is a small business owner’s best friend, with technology running a close second in the BFF department.  Put all this together and you get a handful of apps geared for maximizing productivity. These apps are helpful because small business owners need to spend time in the clouds, looking forward in their business, rather than in the weeds, working on the day-today of their business.

Below we’ve put together a list of five apps that will empower productivity within your small business.

Pocket You know this scenario: You’re in line at the post office so you whip out your phone and start surfing.  Just as you find a superb piece on industry benchmarks or wacky-yet-accessible marketing it’s your turn at the postal window, so you quickly put away your phone – and lose that great article.  Argh! That’s where Pocket comes in.  A bookmarking app that lets you store articles and videos for later, Pocket is made all the more useful because you don’t have to be connected to the Internet to read what you’ve saved.  Even better, Pocket syncs across your devices so you can start an article on your laptop and finish it on your phone.

Any.do The to-do list has long been the bane of small business owners.  Either you spend too much time organizing it, messing up productivity, or you never seem to find the time to make one, leaving you feeling horribly unorganized.  Any.do solves this problem. It’s more than a glorified to-do list, though.  Any.do helps you manage your professional and personal lives by placing tasks into one of the four categories Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming and Someday. Tasks can then be further sorted into folders with notes and contacts added to optimize organization.  The feature, Any.do Moment works as a nifty day planner, listing each day’s to-do list and asking you to quickly mark it done, postponed, rescheduled, needs to stay on the list or delete.  You can also call, text or e-mail contacts directly from the app and sync tasks from your smart phone to your home computer.

Asana Asana is a collaboration God-send for businesses that operate virtually – and even those with offices – because it makes collaboration on team projects easier with robust task management.  Users can create tasks with due dates and assign them to others, add notes and attach files, create internal checklists and use comments to communicate with teammates.  Tasks can be grouped by project so team members can brainstorm, assign subtasks and work toward accomplishing their goals. Asana is a more powerful task manager because it shows projects side-by-side, completely eliminating the hassles of digging up e-mails scattered across weeks and missed messages. In short, Asana makes project management easier by keeping everything in one place.

Dragon Dictation  It’s true that your smartphone takes dictation, but that doesn’t mean it’s your best bet.  That honor goes to Dragon Dictation, a voice recognition app powered by Dragon® NaturallySpeaking®.  Of course you can dictate notes and e-mails using Dragon Dictation, but it offers so much more – like the ability to dictate social media status updates right to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  You can also send yourself notes and reminders on the go and it saves you from trying to type accurately on a small touchscreen.

Expensify Expensify tracks and records business expenses and mileage in one handy place – a place that isn’t a raggedy notebook.  Instead of stuffing a box with receipts you can use Expensify to import expenses from your phone, U.S. and international banks and credit cards.  Seamless integration with popular accounting software and integrated direct deposits make Expensify even more valuable to the business owner on the move. Is there a go-to application you use to help you stay productive? Leave the name of the application in the comments section and it may appear in a follow up post on the Hiscox small business blog.