*7 min read

There’s a lot do in the day-to-day running of any small business. As the business owner, you’re often wearing multiple hats at the same time to ensure everything gets done. At some point, in every small business, the workload will get too large for just one or two people, and apart from hiring extra staff (which is not always a possibility), the only other solution is to work smarter – not harder.

We’ve put together a selection of tools, be they apps, cloud-based services or software, that can help you streamline your work processes in order to free up hours in your day, or bring you up to speed with your competition.

 

EXPENSIFY

Read this if you hate receipts

Expensify makes tracking your business expenses less painful. Instantly link your credit/debit cards to an Expensify account, and the app will label and categorise your expenses in an easy-to-read report. It also offers the ability to take pictures of your receipts on your phone and automatically extract the relevant information. The best thing Expensify allows you to do (besides how easy it is to use) is to link up your existing accounting software (Xero, MYOB, etc.) so, when it comes time to claiming expenses all you have to do is click a few buttons instead of spending half a day searching and inputting your receipts (a.k.a. avoiding doing your accounting).

Cost: $5/month per active account for small teams, startups and non-profits. $9/month, per active account, for corporate teams. The app is available on IOS and Android devices plus desktops friendly. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ This is what we call a WIN WIN.

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XERO

Read this if you think accounting is evil

Accounting may not be the sexiest thing on the planet, but it’s literally unavoidable, so why not kick it in the arse the best way you can? Now that we’ve shown you the best way to sort your invoices/receipts, we highly recommend you check out Xero. They are a cloud-based accounting software specifically created for small businesses. It’s simple to set up and use (Xero even have videos on how everything works) so you no longer need to spend countless hours on invoicing and quotes, pay runs, inventory management, expense claims, just to name a few time-gobbling activities. Xero also integrates with over 600+ third party apps (like Expensify) so you can run it the way that suits you.

Cost: Starter & Standard – (perfect for a sole trader) starts at $25/month & $50/month. FYI – The Starter is limited to sending 5 invoices and quotes, while the Standard has no limit. Premium5 – (perfect for a small business) is $60/month and allows for payroll for up to 5 people on top. Xero allows you to try the service for 30 days with no payment. It’s available on IOS and Android devices and on all desktops.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ A slightly larger investment, but if you equate it to hourly wages, you’re saving a bundle.

 

DROPBOX

Read this if you want to step up your social game

Dropbox is the world’s most popular app for storing and sharing your digital files. It’s ideal for a small business that needs easy access to images for marketing, document templates and instructional material. A great example is having your hair salon team upload their top haircuts of the day, which gives you a pool of images to choose from for your Instagram or Facebook account. No need to spend hours curating your Insta or trying to do it all yourself. Many hands make lighter work. 

Cost: Dropbox basic is FREE! You are limited to 2 GB of storage space (if you’re storing quality images this will quickly disappear). Business plans start from $17.50 per user, per month (starting at 3 users) and you’ll get 2 TB of storage space. Dropbox is available on IOS and Android devices and on all desktops.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ It’s free – what’s not to love.

 

MAILCHIMP

Read this if you want to nurture and grow your client base

MailChimp is an email marketing tool that helps you build and manage your mailing lists by making it easier for you to create fun and engaging messages. Whether you’re promoting a new service or product you’ve just brought in, MailChimp’s templates (which look great!) will get your message across while saving you hours in design work. Think, drag and drop. MailChimp also provides email automation processes for Facebook/Instagram ad campaigns to help you find new customers.

Cost: Pricing depends on the number of subscribers you have in your database. It’s free to send up to 12,000 emails per month if you have 2,000 or fewer subscribers (those numbers sit nicely for most small business customer lists!). If you do need more, Growing Business starts at $10/month and will scale with your needs. MailChimp is multi-device compatible (phone and desktop).

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ If you do absolutely nothing else, get this started!

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SQUARE

Read this if you’re a freelancer, sole trader or modern day working nomad

If you’re a mobile worker, servicing clients somewhere other than a salon or clinic, then Square may be a great option to ensure payment happens then and there once the job is finished. Square is a payment app that provides users with a small, portable card reader that attaches to a phone or other mobile device for fast and convenient payments. Anything that saves time chasing invoices is a godsend in our opinion!

P.s. Square also offers a POS (point-of-sale) system called Square POS for business with a fixed address.

Cost:

  • Tapped, inserted or swiped payments = 1.9% of sale price
  • Square reader for chip cards = $19
  • Square reader for contactless and chip cards = $59

Cost: ⭐⭐⭐ Top value for money here.

 

BOOKING SOFTWARE

Read this if you’re considering a booking software

There are plenty of great booking software options for Hair & Beauty (Timely, Kitomba, Schedul) and Health Professionals (Omnify, Zen Planner, Coreplus). A booking platform that suits your business is essential, you don’t need to be paying for features you don’t need.

We’ll be doing an in-depth look at Booking Software for both Hair & Beauty and Allied Health Professionals in the next few weeks. Stay tuned – and if you want this automated for you (in vogue of the article), sign up to our newsletter and we’ll shoot you our newest articles once a week. You can do so at the top right-hand corner of this article. 👌

 

I bet you noticed…

You might have seen that we gave each app & tool a 5 ⭐ rating. We’ve hand-picked these guys, so if it’s not the best, we wouldn’t be pointing you in their direction. Altspc lives to help micro & small businesses kick-arse and grow sustainably.

What else do we do?

Altspc is an online space sharing platform that lives to help sole traders, micro & small businesses kick-arse and grow sustainably. Discover the lease-free way to rent out or book unused space by the hour, day, week or month.

If you’re looking for affordable and flexible business space, try our FREE Space Finder Service – we’ll send you a customised shortlist of spaces, zero obligations!

Interested in learning how much money you could be making from your unused space? Check out our Free Calculator.

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