I’m addicted to apps.
It’s a well-known fact I love apps. A few years ago at our company Christmas party I was awarded “Most Likely to Say There’s an App for That.”
Apps are sometimes only seen as time wasters or childish, and some certainly are. But what many business owners don’t realize is the value these different mobile apps and desktop extensions can bring to your business.
So this month I wanted to do something a little different and fun by sharing my top 10 favorite apps that I use for business. I’m pretty sure these apps will be helpful to you, too.
I highly recommend all of them, especially if you want the best tools to help your team be efficient.
We could not track our projects without Trello.
Trello is a project management tool which helps with organizational efficiency. It’s a tool that every business should be using. It’s the perfect place to track your projects, tasks, and an ideal location to communicate future ideas.
It’s super easy to use via a web application or mobile app, and I would argue the mobile app is just as good. We use it to help us run Traction, and create the CEO blog inside of Trello. We use it to store topic ideas and drag and drop them to what stage of production they’re on.
It’s free for the basic version, but we pay for the business one because we use some of the advanced features, such as their unlimited power ups.
Before Trello, we had a terrible system for tracking projects and ideas. Our team tracked things via paper notes, emails, or spreadsheets. It was incredibly easy to lose track of things, and individuals were not working off the same notes.
Trello is great for brainstorming and sometimes when I’m out on the road I pull up my phone and jot down some thoughts.
Right now it’s been helpful as we work on our new building with our team of builders so everyone can easily contribute as we work on the project board together.
The builders put things in, move cards to “Need Approval” section, and then comment underneath.
Trello is great for inter-departmental communication as you can select individual cards to see the description, which team members are assigned, and the project status by using the checklist feature.
You can have private ones, private groups with a few people, or you can make public ones.
It’s just really easy to use. It has due dates for follow-ups and you can add files as attachments. The tool makes it easy for our team to all work together.
There are a lot of different ways to use Trello check out their blog to see more examples: http://blog.trello.com/.
CamScanner is a sweet little app that will make your accountant love you.
I bought the premium version for myself and anyone that has a company credit card has CamScanner on their phone.
It’s pretty simple to use. First, install the app on your phone. Then take a picture of a receipt so the app turns it into a PDF. From there, you simply email that file to your accountant.
Once you send it as a PDF, your accountant can attach that file inside of QuickBooks to track the expense.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this little tool and how much it helps track our expenses. I have to travel a lot for trade shows and company events, and the last thing I want to think about is saving all my receipts.
In the old days, our poor accountant had to scan all the paper receipts manually and that’s if he even got the paper receipt. It balances out that work on the team, or the ones making the purchases. It’s just a better process for everyone.
If I don’t take a picture of the receipt, it’s gone. If I don’t do it right then and there and get it to our accounting team, they won’t get it. Being able to take a quick photo and email it makes our lives easier.
#3 Gmail and Google Calendar
Our company uses Gmail for all of our companies and it’s one of the best tools to manage our email.
We use these tools for all our multiple company email domains and for things like group mailing lists which help us personalize emails.
Gmail is fantastic for managing email from your phone which is key for our team when we’re traveling. It’s quick, you can access from anywhere, and there’s even a business version or you can utilize the free one. We have Office 365 for everyone in our office, but I still prefer to use Gmail.
Tying into Gmail is their calendar. Google Calendar is great for our team to schedule meetings. The calendar function lets us track who has meetings and when, and makes it so you can see everyone’s schedule. Gmail and Google Calendar integrates into lots of different software tools and is fantastic from a security perspective to keep use secure from hackers.
I also don’t have to worry about Google going out of business tomorrow and Google also has an air of professionalism that other email providers just don’t have. Until I find something better, I plan on sticking with Google for the foreseeable future.
#4 Google Drive
Google has lots of fantastic products and the Google Drive is one of them.
We use the Google Drive to store our marketing content, trade show planning documentation, and other company content.
Google Drive is great because it has their version of Word and Excel which is excellent for collaboration. The best thing about Google Drive is they make it easy for you to share these types of files with anyone that has a Google verified email address.
Google Docs will also save previous versions of drafts and allow for multiple edits for team members to make changes.
