At CVA we focus on working with SME or small to medium size clients. To make life a little easier, every so often we compile a short list of small business applications that work well. Our criteria for selection is that they allow a free (no credit card) trial of their product, and provide a free or low-cost version for startups, small groups and/or entrepreneurs.
Wave Wave is a free, easy-to-use accounting software platform made specifically for small businesses, independent contractors and sole proprietors with nine or fewer employees. It lets businesses track sales and expenses, manage invoices and customer payments, pay employees, scan receipts and generate accounting reports. And the company recently added free personal finance software to help small-business owners manage their finances in one place.
FreshBooks FreshBooks gives small-business owners and freelance workers a simple way to manage and track invoices. It allows you to you create a personalized, professional-looking invoice; automatically bill your clients for recurring invoices; and accept credit cards on your mobile device.
Slack With Slack’s instant messaging platform, you can organize your team’s conversations into separate private or public channels or send a direct message. The app also makes it easy to drag, drop and share images, PDFs and other files. It also automatically indexes and archives any message, notification or file. There’s no limit to how many users your business can add. Slack users saw 48.6% fewer internal emails and held 25.1% fewer meetings after installing and using the app, leading to a 32% overall increase in productivity, according to a company survey. You can try Slack for free, but upgrading to a paid plan gives you more features and controls. The standard plan costs $8 per month for each user and comes with a full archive of your team’s message history, unlimited app integration, guest access and group calls.
Zoom Zoom is an enterprise level, all-in-one collaboration tool at a small business price tag. It offers video and web conferencing solutions, as well as cross-platform instant messaging and file sharing features. Zoom lets users hold all types of online meetings, such as one-on-one videoconferences, town hall meetings, training, webinars, marketing events and more. The service can be used on desktops, mobile devices and your company’s video and conference room systems. Zoom offers a free, basic plan that comes with 1-to-1 meetings and group meetings up to 50 participants.
Skype Skype remains s popular choice. You can use it to transmit photos and files of any size, share your computer screen, call a group of up to 25 people and send text messages. The basic version of Skype is free. If you want to upgrade, Skype for Business starts at $5 per user per month. It integrates with Microsoft Office and allows you to hold online video meetings and calls with up to 250 people. This app is free to download and works on all devices and operating systems.
Evernote With Evernote, you can clip bits and pieces of information from the web, tag them for easy searching, and alter any of them by adding to it, condensing it, or embedding pictures, tables, audio, video, and the like. You can also use Evernote for organic notes and journaling, to-do lists, recipes, contacts, and even storage for tweets or emails that you want to keep handy.
Asana Asana is more text-heavy than Trello, and if you love checklists, this app is for you. Projects, or “tasks,” can be easily prioritized within its flexible interface, and a dashboard charts your progress visually. You can chat with team members within those tasks, assign due dates, attach documents or other files, and choose what kind of notifications to receive. The app integrates with an impressive number of other services, including Evernote, Google Drive, Box, Slack, MailChimp, WordPress, and ZenDesk.
Insightly Insightly is a relationship manager that also boasts a lot of project-management features, which could make it a one-stop shop for some small businesses. You can categorize contacts with tags, integrate their social network profiles, and manage leads. You can also create tasks for team members, set up pipelines to track the status of those tasks, and create email reminders to keep everyone on time.
Nimble If your business has a prominent social media presence, Nimble might be the CRM for you. It gleans data from your contacts’ social profiles, updating itself so that you don’t have to do it. It even analyzes shared interests and integrates with Gmail, Outlook, Hootsuite and many other services. Nimble also learns what relationships you value as you continue to interact with it, making it more likely to highlight future opportunities.