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Top 5 Apps Every Small Business Owner Needs

Top Five Apps DSM

August 20, 2018

As a small business owner, have you ever dreamed of marrying an accountant just so they can do the bookkeeping while you focus on growing your business? Instead, consider how a stack of mobile or desktop technology applications (apps) can help you spend less time on all those tasks small business owners have to manage.

There’s an app for that

Using apps as part of a good process not only allows you to spend less time on the operational duties, but helps you prepare for the day when you can afford to hand over a few tasks to someone else.

There are apps for:

  • Accounting, payroll, and taxes
  • Finances and expense tracking
  • Payment processing
  • Communication
  • Project management and organization
  • Time management and productivity
  • Sales and customer management
  • Creativity and design

Don’t marry the first app you meet, or get hitched too soon

Not unlike the process of picking your spouse, it’s important not to get married to the first app you meet — instead date a few before you decide.

  • Don’t rush to ditch or get hitched to an app either. There are many things you’ll need to discover about an app during a trial period. You may love an app right away or only after you get to know it. And you may come to hate an app once you realize it doesn’t get along well with the other technologies in your life.
  • You can’t make a decision about an app you didn’t actually date. Don’t start an app trial until you really have the time to. But if you feel the trial period was just too short, ask if it can be extended or if you can continue on a month-to-month basis before committing to an annual plan. 

Decide what you need in an app before you get serious

While selecting the best tech to strengthen your business is important, don’t let picking an app paralyze your efforts to move forward in your business.

  • Establishing a work flow will help you figure out the pains adding technology could help alleviate.
  • Instead of imagining all the future possibilities an app’s integrations could offer, try a no-frills app that helps you do one thing better and makes your entrepreneurial life a little more fun.

Breaking up with an app shouldn’t be hard to do

  • Determining if an app is good may require an effort to set up and test it. But just because you become engaged, doesn’t mean you have to go through with the marriage.
  • You shouldn’t be forced to stick with a bad app just to avoid losing information its holding hostage. Before investing hours entering new client profiles to the customer relationship management (CRM) system you want to test, find out if you’re able to easily download your data to a spreadsheet if you decide the app isn’t for you.
  • Be careful about automatic renewals and be sure you know how to break up at the end of a trial.

Learn about other Marketing & Sales resources, as well as IT information for your small business in The Partnership’s Small Business Resources Hub or sign up for the Small Business Resources newsletter and stay connected for information about upcoming events, other resources and the latest announcements in the small business community in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

Laura Kinnard

Laura Kinnard obtained her MBA with an Internet Marketing Specialty designation from the Florida Institute of Technology and has an Advertising Management degree with a Marketing Concentration from Drake University where she is now a professor and entrepreneurial fellow. Kinnard teaches Entrepreneurial Management and works as an adviser for Drake University's student startup "Hatchery" and for the visiting Mandela Washington Young African Leaders. She was also awarded a reciprocal grant through the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) program in 2017 to do entrepreneurial management and marketing training in Nigeria, Africa. Drawing on the more than 20 years she has spent marketing and helping to develop and promote unique businesses, products and events, Kinnard recently founded Curated Growth. The company intentionally curates resources, including physical spaces, for the purpose of fostering innovation and growing new business ventures.