It can be extremely daunting going into business for yourself, particularly if you're taking the leap for the first time. While you'll be feeling motivated and proud, you'll also be aware that there will be many risks and challenges along the way - so you're going to need all the help you can get.
We've put together a group of handy smartphone apps that can make managing your own business just that little bit easier.
Communication apps for businesses
Communication is key in any start-up, particularly as more and more people work remotely or work flexible hours. That means that it's more important than ever to have a reliable, easily navigable platform enabling communication.
Slack is perfect for that. The messaging platform allows businesses big or small to create their own ‘workspace' and to segment messages into private or group topics. All messages are archived and you can share files and images too. Best of all, Slack is free to try.
A perfect sidekick to Slack, and an app that we would recommend any business professional use, is Skype. In today's work environment you could find yourself with your colleagues miles away or even in a different time zone. Skype makes it easy to make calls, both video and voice, over the web, as well as messaging. In our opinion, it's essential.
Apps for organisation
Getting yourself and your employees are organised is key. You don't become successful without having a meticulous eye for detail, and that extends into time management and the organisation of work-related assets.
One of our favourite apps for organisation is Evernote. Hailed by many as one of the best organisational apps, Evernote allows you to make lists, take notes and add reminders on your phone or desktop. It then automatically syncs them across all your devices.
There are various different payment options for Evernote; however the free version allows you to sync two devices with up to 60MB of data per month.
Another app that will certainly help the organisation of your company is Dropbox. It's a fantastic tool for sharing and storing files - and you can also download it onto your smartphone and take it anywhere with you. If you don't want to take our word for it, Dropbox is already used by over 500 million users worldwide.
Finance apps for business
Managing your finances is integral to running a successful business. While we're sure that you're already on top of everything financial, there's nothing wrong with accepting a little extra help in the form of two of our favourite apps.
PayPal is a no-brainer; this app allows you to send and receive money easily and securely. Not only that, but most businesses online now accept PayPal, meaning that you don't have to enter your details every time you make a business-related purchase; after all, time is money.
In addition to PayPal, QuickBooks is a handy little app that lets you keep track of all of your business' sales, expenses, profits and losses. You can generate and view detailed reports quickly and easily, and keep it all on your smartphone should you need to view anything on the go.
Creativity and inspiration apps
If your business is the creative type, it's so important to stay passionate and inspired.
We love Pinterest for generating thousands of images related to your previous search history to keep you constantly excited. It's a great way to take ten minutes out of your schedule to sit and scroll through images related to your content - and possibly spark a new idea in your head. Best of all, you can store everything that inspires you onto mood boards.
In modern society it's very easy to get wrapped up in the professional side of our lives and to lose that work–play balance. And so while all of the aforementioned apps are focused on pushing your business forward, we also think it's incredibly important to take some time to chill out.
There's nothing better than zoning out at the start or end of a busy day, plugging in your headphones and losing yourself in music on your commute. Spotify won't be a new discovery for the majority, but we particularly love the algorithms that allow the app to generate playlists of new music related to what you already love.
Many people recognise the benefits of meditation when you lead a busy lifestyle. Headspace guides users through short meditation sequences and really helps you unwind. When you're starting a new business you can have millions of thoughts running through your head, and it can be tough nodding off and getting a good night's sleep. Headspace can help clear your mind at the end of the day, so that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the business world once again.
While it certainly can be scary embarking on a new journey into running your own business, fear not. With our trusty recommendations, you can equip your smartphone (make sure it's a powerful and reliable handset) with the best apps to support you, and push your business forward to success. We wish you the very best of luck.
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