Running a small business is rewarding and stressful in equal measure. Having the right tools by your side can make it easier, more fun, and more profitable. Check out our list of small business apps you need today.
How to Run a Small Business
When deciding how to run a small business, you need to keep the following questions in mind.
- Do you want to stay small or leave room for growth?
- What’s your business plan?
- What is your end goal?
- Do you have the right tools to be successful?
How everyone answers those first three questions will be as unique as their fingerprints, but that third one is something we can help everyone with. The tools for a profitable small business are basically the same, no matter what industry you look at, and we’ve compiled a list of the best ones to help you succeed. Before we talk about the specifics, there is one major rule you should follow: Go digital… and do it today!
The one thing you’ll notice about all the points on the following list is that each one is an app or collection of apps, and that’s because they work. No matter the size of your business or the industry you’re in, digital tools are going to bring benefits that you can’t get with traditional methods.
1. Inventory Control
Whether you’ve experienced inventory duties already or you’ve only heard the horror stories, inventory control is almost a taboo subject for big and small business managers alike. It’s traditionally boring, tedious, time-consuming, and the one place that everyone messes up and ends up losing a ton of money. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business and how many inventory days you’ve survived, there will always be a mistake somewhere, and it’ll always come back to haunt you. That is until someone invented the real-time inventory app. As a small business, you will need every competitive edge you can get, and this one is a doozy. When you include a real-time inventory solution in your small business, inventory day is no longer D-Day, and your employees won’t fear it. Every item is tracked in real-time, so you always know what’s in stock and what needs to be reordered. That beats the heck out of waiting for monthly inventory counts to come in—by then, you’ve already lost a lot of money in depleted stocks, stolen goods, and spoilage. Keep an eye on your inventory in real time, and your small business will stay ahead of the competition.
2. Labor Scheduling
You may be familiar with the traditional logbook-style shift schedules that many small business owners use. They work, and they were all the rage back when they first were introduced, but times have changed, and paper is out. Going digital with your shift scheduling means no more cumbersome logbooks, no more hand-writing the schedules, no more lost or damaged schedules, and no more extra costs for paper, ink, storage, and disposal. Every small business should be jumping on board the digital shift scheduling bandwagon. These apps offer a wide range of features that streamline scheduling, keeping employee preferences in mind and tracking labor laws, so you are always in compliance. After all, one of the biggest pitfalls for a small business is accidentally breaching a labor law and suffering the penalties. If you’re just starting out and money is tight, one breach could sink your small business before it even has a chance to thrive. A digital labor scheduling app will prevent those fines from every happening.
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3. Task Management
Running a small business can be a lot of work if you don’t use task lists, but even making the lists for your employees can be a drag. With a mobile task list app, you won’t be stuck writing up task lists every day. Just fill in the template, upload to the cloud, and all your employees will see the list in real-time. As jobs are completed, they check them off, and you are notified. That’s full knowledge of everything happening in your small business without you having to be in the room. Paper task lists can’t even come close to that level of innovation.
For a small business to succeed, it needs to know everything that’s happening now, what happened before, and what might happen in the future. Perhaps that sounds a bit mystical, but it’s actually scientific. You see, modern productivity and business intelligence applications come with the most powerful reporting tools you could ever imagine. Instead of waiting days or weeks for all your data to be collected and put into boring reports, your app will compile it all in an instant and show you colorful, detailed, and easy-to-read reports right on your screen. Need to see something else? Just filter your results, and you’ll instantly see a new report with the new parameters.
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5. Mobile POS Solutions
The mobile POS solution is one of our favorites because it’s so useful for any small business, but it looks cool, too. Employees will love the ease of using a tablet or other mobile device to take payment, and customers will be comfortable and impressed to see such a high-tech and modern point of sale option in a small business. It shows your customers you’re caught up with the times and that you understand their needs. Your staff will be familiar with the devices already, and the dashboard will be user-friendly and easy to understand without hours of training. Bonus: Your new POS system can link to all your other apps above, making a complete productivity solution for any small business.
Good News for Small Businesses
We know how exciting all of those apps sound, and you might be thinking they must cost a bundle. But that’s where the best news is. All of the apps mentioned above and all their features can be yours at a surprisingly affordable price. It’s all modular, meaning you only get the apps you need right now, but they are all compatible for when you’re ready to grow your small business in the future. There’s never been a better time to try something new to boost your small business, and since these apps can be tried out for free in many cases, you won’t even be out any money.
We know it’s hard to decide what the right move is. It can be frightening to think about all the ways a new app can go wrong, but there aren’t any downsides to trying something new today. If you’d like to learn a bit more before you download an app to try, how about a detailed article about the mobile POS solutions we talked about? We go into more detail about how they work and what benefits they offer here.