Over the last few years there has been an explosion of new applications aimed at helping small businesses remain productive and competitive. But unfortunately there’s just not enough time in the day to evaluate all of them. In an effort to help you weave through the seemingly endless sea of apps we’ve compiled a list of ones that we’ve found to have some potential.
Whether you are in sales mode traveling and managing expenses, or you are at your desk working to be as productive as possible, there is an app for that.
Expensify: Frankly, keeping track of sales related expenses can be a pain. Receipts are jammed in pockets and laptop bags and stored away until you finally have time to sort through them, organize them, and ultimately turn them in to your expense reports. Expensify is aimed at simplifying this somewhat painful process. Users have the ability to take photos of receipts and link credit cards to their accounts to automatically record the charges and place on an expense report. The entire process is quick and easy, and most importantly can save time and help eliminate errors. Expect to pay between 5$ – $10 per month based on the features needed. The app works on all phones, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone and on all desktops.
TripIt: The TripIt app helps to consolidate all of your travel plans into individual trip based itineraries, which makes locating travel confirmations and information much easier. Adding trip specifics to the application is as easy as forwarding your confirmation emails to a Tripit email address. And the application works with all of your travel information, regardless of what website you used to purchase your ticket. Through the app you’re able to check your flight detail, get directions and even see local weather information. Additionally, with push notifications, you can be notified of flight delays, gate changes and even cancellations. Although there is a free version of TripIt, the Pro version has more of the features needed for business and only runs $4.09 per month. The app works on iPhones, iPads, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7, as well as Macs and PCs.
Slack: Slack is a private social platform similar to Yammer and Ning, though specifically built to coordinate communication within teams. You can easily create public and private channels for different team members to collaborate, as well as send private messages directly to individuals similar to a traditional chat app. Sharing documents is as easy as dragging and dropping them on to the conversation. Additionally you can link other applications so notifications can be received and displayed directly in Slack. This helps to minimize popping back and forth between different apps. The app is also available on any browser, and on iOS and Android devices for easy access when on the go.
Rescue Time: This app can help even the most efficient of us get more productive. Whether it’s through setting notifications for how long you work on particular tasks, blocking time draining apps, or reporting on how you spend your time throughout the day. The app gives you a number of powerful tools to help remain focused and effective. By running in the background of your workstation, Rescue Time can be used as frequently or infrequently as needed so it provides a great productivity check whenever you feel it is necessary. The app works for Mac, PC, Android and Linux and the premium version costs $72 per year with the first four months free.
IFTTT: Is an app that lets you combine two different online products to make pretty much any online personalized service. For example let’s say you want a reminder to put on sunscreen when the UV index is high, or mute your phone at bedtime. You can even trigger a phone call to yourself to avoid an awkward situation, automatically tweet your recent blog post, keep profile pictures in sync between social platforms, pretty much anything you can think up. IFTTT plugs in to a number of online applications allowing you to create recipes for performing almost endless combinations of alerts and actions. With some thought and creativity you can automate hundreds of little time consuming tasks you normally do manually throughout the day. The app is also available on any browser, and on iOS and Android de