As a small business, you will need to use all the modern technology you can to make your workday easier. With the advent of mobile internet, the growth of the smartphone as a small business tool has been nothing short of spectacular. Today, a work from home business need not necessarily be a work from home business – but a work from anywhere business and it’s all thanks to apps like these.
Dropbox is the app for the work from home business owner who wants to work on the go. Essentially, it is a drive that accesses The Cloud to share files and documents across multiple devices. Place some files into the Dropbox (images, Word documents etc) on one machine and then synchronise your other devices and all files will appear simultaneously on all devices. You can also work with it on another device and when save, will updated simultaneously. You no longer need to email files to yourself so you can work on them when on the move.
For Collaboration: Slack
While Skype remains the largest and most famous instant messaging software package, many business owners prefer Slack. It’s a simple instant messaging interface where all participants can talk together. At the same time, you can also take to one or two members individually. It uses a simple tagging system linked to email accounts so if somebody is away, you can let them know that you are discussing something and require their input. For example @FredBloggs. Could you respond to this query from our client regarding their order? User “Fred Bloggs” will then get an email notification.
For Saving Web Pages For Later: Pocket
Mobile internet is great where it is available, but what happens when you know you won’t have wifi access or good mobile data signal, it can be a pain to access necessary websites for work purposes. Pocket is a Cloud based app where you can save web pages on your main browser and then synchronise them to other devices. It effectively takes a screen shot of a web page and sends it to the Cloud so you do not have to open it again later while worrying about having no signal.
For Ambience: Coffivity
One of the quirkiest in our list, but it is more than a gimmick. Coffivity provides background noise that sounds like a coffee shop. Amazingly, some people find they work better in a slightly noisy environment than they will in complete silence. One seminal study from University of Chicago suggested that background noise actually helps to prevent bigger distractions (such as social media) and encourages those creative juices. Keep checking back with the site though, as at August 2016 they claim to be working on more exciting features.
For Multimedia: EverNote
Another Cloud based app, EverNote has been around for years and is a reliable piece of software for most users. If you have used Microsoft OneNote, you may recognise some of the functions in EverNote but the format is simpler and the use less clunky – arguably more designed for mobile internet. With EverNote, you may grab images, video and audio clips, and web pages and store them for later. Take photographs and integrate them into presentations, make lists and combine it all together in one presentation. EverNote is the ultimate multimedia and storage programme.
For Invoice Management: FreshBooks
Invoicing can be one of the most time-consuming tasks for which you are not paid. Not everybody is comfortable designing an invoice and if you are the sort of contractor that has many clients and little time to keep track of which are overdue, which have yet to be invoiced and so on, it can be frustrating. FreshBooks is a simple solution with a main website and mobile app to help you keep on top of your payments. It sends you regular updates on who has paid and who has not.