The best apps for business
Tools to help you do everything from keeping a neat to-do list to delegating tasks to employees and staying on top of your business expenses.
Equipping your organisation with the right digital tools is the best way to ensure a successful and thriving business. Determining which app would best suit your business depends on your own preference as well as the type of structure you are looking for. With that in mind, we have put together a list of several of the most popular and effective apps for small-to-medium-sized business.
1. ZOOM Cloud Meetings
ZOOM Cloud Meetings is a full-featured cloud-based online meeting platform that allows HD-quality video conferencing and simple group messaging. It works across different platforms, including web-based and desktop clients, tablets, and smartphones. It supports screen sharing with real-time whiteboard tools and allows document collaboration via Dropbox and Box.
The open version of the app offers free 45-minute video conferencing services for up to 25 participants and unlimited airtime for one-to-one meetings (between 2 people). For those looking to hold video conferences that extend over 45 minutes with multiple participants, a subscription service is offered with a monthly fee attached for the use of unlimited airtime.
Collecting bits and pieces of information on the web is simple with Evernote. You can then tag them for easy searching, and alter any of them by adding, condensing, or embedding pictures, tables, audio, video, and the like. You can also use Evernote for organic notes and journaling, to-do lists, recipes, contacts, and even storage for Tweets or emails that you want to keep on hand.
The basic version of Evernote is free, but the business version with several added features (such as administrator controls and unlimited space for uploads) has a cost of around R50 per user.
If logging billable hours is a necessity for your business then look no further than Toggl. With a simple click, you track every second of your time throughout your working day. You can track as many projects or clients as you want, view colourful graphs, export timesheets, and sync your numbers with several project management apps.
Best of all, Toggl is usable throughout a single business, allowing members of various teams to be divided into different groups to stay organised. Toggl is free for up to five users, while a Pro version allows unlimited users and adds billable rates, sub-projects, and other features for around R60 per user, per month.
If you love checklists, then Asana is the app for you.
Projects can be easily prioritised within its flexible interface, and a dashboard charts your progress visually. You can chat with team members within those tasks, assign due dates, attach documents or other files, and choose what kind of notifications to receive.
The app integrates with an impressive number of other services, including Evernote, Google Drive, Box, Slack, MailChimp, WordPress, and ZenDesk. The basic version of Asana is free for up to 15 users and offers a number of usable features for small businesses, while a paid version is available for larger operations.
Slack offers an alternative to more popular messaging apps such as Skype by allowing for easy filtering and searching to help you find what you need. You can create channels for just about any conversation theme: particular projects or clients, general chat, or whatever else works best for your small business.
Notifications are easily customised, which is useful for when you want to stay in the loop yet filter out unnecessary noise. The best part is that basic Slack is free for an unlimited number of users. More advanced features, including unlimited searches and app integration, come at a cost, though.
6. Vodacom Business Booster
The Vodacom Business Booster app lets you run your business wherever you are so you can get your admin done anywhere without having to go back to your office, assisting small businesses to fast track into the digital age.
Once the app is installed you are able to monitor business performance over time, make staff payments on the go, send quotes and invoices and accept card repayments. Visit Vodacom online to register.
7. Connected Farmer
Vodacom's Connected Farmer app links farmers and agribusiness to potential buyers and services. This means the farmer can see at any time the current market prices for his or her products, and agribusinesses can easily see that the farmer has produce to sell. Connected Farmer also offers information such as weather forecasts and helpful tips via SMS - so the farmers don't even need a smartphone or internet access to benefit.