If you’re like many business owners, you have enough to keep you busy without having to worry about learning the latest digital trends. Even if you love technology, keeping your technology up to date can be a pain in the butt sometimes.
As a business owner, I understand your pain. I have good news, however! There are apps out there that are available on your Android, iPhone or tablet that can actually make your life easier. And when you run a business, finding ways to increase efficiency - and save your sanity - should always be a priority.
Here are 5 apps I use on a regular basis to improve my productivity and the productivity of our staff, and that also improve the experiences we have with our business partners and customers.
LastPass is a very important and handy tool, especially if you subscribe to several websites that impact your business’s production. This system stores all website login information, addresses, credit card details and other passwords. To use this cloud-based password manager tool, all you have to do is remember a single master password to access a secure vault that holds the above information.
You can secure your data with a fingerprint login, mobile pin app unlock and a two-factor authentication.
As a business owner, you know the importance of protecting your online accounts, as well as any sensitive data of your customers. LastPass allows you to manage your passwords for multiple websites, but makes it more convenient since you only have to remember one master password.
Price: If you are a one-person company, you can use LastPass for free. There also are a handful of premium options that allow more users and additional benefits, such as IT-level control to monitor password behavior. Depending on the plan you choose, the price can range from free to $6 per user, per month.
More and more businesses are allowing employees to work remotely, either in part or completely. In fact, one study found nearly 63 percent of companies have remote workers.
Some companies are even fully remote or virtual, allowing every employee to work out of a personal office space. Even if remote workers aren’t part of your company’s structure, chances are, you communicate with other companies or customers who aren’t located in your same city - maybe even state or country.
That’s where Zoom becomes handy. This video conferencing software is great for staff conference calls, client meetings and even presentations or webinars, thanks to full HD broadcasting. Zoom also records each video so that a conversation or event is captured, and not lost.
You can use Zoom for a simple conference call with multiple users, or take advantage of the video conferencing or web conferencing features.
Price: For basic services, an account is free. Prices for other packages range from about $15 to $20 per month, per host.
Slack offers collaboration software, offering a single place for messaging, tools and files. This is a great program for businesses that have multiple projects or clients, since channels can be divvied up by team, project, client or any other relevant topic.
If you hate lengthy email chains, this is the perfect app for you since the channels organize messages among team members and keep side conversations from derailing the project at hand.
Slack also offers voice or video calls, as well as integrated file sharing, direct messaging capabilities, and integration of other tools like Google Drive.
Price: Free for limited features, then prices range from $8 to $15 per user, per month (less if you pay annually), depending on the features you need.
Facebook Pages Manager
If your business is on Facebook, it’s essential to use the Facebook Pages Manager app. Facebook is a great marketing tool for your business because it offers you the opportunity to target your audience, add an additional revenue stream and network with potential clients.
After all, 79% of people online use Facebook. But having a Facebook page won’t do your business a lot of good unless you are engaging, which includes interacting with your fans by responding to their questions and comments in a timely manner.
Facebook Pages Manager allows you to manage your Facebook page from your phone or other device. This includes posting updates, reading and replying to messages, and getting alerts about any activity on your business’s page. Manager also allows you to link your Facebook and Instagram pages together so that you comment on both pages at the same time.
If you’re like me and want to track how our Facebook page is performing, Facebook Pages Manager also allows you to track promotions and activity so you can use that information to build your business.
Price: Free! Anyone who has a Facebook page can download the app for free.
Google Drive is one of the easiest ways to file share and stay organized. One of the best aspects is you access your drive from anywhere - whether you’re on your computer at work or home, on your phone, or on a tablet.
Google Drive is part of Google’s cloud-based office suite. It includes many features, but some of the most popular include a word processor called Google Docs, spreadsheets called Google Sheets, and a form builder called Google Forms.
The suite also offers opportunities for collaboration since more than one person can work on a document at once, and provides add-ons like mapping sheets. Its basic edition offers storage as well, but you can upgrade to a Business or Enterprise edition for additional storage.
Price: Free for the basic version, which works just fine for smaller businesses. But if you’re looking for more storage and administration controls, prices range from $6 to $25 per user, per month.
Technology can be a pain sometimes, but it can also make your business run more efficiently and make your life, as a business owner, a little bit easier. These 5 apps - LastPass, Zoom, Slack, Facebook Pages Manager and Google Drive - are among my top choices for increasing productivity and organization in the workspace.
What are some of your favorite apps you can’t live without? Share your favorites below!
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!