From unexpected expenses to those mysteriously unaccounted-for hours, danger lurks around every corner in business. And since time is money – and as a small business owner who wear many hats – the last thing you want is to be caught in quicksand. And trust us, quicksand is quite time consuming. Or so we’ve heard.
So – to help you avoid the stuff that eats away at your valuable time, we’ve bundled up all the cool tools available online into one efficiency enhancing mega-list. These are all the business-efficiency apps and tools that we personally use to help manage and grow our clients’ businesses.
Some of these tools are free, while others have a one-time or monthly/yearly fee. However, used correctly, all of them are guaranteed to make your business more efficient and more productive. Meaning they end up paying for themselves.
Just so you know -. we may receive a small fee if you sign up for some of these apps. But we wouldn’t recommend them if we didn’t consider them super-useful.
1. Xero in on automated accounting with Xero
We all know entrepreneurs loathe doing their own paperwork and admin. And every business needs some way of managing their accounts. Xero makes keeping track of your invoicing and reporting simple. Connect it to your bank and set up rules to automate your bookkeeping.
You can monitor your financial health, download your financial statements, create and send invoices, and organise your payroll.
And here’s a tip: It becomes even more powerful when you plug in the ever-growing ecosystem of add-on apps.
2. Track expenses (and do away with paper!) with Receipt Bank
Use Receipt Bank to track business expenditure and never lose a receipt again. Your employees can also use the app to report their own expenses, while administrator controls allow you to specify which ones require approval. No longer will your staff have to wait to be reimbursed via post-it notes! (yes, we’re looking at you…) Oh, it automatically posts expenses to Xero, too.
Using recurring or regular monthly invoices? Setup your own direct debit system via GoCardless. GoCardless automatically collects the amount invoiced, deposits it in your account, and then creates the correct transactions within Xero. You won’t have to lift a finger.
Alternatively, if you take payment when you carry out work onsite, set up Squared. They provide mobile card readers for those that want to take payment by card.
4. Provide access to your calendar online via Calendly
If you find yourself constantly yo-yoing back and forth when trying to organise meetings, give ‘your people’ access to your calendar with Calendly. This app automatically connects to your diary and shows appointments in set blocks, like 30 minutes, or one hour. Your client simply selects a free slot that suits and it’s automatically entered into your diary, ready for your approval. How great is that?
5. Create stylish adverts quickly using Canva
Quality graphic design can be expensive for a new business. You might not be too bad at designing yourself, but you’re just not sure how to turn your ideas into reality. Sound familiar? Canva enables anyone to become a designer, by allowing you to draw, drag and drop images, right in your browser, phone or tablet. You can manipulate objects with ease, and there are loads of templates in case you get stuck. Canva starts off as a free product as well, but you can upgrade to Canva for Work which will store your brand colours and logo and let you add team members to the mix as well.
6. Give your social media a boost with AdEspresso!
Everyone advertises on Facebook – right? OK, if you don’t, then don’t feel like you’ve missed the boat. With a little bit of knowledge around targeting your ideal customer, you can advertise very cheaply and effectively via social media. Stop sending out loads of random leaflets that end up thrown in the bin. AdEspresso makes it simple to create Facebook adverts, and run tests to see which ones are most effective.
7. Tradify your business
We don’t like to say it, but it’s true that some tradies have a bit of a reputation for being disorganised. Tradify cleans up your business by automating all the time-consuming paperwork and communication that doesn’t come naturally to most. Make yourself look more ‘professional’ with features like instant quotes, automated job creation, invoicing and team scheduling, Tradify can transform the way you work. Coupled with Xero, we’ve found Tradify great for simplifying the administration of our clients’ business from top to bottom.
As you can see, we’ve assembled quite an eclectic mix, but one that should cover just about all of your needs for greater efficiency in business. Of course, there’s more great tech than we have room for this article, including specialised, industry-specific tools. If you’d like to learn more about increasing efficient, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.