Top 6 Indispensable Small Business Tools for Productivity in 2016 / Work Life / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Get more done with your time! The best time tracking apps, project management apps, and essential tools for your small business.

The small business marketplace is flooded with web-based platforms and their mobile app counterparts that promise to save business owners time, money and stress.

But how many of these apps live up to these expectations? As a small business owner myself, I’ve spent the last few years testing out hundreds of different apps on everything from time tracking to accounting to project management.

The best apps combine intuitive visual design with robust back-end functionality that streamlines workflow, automates redundant tasks and simplifies communication.

These six apps do all that, and more. From time tracking to project coordination, these are six indispensable tools for small business owners in 2016.

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1. Insightly

Don’t let the simple interface fool you: Insightly’s feature-rich CRM is ideal for small businesses. It has all the necessary capabilities that small businesses need with the ability to easily scale up as demand changes.

Take the free version for a test drive or sign up for a free 14-day trial for any plan. Manage leads, contacts, organizations, partners, vendors and suppliers.

2. BigTime

Time is (literally) money with BigTime, the top-rated online time and billing software for small businesses. Big Time offers time and expense tracking, WIP management, billing, task and workflow management, and more from its simple, integrated system. BigTime tracks over $1 billion in fees annually for businesses.

Tame your workflow with both personal and company-wide engagement tracking. Manage time and expense tracking with fixed-fee engagements and mobile tools. Increase your entire team’s productivity with real-time dashboards and reports that identify opportunities for enhanced productivity.

3. Zoho Projects

Are team members constantly disrupting your workflow with questions about project details and deadlines? Put an end to the madness by using Zoho to keep all important project details centralized in one place. Assign tasks, share project files and track deliverable completion.

Bonus: Zoho CRM, which gives small businesses the robust capabilities of CRM software at a fraction of the cost of enterprise platforms. Zoho’s free mobile app lets you access your data anytime, anywhere.

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4. Asana

Are you still relying on sending emails to assign tasks and follow-up on project deliverables? Stop. You’re just clogging inboxes and risk your important messages getting lost in the chaos. Asana to the rescue! Asana keeps all your conversations in one place.

Create tasks, organize tasks into projects and get instant status updates with the app’s high-level project overviews. Responsibilities and next steps are always clear so that you can track projects from start to finish, no endless email chains required.

5. Due

Welcome to simple online invoicing and time tracking, all in one place. Invoice in style with Due’s beautiful, intuitive interface. Due supports more than 100 countries and tax systems. Choose between Due’s beautifully designed invoice templates so you can pick the one that best suits your business’s branding presence and then pop in your logo to the template.

Use the calendar summary to check on upcoming invoicing tasks. Due makes the onboarding process easy: it offers guides customized to the needs of freelancers, programmers, consultants, designers and photographers.

6. Wave

More than one billion business owners trust Wave to track more than $60 billion in income and expenditures– and the app doesn’t cost these owners a dime. Set up takes just minutes: connect with your bank account, PayPal account or other accounts to Wave and the app will automatically track all your transactions.

The easy-to-use dashboard organizes core functionality between Transactions, Invoices, Bills, Receipts and Reports. Goodbye manual entry nightmares, hello freedom! Wave’s popular small business app suite also includes tools for invoicing, payroll and payments. Naturally, the apps all integrate seamlessly with one another for a total small business accounting solution.

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Bottom Line

When selecting a small business app, remember that this selection process is as much about your experience as your employees’ experience. Will they be able to navigate the app easily and integrate it into their workflow? How long is the onboarding process?

Consider the app’s interface: is it easy to use the app, or after a few frustrating attempts will your employees beg to return to manual hour tracking and spreadsheets? The right app is one that both you and your team benefits from using.

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