Today’s most efficient businesses are being driven, in part, by apps. The use of apps that integrate with your smartphone, your computer, and the cloud is essential for businesses that want to move away from paper-and-pencil business methods.
The best thing about adopting an app-centric approach to business is that many of the most popular apps have free options or plans. This means that you can take advantage of the benefits they offer and become familiar with their usage without affecting your company’s bottom line. Here are some of the best free apps for small businesses:
What Asana Does: Asana is an app designed to streamline task management for your company. Part of it acts as a calendar where you can create tasks and give them due dates. However, its full potential goes far beyond that. Using Asana, managers can seamlessly pass tasks among employees as different subtasks are completed and the work is reviewed by multiple parties. Asana’s robust system of custom tagging means that you can change the basic app to fit your business’s needs without any trouble. Finally, since all changes to tasks are saved to the cloud, employees can collaborate through Asana no matter where they are on the globe.
What Asana Replaces: Asana is meant to replace more tedious forms of project management, like verbal commands and employee mailboxes. It also streamlines the process for managers, so it’s always clear who in the company is handling a certain task at any given time.
Using Asana for Free: Asana is free for teams of up to 15 members, making it perfect for businesses that have a small number of employees. If you want to add more people to your company’s Asana team, there are paid options for expansion.
What Boxstorm Does: Boxstorm is an app that allows you to track inventory more efficiently than ever before. Using Boxstorm, businesses are able to scan inventory into their database, track quantities and locations, and manage inventory from anywhere through the cloud. What makes Boxstorm truly stand out as a free inventory tracking app, however, is its integration with QuickBooks Online, making it possible for businesses to move seamlessly between comparing inventory and purchase orders for more efficient inventory tracking with fewer mistakes.
What Boxstorm Replaces: Boxstorm replaces pen-and-paper inventory tracking by using a system that’s more efficient, more accessible, and capable of integration with a wide range of other solutions that your business likely uses, including QuickBooks Online.
Using Boxstorm for Free: The free version of Boxstorm allows users to track inventory using the app and integrate their inventory management data with QuickBooks Online. Additional plans give users access to features like tax help, further tracking tags and categories, and stock alerts when you begin to run low on an item.
If this sounds like the kind of free inventory app that your business needs, then you can sign up for Boxstorm today at no charge.
What QuickBooks Does: QuickBooks has dominated the field for accounting software for many years, but now they’re bringing their services to smartphones and tablets with the QuickBooks App. Just like their name indicates, QuickBooks will help you keep track of all of your financial records with speed and ease. Its features include: invoice creation, cloud storage, and the ability to track all of your financial data and keep your books up to date.
What QuickBooks Replaces: QuickBooks replaces pen-and-paper bookkeeping, making it possible to review your books more quickly, compare data for accounting errors, and keep your company’s finances more secure than they would have been in the past.
Using QuickBooks for Free: QuickBooks gives new customers the option to try the software for free for up to 30 days. After that, if you like what you’ve seen, QuickBooks has pricing options ranging from $10/month for one-person startups to $60/month for larger companies.
What Slack Does: Slack is an instant messaging app designed for internal business communications. If you start using Slack for your company, you’ll get your very own Slack channel, meaning that no one outside of the company can see your internal conversations without your permission. Slack is useful for allowing employees to collaborate on projects, even when they’re not in the office together. It also has a social element, allowing employees to chat without raising the sound level in the office to a dull roar. Slack integrates with other apps, such as Asana and Google Docs, making it easy for your team to share work at the touch of a button.
What Slack Replaces: Slack can supplement (or, at times, replace) in-office conversation, phone calls, and even email. By collecting all of these functions in one place, Slack can help you streamline your team’s communication and allow remote employees to collaborate as if they were sitting right next to you.
Using Slack for Free: Slack is available for free with limits on how many messages are stored, how many apps can be integrated, and video calling. These and other features can be unlocked by purchasing a Slack subscription.
What Square Does: If you’ve been to a shop or restaurant lately, you may have been surprised to see the cashier running your credit card through a smartphone or tablet. If this has happened to you, then you’ve likely witnessed Square in action. Square streamlines sales for retail companies by allowing them to use smartphones or tablet computers as their point-of-sale devices. The app stores transaction records digitally, making it possible for companies to search the data for their most loyal customers, see which items are the most popular, and move their retail location.
What Square Replaces: Square is meant to replace standard cash registers and credit card swipers. By integrating these functions into a single app, which can be used on most mobile devices, Square makes sales more efficient and easier to do.
Using Square for Free: If you want to experiment with square for your retail business, then you can get a Square credit card reader for free, which you can easily attach to your smartphone or tablet. Beyond that, Square has a number of pricing models available for your business, depending on how much business you do, the average amount of your customer purchases, and what kind of additional point-of-sale features you’d like.