It's 2018 and technology just keeps getting better and better. It's time to take advantage of all the awesome technology out there and use it for your small business! Today we're sharing apps that have been especially helpful as we've started and grown our own business. Check out our list of apps that help us with things like generating client leads, staying organized and on schedule, keeping up with our accounting and of course, our expenses.
To generate new project/client leads:
Thumbtack for Professionals - Thumbtack is "an online service that matches customers with local professionals". We've found Thumbtack to be super helpful because the app matches you with people who are looking for your exact services, in real time. Thumbtack gives you the option to quote or pass on a potential customer's request, so if it's something that fits with your business model, quote it! And, if it doesn't, pass. After you quote the potential customer, you can start a more detailed conversation about your services and what you can offer them. For Thumbtack, you only pay when you quote someone (the quote cost varies depending on the complexity of the service requested) and you're refunded if the person doesn't view your quote within 48 hours.
To organize current and past clients and projects:
Trello - Trello "keeps track of everything, from the big picture to the minute details". We use Trello to help us with organizing our projects and clients. Each time we have a new client/project, we add it to our PBC Trello Board and assign the project to whichever sister is taking it on :) The app (desktop or mobile version) is awesome because it allows you to make notes to keep yourself or business partner up to date on the progress with each project. During our monthly PBC meetings, we check back on our Trello lists to see where we're at with specific projects. We are definitely both "checklist" kind of girls so it's so satisfying to move a project from our "in-progress" board to "completed" board. The best part - the free version of Trello is more than enough for most small businesses!
To keep our schedules/calls/meetings organized:
Google Calendar - In being "checklist" girls, we're very organized by nature. We both have the Google Calendar app on our iPhones linked to our PBC gmail account so we both get reminders for things like calls, meetings and deadlines we've set for ourselves. I don't know about you but my Apple calendar on my iPhone is confusing and sometimes hard to navigate (note to Apple) -- we grew up on Google and G-mail so we much prefer Google's ease of use, especially when it comes to its calendar and scheduler. We put literally EVERYTHING on our calendars and it has helped us stay on top of our game, remain professional, and get things done on time (which is especially helpful with Becca's newfound pregnancy brain, haha - sorry Bec!)
For accounting and invoicing:
Quickbooks Online - Having an accountant for a brother-in-law (Becca's hubby) is incredibly helpful and when our business really started growing, he suggested we invest in Quickbooks. We use a pretty basic version that was $10 per month for the first 6 months and is now $15 per month and so worth it. Quickbooks Online, the option we used, allows you to send out invoices to clients, and keeps track of payments and income. It also tracks when invoices are due/overdue and alerts you. Lastly, it provides a big picture look at our gross and next income for whatever period of time we choose and will help us prepare our taxes come April!
To keep track of business expenses:
Foreceipt - Foreceipt allows you to take pictures of your receipts for expense tracking purposes so that you don't have a huge pile of paper receipts laying around your home office (or in your car, and the bottom of your purse/wallet like mine are, eek!). We are just now trying this one out, but so far so good! We will be sure to give you guys an update down the road :)
To record mileage:
Hurdlr - This is another app we are just starting to work with! In an effort to find as many things as possible to deduct from our taxes next year, we are tracking and recording all of our work-related mileage. Hurdlr automatically tracks your mileage and allows your to classify the drive as business or personal, which is awesome. The app is $.99 per month or $9.99 per year after a 30 day free trial, which is a lot cheaper than some of the other mileage-tracking apps out there. Hopefully we'll be able to report back a lot of savings with this one!
When starting a new business, keeping up with all the day-to-day logistics can be very overwhelming. We definitely recommend taking advantage of any/all technology and applications that take care of the small stuff so you can focus on the big stuff, like growing your new business! Staying organized will certainly pay off (pun intended) later on!
If you have any apps that have been helpful in your small business, please share with us in the comments below :)
Happy Business Building!