7 Affordable Productivity Tools for Small Business Owners

Business.com / Technology / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Thanks to technology, running a business can be more affordable and productive using new tools and apps. Check out the top 7 must-haves...

Back-office software for functions such as accounting applications development and file sharing was once a major startup expense for small businesses. Thanks to innovations in mobile technology and cloud computing, it's easier and more affordable than ever to set up the infrastructure that supports your business. You can even control that infrastructure from the palm of your hand.

1. Appy Pie

Don't hire outside help to build a presence in the mobile world - at least not right away. Appy Pie is a low-cost way to develop mobile apps for your business and test them in the cloud. Even if you ultimately need outside help, you can build and test prototype apps with Appy Pie to test their look and feel before passing them to specialists for completion. (Tweet This Tool!)

Related: 6 Customer Service Tools for Expanding Businesses

2. Slide.ly

Suppose you could cull your social media pages for the images that represented your business in the best possible light, assemble them in a neat presentation, and deploy the finished product back across the social media world. You'd improve the professionalism of your social media presence by improving its uniformity.slide.ly

Slide.ly imports pictures from Facebook, Flickr, Google Images, and Instagram, helping you organize them into slideshows that incorporate themes and special effects. Then you can deploy the finished product on your social media pages. It's another way to improve your business's public profile without spending a fortune on web application development. (Tweet This Tool!)

3. Crushpath

Despite mobile technology's emergence and social media, a business's website still needs to be optimized. Crushpath helps you set up that presence quickly and inexpensively. Once you download this iPhone app, you can design content at a pace that lets you keep up with ever-changing communications needs. (Tweet This Tool!)

4. Pogo Connect

pogo connectIf you like the idea of using an iPad, but hate using its touchscreen keyboard, try this electronic stylus from TenOneDesign. It turns an iPad into a notepad, allowing you to write, design, or doodle.

Combining precision tips and customized apps lets you optimize the stylus for note-taking or drawing. Bluetooth Smart technology optimizes battery consumption and, with the help of the Pogo Connect app, helps you find the stylus. The optional clip lets you attach the Pogo Connect to your iPad's cover. (Tweet This Tool!)

Related:5 Awesome YouTube Marketing Tools

5. ShareFile

Device-independent, safe, and secure file sharing is now available for your mobile workforce with ShareFile. Once you buy a ShareFile plan, users of Android, Apple, Blackberry, and Windows devices have free access to apps that let them share email and files with both clients and co-workers.

All of ShareFile's licensing options include unlimited client accounts, 24/7 customer support, and encrypted file transfer and storage. As your business grows and you upgrade your license, expanded storage capacity as well as Microsoft Outlook support, and desktop synchronization are among the other features that become available. (Tweet This Tool!)

6. Business Plan Blueprint

A solid business plan that combines professional looks with substantive content is vital for attracting startup capital. If you've had trouble putting yours together, Teneric Consultants' blueprint for a business plan might be the help you need. Choose among the following options for helping you organize and complete your plan:

  • A seven-part email course
  • Microsoft Word template
  • Online guides that walk you through the elements of plan development

Among the topics you'll cover are assessing your competitive position, calculating cash flow requirements, and planning sales and marketing. Sample plans are available for study. (Tweet This Tool!)

7. Wave Accounting

Business accounting software can be expensive to buy and support. Setup is often a daunting task that requires code changes and custom report development.

Wave Accounting may change that. Apps for accounting, invoicing, payments, payroll, personal finance, and receipts help small business owners do these functions. It's not as complete a solution as its enterprise-level rivals, but its price is right and its feature set is growing. Wave is worth investigating. (Tweet This Tool!)

Related:10 Essential Content Distribution Tools

This is a small sample of the free and low-cost applications that can help your business grow. You can find similar help for human resources, legal, sales, marketing, operations, and customer support. Your smartphone's app store is a good place to start.

Author Bio: Emily Green is a freelance writer that enjoys coffee and going for a jog with her husband. She has over one thousand published articles online.

(Images via freedigitalphotos.net, Flickr by Jason Howie, Flickr by Art$uper$tar)

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