The right app can improve your productivity, but who has time to find it? We’ve made saving time with technology easy by curating a list of apps recommended by fellow small business leaders and productivity experts. These tools will help you waste fewer of your precious minutes on admin tasks, delegate and collaborate seamlessly, and generally run your business more efficiently so you have more time to spend on growing it. 

1. LastPass. Creating unique passwords for all of your devices and accounts is an important element of cyber security, but remembering them can be challenging, and resetting them is time-consuming. Nicole Bandes, CEO of The Productivity Expert, is a time management coach who specializes in helping small businesses work smarter. She recommends LastPass, a digital password manager that securely stores your passwords and automatically signs you in to your accounts across devices. Users create a master password, and then store the rest in the LastPass vault, which uses encryption to keep your information secure.

Pricing: Free to get started. Premium version available for $12 a year.

2. CamScanner. CamScanner turns your phone or tablet into a scanner so you can store and share important documentation. Just snap a picture of paperwork, then convert it into a PDF from your phone. For small business owners, it can be especially useful for managing expenses, says Bandes, who recommends taking a photo of your receipts and saving digital versions to a tool like Google Drive. That sure beats stashing them in a shoebox.

Pricing: Free to get started. Premium version available for $4.99 per month.

3. Asana. The team at FreightCenter, a digital tool for comparing shipping rates, says the app that helps them improve productivity the most is Asana, a project management tool that makes it easier to communicate across departments. Asana is used by both major companies and small businesses to track projects, delegate, and collaborate. “The app allows our leadership team to track tasks, projects, conversations, and notifications anywhere from their mobile device. As a company whose departments are reliant on one another, we need a tool that’s powerful enough to support communication between every department, and Asana gets that done for us,” says Danielle Hutchins, FreightCenter’s public relations specialist.  

Pricing: Free for up to 15 users. Premium services available.

4. Wunderlist. Wunderlist is an alternative to the pen and paper to-do list. It helps you manage tasks, set reminders, and share them across devices and with team members. James Goodnow, an attorney in Phoenix, AZ, was named one of “America’s Techiest Lawyers” in the American Bar Association Journal and speaks frequently to the media about technology law. Apple even selected him as the first lawyer to be featured in one of its commercials. He was an early adopter of digital tools and uses apps to improve productivity daily. “Wunderlist is one of my favorites,” he says. “It’s a simple to-do list and task manager app that helps you get stuff done. It keeps me and my team in sync. Tasks can be assigned, workflow managed, docs and messages exchanged. If you can’t organize your thoughts and tasks among your team, you’re at an immediate disadvantage in the business world.”

Pricing: Free to get started. Premium services available.

5. TapeaCall. “Sometimes a small business owner just needs to remember what was said in a specific conversation,” says Bandes. “TapeACall can provide a quick and convenient way to record cell phone calls so that they can be transcribed by an assistant or stored for future reference.” You also can use the service as a training tool, recording, reviewing, and discussing ways to improve team members’ sales calls. 

Pricing: $7.99 per year.

6. Slack. Slack is an internal messaging tool that is becoming increasingly popular with small businesses. It makes it easy to communicate with your team and to retrieve past conversations.Sam McIntire, founder of Deskbright, an online learning platform for business skills, says he uses Slack for communicating with his team, sharing files, and saving and referencing archives of past discussions. Slack is specifically designed to improve productivity, in part because users cut down on unnecessary emails by chatting directly, in real-time. 

Pricing: Free to get started. Premium services available.

7. Pipedrive. Pipedrive is a simple CRM and pipeline management tool specifically designed for improving sales productivity for small business owners and sales people. Ray McKenzie, founder and principal of Red Beach Advisors, a management consulting group headquartered in Los Angeles, California, uses it to track leads, pull reports, forecast, and assess the performance of his team. He says it is a must-have tech tool for small businesses. It also helps users prioritize tasks by providing a visual dashboard of the activities needed to move leads through the sales funnel.

Pricing: $12 per user per month

Published on: Aug 3, 2016