My FIVE Favorite Apps for Small Business Owners
Isn't technology amazing? Being a busy small business owner, mom, and person in general, my phone is an extension of my body. Am I on my phone a lot? I unapologetically respond, "YES!" because I can practically run my business with it. It can do just about EVERYTHING for me! If I could apply lipstick with my phone, I would legitimately have no reason to even carry my purse around. And this is in part thanks to the amazing apps that I use for my personal life and for my business.
A few of these apps have completely changed the way I do business. And a few of them have saved my life. Maybe not literally, but when your computer crashes unexpectedly and the majority of your business is backed up on apps in the cloud, it feels that way! And maybe, just maybe, they will save your life too! You may notice that social media management apps are conspicuously left off this list... only because we will be devoting an entire blog post just to social media management apps in the near future. So without further ado, here are my five favorite business apps that I use on my phone on a DAILY basis, that I think everyone should have and use.
MileIQ- Mileage Tracker
Say adios to the bulky binder and handwritten mileage log you keep tucked between your seats in your car!! If you travel for business, you likely already track your mileage. But if you're not, you are missing out on a huge potential tax deduction (now, I am no CPA, so of course, please check with your tax professional on all the details for your business). MileIQ makes it SO EASY. It automatically tracks each "drive" and allows you to categorize it as business or personal, and then further specify the purpose of the trip if you choose. In real time, you can see the total dollars worth of business deductions you accumulating for mileage, and you can download a report each month for your records. It's UNREAL to see how quickly those dollars add up, even when you're just running around town picking up office supplies, or for the occasional evening event! Makes me wish I'd found this app sooner. MileIQ is free up to 40 Drives a Month or $5/month for Unlimited Drives.
Dashlane- Password Manager
If you spend any time online or do any online shopping at all, you have certainly accumulated a few usernames and passwords for different websites. If you're online all the time and/or manage an online business like me, you might have A LOT (or 396 in my case!). Dashlane saves your usernames and passwords for EVERY WEBSITE YOU VISIT AND LOG INTO so you don't have to remember 396 different combinations!! All you have to remember is ONE mack-daddy master password, and Dashlane does the rest. I'll reference this a few more times in this post, but when my computer crashed last month, Dashlane totally saved me. I didn't lose access to my "password spreadsheet" that a lot of folks I know have- thank goodness I had upgraded to the paid version, and all my logins were saved within Dashlane and I was able to access any and all accounts on my phone while I was setting up my new computer. Dashlane has a free version for password management on one device, or $5 a month to save passwords across unlimited devices.
Dropbox-Secure File Sharing and Storage
After losing a lot of files that I had backed up on my hard drive, I will be backing up EVERY SINGLE file I create in at least one, and likely two additional places. I had been using Dropbox for years to back up all the priceless pictures I take on my phone, but now I use Dropbox to save and share all my business files. And for as many clients as I work with, it's a wonderful collaborative tool. When we post images on social media on behalf of a client, it is far easier to ask them to share a Dropbox folder full of images with us rather than have them email or text us every image they want us to use on social media. We can also share contracts, proposals, documents, and other business files with ease, rather than clogging up our inboxes. It's worth it for the photo storage alone, but it's a smart and responsible option for business file storage as well. Dropbox offers a 30 day free trial, and four different packages for $8.25-20/month based on your needs.
Wunderlist- Task Management System
The mother of all to-do list apps. I am a to-do list ADDICT, and previously, I was a handwritten list kind of girl, but this app is converting me! Wunderlist makes it easy to share your lists and collaborate with everyone in your life! You can organize your lists within different folders- so you can keep your business to-do lists separate from your personal ones, and even create folders for different clients! But the kicker for me, is that you can share the lists with other users. You can create a grocery list and share it with your husband if he's running by the store! Or you could share a project timeline with a fellow team member, and check off each task as they are completed. The options are endless and you don't have to constantly keep a notebook and pen with you anymore! Wunderlist is free, and Wunderlist Pro and Business are $5/month.
Alarm Clock (Yes, just the basic Clock on your phone!)
I know this is a simple one, but I use the alarm clock on my phone for FAR more than just getting up in the morning! If time-blocking is a time management goal for you for 2018, the alarm on your phone can be your best friend. Set the alarm each hour or every other hour to notify you when you need to change tasks. I set my alarm in the afternoon to remind me that it's time to pick up the kids (how many times have you been in the zone and forgotten what time it was?!), which has saved me more times than I can count! Set your alarm to give you an afternoon affirmation (thinking that needs to be a hashtag?!) or an inspirational pep talk as you open your eyes in the morning. The alarm clock can be a tool for time management, for simple reminders, and for confidence building! And it's all FREE and already installed on your phone!
What are your favorite business apps?
**And disclaimer- this post is not an ad and I have not been paid to promote these apps, I just love them and use them and have been very happy with them!**