In the entrepreneurial world, you are probably feeling inundated with the countless apps or programs that you should try when first starting out. After all the hype, you are probably left wondering, “where should I start?” or “what app has the best ROI for my business?” Those are just some of the questions that you are asking yourself as you begin this amazing journey into the world of becoming an entrepreneur. As someone who is quite familiar with technology, and working alongside entrepreneurs, I can help shed some light on some of the best and most effective programs that can assist any entrepreneur that is just starting out.
Below is an in depth look at the top four apps that I believe are top notch and effective tools in getting your business up and running. They are simple to use, and can be easily integrated into a pool of employees who are both on the younger and older spectrum of age and experience.
A practically free telecommunications system where face-to-face conversation can happen just as easily as if you were in the same room. Skype offers a “fremium” service that can be used between most devices, except on phone calls to landlines or mobile phones. One can simply use Skype credits to pay for these additional services should they need them.
There is also “Skype for Business,” which is a paid service to utilize. This service allows for instant messaging and video conferencing. Since Skype has been acquired by Microsoft, it has been announced that “Skype for Business” would eventually become “Microsoft Teams.” This would be like Skype for Business, but with a different name and slightly different looking interface.
Skype is a great program to use should your team need to get together, but distance or other factors, keep that from happening. The Skype system is simple to use and to get started on. I would recommend starting out with the free version to see if it’s something you and your team would often need and use before making any monetary commitments.
One of the easiest and safest ways to transfer money between people and businesses externally is payment processing jargonaut, PayPal. They have a user-friendly website interface that offers a variety of tools that one can easily integrate into their company.
PayPal makes it easy to an embed a, “pay here,” button on your website so that people can pay you without the worry of low security or a breach of sensitive information. Users who do not have a PayPal account can pay via a credit or debit card, where those that have an account just log in with their information to finalize payment.
PayPal also offers different ways of paying for goods or services. You can hit “friends and family” or “payment for goods and services.” The difference between the two is a small fee that affects the person who receives the payment. Friends and family is the free option between the two, whereas the payment for goods and services does take a small fee out of your profits.
Sending out invoices via the PayPal system is quite easy to utilize. The templates are simple, and you can follow along with ease. You can email it right to the person, who can then pay it as soon as they get the invoice. PayPal will immediately mark the payment as “paid” should they pay via PayPal. If your customers pay for services with check or cash, you can mark the invoice as paid on your own.
I am a big believer and lover of the Google Suite programs. A mirror of the Microsoft Word programs, the Google Suite offers programs such as Google Docs, Excel, Forms, and other pertinent programs that can be utilized in any location, at any time. You can also add the Google Suite programs to your phone so that they are always accessible.
The Google Docs saves in real time without the use of a “save” button. This means that if you lose your Internet connection, or if your computer shuts off or freezes unexpectedly, then you don’t have an internal panic of, “When did I last save it?”
You can share documents among many users too. Everyone can make changes to the same document without having to email it back and forth with new additions. Should you only want to people to “view” the document, you can set specific permissions so that people can either edit, view, or comment.
Google Drive is also an awesome asset to the Google Suite program. The Google Drive is like a drive that is found on a computer. However, just like the Google programs, the drive is found in a “cloud” as opposed to an actual location embedded in the memory of a computer. The word cloud is a metaphor, in the sense that it allows one to find their files anywhere, at any time. This helps protect you from losing files should something awful happen to your computer, causing your files to be completely wiped out or lost.
A phenomenal program for any small business and their internal financing is Quickbooks. Quickbooks is an accounting system that makes it easy to do payroll, invoicing, and to keep up with all the financial aspects of your startup.
Quickbooks has truly evolved over time, integrating with Google Maps and increasing better functionality with Outlook and Microsoft Exchange email programs. The Quickbooks program also offers various internal apps that can enhance your effectiveness in payroll tracking.
Timesheet tracking can be managed right from your phone and pulled right into the Quickbooks system. You can also export and import Excel spreadsheets right from Quickbooks for your use. Running reports such as profit and loss and tax information can be done with ease, and for any period of time you need.
The Quickbooks software also makes it easy to record checks that are paid or that still need to be cashed. Should you want to offer direct deposit pay for your employees, Quickbooks makes that possible as well.
A cloud version is available, along with downloadable software that can be placed directly on your computer. Quickbooks is a service that needs to be paid for should you want to receive all the benefits that the program offers. I do believe that Quickbooks is worth the investment, as it will keep your financial records in order, on time, and up-to-date.
As always, I hope this insight gives you some good feedback and suggestions in programs that are worth the purchase and your time in learning. You want to make a difference with your business, so why not invest in programs that will make a difference for you and your team.