3 Apps Entrepreneurs Use to Get Things Done
Running your own business means staying on top of everything, from the momentous to the mundane. Especially if your operation is small—maybe even a solo endeavor—you need smart, cost-effective tools to manage your enterprise: an easy way to handle finances, a helpful guide to setting and reaching goals, an ever-present task manager to keep you organized and productive. Here are three apps that entrepreneurs trust to manage these essentials every day.
FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting app that takes the intimidation out of many tasks that keep a small business running: invoicing, receiving payments, tracking time, managing expenses and preparing for tax time. The interface is clean, colorful and easy to use. And if you need help, FreshBooks offers free telephone support from real, live humans who answer when you call or email.
You can use FreshBooks from a desktop or laptop computer, as well as mobile devices. The mobile app includes features of particular value to workers on the go. Start the built-in timer, and FreshBooks will track the minutes you spend doing billable work. Tap the expense icon, and you can capture expense data on the fly—including a photo of your receipt.
Debra B. McCraw is a freelance writer who appreciates how many tasks this app simplifies for her. “It helps me track my time, manage my contacts—both clients and potential clients—and send quotes and invoices,” she said. “It also automatically emails people at times that I specify, reminding my clients that payments are due or overdue. I’m a one-person business, but FreshBooks makes me look and feel like I have a professional finance function.”
Productivity Wizard is a goal-setting and planning tool that anyone can use to get things done. And if you’re self-employed—with no one asking for your performance plan or development goals—this app could be just the thing to move you and your business toward positive results.
The app walks you through a simple process of naming goals and setting target dates for achievement. Then, based on those goals, you create an action plan by scheduling specific activities required to meet your goals. As you work your plan, you can check off completed activities, or—if circumstances change—you can edit, pause or delete them.
Productivity Wizard has changed the way photographer Jen Magnuson uses her time. “I used to have a massive to-do list that wasn’t really focused on an outcome,” said Magnuson. “I was spending time on many things that did nothing to move me toward my goals.”
Using the app helped her redefine her work and get practical about workload.
“The app sends me reminders, tracks what I have and haven’t done and asks me to enter feedback on what kept me from getting something done,” she said. “I thought I could do way more in a day than is actually possible. Seeing what I missed helped me become more realistic. It also helps me decide what to outsource, where to ask for help, what to just stop doing and how to approach things I dislike doing.”
Nozbe is a task management system that helps individuals and teams get organized and get things done. By keeping your to-do list right in front of you, wherever you are, it trains you to make note of what needs to be done, prioritize tasks, manage projects and finish work fast.
Jeannie Walters uses Nozbe to stay on top of her responsibilities as CEO of 360Connext, a global customer experience firm with remote workers in multiple locations.
“Days get so hectic,” said Walters. “My natural tendency is to write things on sticky notes and then get distracted. But with Nozbe I’m learning new habits. When I think of things to do, I can get them out of my head and into Nozbe via my mobile phone or tablet—right when I think of them. My ideas are never lost because Nozbe is always with me.”
The system is ever present because of its flexibility to work with any device or operating system. You can access it through a website or through apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPad or iPhone.
Nozbe allows collaboration; teams share projects and tasks. But Walters uses it independently. “I actually like having my own private place where I can collect whatever comes to mind without worrying about context for other people.”
Small businesses bring big challenges. Apps like these help entrepreneurs manage finances, increase productivity and learn smarter work habits. And there’s more where they came from. Next time your hectic schedule offers a little breathing room, search your favorite app store for helpful tools. With more than 1.5 million apps on the market, you’re bound to find something you can trust.