I don’t know how I could of ever lived without it.
We’ve all thought it before. It’s a cool feeling — uncovering a new solution that makes your life easier. And when it comes to small business management, productivity is the name of the game.
In this post, let’s look at our top 10 favorite productivity tools for managing your small business. There’s sure to be at least one tool on this list that will make you wonder how you managed your small business without it. The best part is that every tool listed below either comes with a free trial or has a free version.
And since we’re talking productivity here, let’s dive right in.
Top Tool #1: Concur
Let’s kick things off with a little self-promotion. Please feel free to clap along for the next few lines while we toot our own horn. But seriously, if we’re talking about solutions that promote productivity, for businesses both large and small, why not Concur? After all, we’ve made similar lists.
Compared to the labor intensive way of managing expenses on an expense report form, Concur’s expense management solution is a complete 180° in terms of efficiency.
For starters, you can manage your expenses anytime, anywhere, especially if you use our mobile app. And with our automation capabilities, you save tons of time. Concur’s paperless solution lets you capture electronic transaction data directly from vendors, and line-item details can be automatically uploaded into expense reports. The automatic payment capability enables you to quickly transfer payments and reimbursements.
So yes, we made our own list. And yes, we’re #1. Surprised?
Top Tool #2: QuickBooks
If you manage a small business, chances are you’re already using QuickBooks because it’s the most popular small business accounting software. QuickBooks is well known for its user-friendly experience that saves you time, so you can focus on running your business.
With QuickBooks, you can track almost everything. You can pull data directly from your bank and other Excel files, and also gather all your tax info in a centralized place.
There are literally hundreds of business critical applications that offer integration with QuickBooks, including the Concur Connector for QuickBooks – an integrated expense solution that pulls your Concur expense data into QuickBooks with one click. Easy.
Top Tool #3: Square
Credit cards are the most popular form of payment today ‑ 180 million Americans carry credit cards, and 66% of in-store transactions are made with credit, debit or pre-paid cards. Square makes it easy for anyone to not only accept credit cards, but accept them anywhere.
Square’s secure card reader fits right in your pocket and attaches to any mobile device. The app is easy to setup, the pricing is straightforward and you also get paid fast. Funds from swiped payments are deposited directly into your bank account within 1 – 2 business days.
Top Tool #4: TripIt
Most of us love being in cool places for travel and business, but getting there, on the other hand, is not always so “cool.” You’ve got stacks of itineraries and reservations, lists of people to see and things to do, and sorting through logins of multiple travel-related sites, then tracking down email confirmations can be an organizational nightmare.
TripIt organizes all your travel plans into an itinerary that stores all your trip details in one place. Simply forward your confirmation emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and TripIt will automatically build an itinerary for your trip that you can access anytime, either online or from a mobile device. No need to sort through emails or paper itineraries to find what you need, with TripIt it’s all in one place.
TripIt also includes some information you wouldn’t expect like maps and weather information. And it’s not just for flight and hotel information either – rental cars, rail, hotels and restaurant reservations are just a few of the things you can forward to your master itinerary and sync with your calendar, “automagically.” You can also easily share your trip information with business partners and coworkers.
Top Tool #5: TripLingo
Language barriers are another frustrating part of travel. But thanks to TripLingo, you’ll be able to overcome language barriers and build rapport with the locals. You get access to over 1000 phrases, a voice translator and even the ability to speak with a human translator if you wish. And, it’s not just language. TripLingo also helps you navigate the local culture so that you can avoid faux pas. It’s always easier to be proactive in connecting with the locals when you learn how to act in certain situations.
Top Tool #6: PingOne
With PingOne all your employees can use a single sign-on to securely connect to all the applications they need from any device. Your IT staff will love it too because they can manage user access for all applications from one dashboard.
PingOne works with thousands of apps, including Salesforce.com, Dropbox, Concur, WebEx, Box, Office 365 and more. No need to change your password for all of your accounts just change it on PingOne. One and done.
With PingOne, your employees increase accessibility and save time, while your IT staff gets the added efficiency and security of managing user access from a centralized location.
Top Tool #7: Evernote
Evernote makes it easy to remember virtually everything from your life and then store it virtually, so that you can access it anywhere, from any device. You can also capture your “notes” in a variety of formats like photos, audio recordings and web clippings.
There’s no comparison for Evernote in terms of how well it helps you organize, find and edit your notes. Plus, Evernote integrates with many other third-party tools and useful apps, including, you guessed it, Concur. When you enable Evernote integration, Concur automatically syncs your images to your Concur Receipt Store, making it easy to snap a photo of your receipt while you are out with business partners and file your expense report later.
Top Tool #8: HootSuite
Communicating via social media channels, whether for personal or business reasons, is part of daily life for most of us. Social media engagement has rapidly become more important for effective small business management.
So how do you make sure you’re not dissing your friend on Facebook, while providing a timely response to an industry thought leader on Twitter, while updating your company profile on LinkedIn, while making sure your new company blog post publishes at the right time in WordPress, while pushing optimized content to your Google + page… (whoa, that’s a lot) without spending the whole day on social media sites?
The answer is HootSuite.
HootSuite helps you save your sanity and improve productivity by managing all your social networks in one location. Plus, you and your team can listen, engage and measure from one simple dashboard.
Top Tool #9: Taxi Magic
Few things are more frustrating than being left high and dry. If you’ve been left looking for a ride, or wondering where on earth your ride is, you know this situation all too well.
Taxi Magic makes managing and booking rides painless. You can book in seconds with the mobile app for immediate or future needs. You can also track your taxi by following it on a map either on your mobile device or the web, meaning you can keep working until your cab actually arrives.
No cash? No problem.
You can pay directly with the Taxi Magic app on your smartphone when you register a credit card in the secure environment.
Top Tool #10: MailChimp
MailChimp is all about accessibility and ease of use. It works on desktop browsers, tablets and mobile devices, so you can manage your small business communication from anywhere, anytime.
No need to be an expert coder or Photoshop guru, MailChimp’s campaign editor lets you simply drag and drop your words and images in content blocks to get the exact design you’re looking for, without the need for a designer. Collaboration is easy, too. You can rearrange a version of the layout and get feedback from your coworkers within the editor.
Looking for more great tech tools to help your small business management? Check out our app center.
What small business tool do you use today that you can never imagine your life without?