Business networking is a huge deal and LinkedIn is an extremely professional place to mingle with other professionals.
I use this social media tool to find and research people and build relationships. I’m constantly looking at the recommendations inside the profiles of other business professionals to see if anyone I know has endorsed them. I also use it to find new talent.
You need to have a LinkedIn account because of how important networking is to your business. LinkedIn is a great environment to do that.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, and use it well, my perception of your business will be a negative one. If you’re not utilizing tools to help grow your business by improving how you look to relationships then I may question how you manage your business. I experience similar reservations if a business doesn’t have a website or accept credit cards as a form of payment. To me, it says you hate change, you’re old school, and inefficient. What I mean by that is you’re stuck in your ways to the point of being shortsighted.
If you’re inefficient in this area, how many other parts of your business are you running poorly that are going to cost me money?
If you’re interested in networking, reading great articles, and growing your company, then LinkedIn is a must have.
#6 Google Authenticator
This one is a must have for security.
The Google Authenticator is a dual authentication tool that protects all of the tools we need to log into every day.
The app is fairly simple to use. It gives you a pass code that’s six to eight digits in length. Users then take this pass code and apply it to their username and password and are able to log into Google services or other sites.
You can even use Google Authenticator as an app on your phone which is how our company uses it. People just look at their phone and type in the password and quickly log yourself into secured sites.
# 7 Facebook
You might be confused why I think Facebook is a business app so let me explain.
Facebook has been one of the most significant tools I’ve used in growing my company. The reason it’s important is that business is built on relationships and relationships are built on trust. I use Facebook to build these relationships that benefit our company.
For people to believe in you they have to like you. My goal when at conferences is to network with people, learn about them, and get them to like me. That’s my role as CEO when at conferences. When I leave those trade shows and I’ve connected with people, I add them on Facebook.
When I connect with people I’ve met at conferences and they are able to see pictures of my family, they get to see snippets of my life. This builds a deeper connection and creates a feeling of trust. You’re creating awareness and a bond with that person even though you’re not directly talking to them. You can further develop trusting relationships and friendships using Facebook.
Facebook reveals a lot about you to strangers and helps them feel like they know you better. For instance, they can see that I’m a father, I enjoy having fun as well as get a better understanding of what I value in my life. It’s giving partners a chance to connect and connecting is an invaluable resource.
Another important security app we love is called Passportal.
Passportal keeps your passwords safe and organized.
Passportal is a fantastic tool to store every company password and also remind you when to change them. Passwords can be set to only certain individuals access, including personal and business.
It’s not only for the day to day protection and organization, but we can easily control and track passwords if/when someone leaves our company which helps us keep our data secure.
If your business is using spreadsheets and Word Docs to store passwords, you seriously should consider using this tool.
If you’re looking for the best way to communicate via instant messaging, Slack is it.
We’ve used Trillian and Google Hangouts, but they fall short when compared to Slack. Slack allows for sharing documents, direct and channel messaging, and fun integrations.
Before Slack, we’d have to communicate via email or simple messaging systems. This tool lets all of our team stay in the loop and quickly chat without wandering all over the office.
With email, people’s inboxes get so cluttered that just having the option to message each other in such a detailed way quickly helps us stay in touch with one another.
ScheduleOnce is a must have for scheduling sales meetings and for lead generation purposes.
One of the main ways we use the app is for our sales team to automatically book meetings. With electronic booking, prospects or partners can select a time by viewing your open availability and pick the best time for them.
The worst thing about setting up a meeting with someone is the back and forth of trying to figure out a time. You send a link (or have it embedded in your email) and let them pick a time. The app accesses your Google or Outlook Calendar and lets them see when you’re available to meet.
Easy and done.
I also understand that there are a lot of similar tools that are just as good or maybe even better versus the ones I mentioned. But these are the apps that I like and use that have helped me.
Suggest a topic for me.
Well, those are my main top 10 apps and extensions to use for your business but I know there’s more. If you think I missed one, please tell me! I love hearing from you! Fill out the form to the right of this page and let me know what apps you think I should have included.
Also, let me know any future topics you want me to cover in the future!