If there’s one thing we’ve learned from a year of work from home, it’s that convenience is king. The less hassle, the better. This was true for many things BC (Before Covid), but an easy routine or workflow is now more important than ever. If you’re a small business owner, this is especially true!
As a small business owner, you have a million and one things to focus on! You need the very best small business apps. Anything that saves time or automates a menial process is a godsend! But there are a number of questions that arise when shopping for the right tool or app. Like... What types of software are helpful for small businesses? What small business tasks can be automated? Which app has the cutest logo?
With these questions in mind, we wanted to find out what software and tools make managing small businesses easier. So we asked our network for examples of business tools for SMBs—the apps they couldn’t live without. We found four types of apps popular among small business owners and operators. And so, we present seven great business apps, and the types of small business owners who use them!
The Planners: Business Owners’ Favorite Calendar Apps
The shift to working from home has made organization even more crucial than before. Workflow is more segmented, and energy comes at a premium. A small business owner or operator must manage their time even more carefully than before... Enter the calendar apps!
Genevieve Ridley stays organized with HubSpot, the marketing, sales, and customer service app. Ridley, the Ethics Reporting Consultant at Whistleblower Security Inc., says, “I could not live without my calendar booking tool with Hubspot.” She relies on the booking function in the trusted app to keep her schedule on track, and told us she really likes how well it works with other apps she uses—like Outlook and Zoom.
Brian Crew tells us about the great control he has over his time with Calendly, the personal scheduling tool. Specifically, how simple it makes booking a meeting. Crew explains: “People can go in [and] see my availability, and book a call right into my calendar. The control is great. Best is, they can reschedule, without ever talking to me.” Calendly lets Crew easily connect with his clients, and saves them both time. He doesn’t have to chase his clients down over the phone —no more meetings about meetings!
Now he just needs a cool graphic to show what the meeting’s about…
The Designers: Business Owners’ Favorite Graphic Design Apps
Design allows a business to tell a story without writing a word. But design can be pretty darn time consuming for small business owners and operators. Luckily, we’ve found out about a couple of apps that make design a snap!
Virtual assistant and consultant Tracie Hicks tells us Canva is the solution to her design problems. Canva is a free graphic design app, with tons of templates for both social media posts and other miscellaneous branding. Plus it’s super easy to use! What’s more, you’re not restricted to existing layouts. Insert your own images, customize fonts, change themes… It’s the perfect tool for newcomers to design!
For professional designers, however, Canva may not be enough. Social media and branding is all well and good, but what about websites? And what if you have a team of designers? For CandidateX co-founder Man Wong, Figma has “been a life saver.” Wong uses Figma because it’s an advanced collaborative design tool that allows designers to work together on more complicated tasks, such as website wireframing or UI design.
Big projects like that require teamwork, though. If only there was an app for that...
The Collaborators: Business Owners’ Favourite Teamwork Apps
With most teams working remotely, facilitating good teamwork is more important than ever. But that can be a hassle! Presenting information of any kind can be difficult over Zoom. And small business owners deserve better. Enter Gnowbe.
Designed with businesses in mind, Gnowbe helps you make training and onboarding more fun and effective, and it helps you keep all learning materials in one convenient place. It’s a classroom-cum-break room, if you will. Danica V. Meredith, the Managing Director of Constellations Consulting, describes Gnowbe as “a microlearning platform for employee experience.” She likes Gnowbe because it fosters a sense of community, and keeps teams together even when they’re apart.
Of course, another way to keep a team tight-knit is to give them something clear to focus on. The best way to do that is to properly present information… say, on a whiteboard.
Alright, not the best segue. That probably could’ve been done better by drawing an arrow on something like Miro. Matt Ballantine, RHP Group’s Head of TnT (that’s Technology & Transformation, not the explosive) says Miro is a “wonderful whiteboarding tool enabling people to work together remotely.” And, best of all, the cloud-based collaboration tool and digital whiteboard is perfect for small and medium businesses.
The Accountable One: A Business Owner’s Favourite Productivity App
No, there was no clever segue into this final section. A jump or kickstart would be great for productivity right about now. Something to keep us all on track... Something like Streaks! (There’s your clever segue!).
Streaks is, according to their website, “the to-do list that helps you build good habits.” It’s a bold claim, but Diana Goodwin backs it up! Goodwin tells us how she stumbled on Streaks while looking for new productivity apps. The tool offers her task reminders, progress tracking, and a beautiful UI to boot. What’s more, Streaks is versatile. Goodwin says it’s “intuitive to use, and can be applied to any habit you want to build.” It ended up being so useful, Goodwin managed to get into the habit of writing for thirty minutes each day. Clearly, there’s something to be said for this app!
And there you have it! Seven tools for a whole range of SMB workflow types. Whether collaboration or creativity is your focus, there’s something on this list for you. Try one, and discover how the right app can improve your small business and your work-from-home life!