When you're starting out as a small company, prices can easily skyrocket in the search for experienced, knowledgeable employees to fill every gap. But with the flourishing enterprise app market, solutions may be right at your fingertips -- literally!
While technology can't take the place of a real person, it can certainly ease your workload. By outsourcing your business's needs through an app, not only are you saving time by focusing on priorities, but you are also saving money by having technology do the work of a paid employee.
Both Google Play and Apple's App Store boast more than 2 million different Apps each, and the number of apps for businesses reach well into the thousands. Considering that the average cost of searching for and hiring a new employee is $4,129 -- even before factoring in his or her salary -- the cost differential is too vast to ignore.
Listed below are nine apps that can help you do the grunt work, alleviate stress, and streamline your business:
1. Sage Expenses & Invoices: Designed specifically for small businesses, Sage Expenses & Invoices is a free app meant to keep track of all of your business expenses and transactions in real time. The app saves both trees and time by keeping everything paperless and stored in the cloud, making records ready for you to access whenever you need them. The app works in conjunction with its sister application, Sage One, which offers help with invoicing, accounting, and cash flow and provides a simple way to work with your accountant.
2. Eventbrite Organizer: Eventbrite is the country's largest event platform, so it makes sense that it would create an app to add mobility to its already streamlined website. Eventbrite Organizer allows you to track ticket sales, check in guests, and gauge attendance. It also enables you to sell tickets and merchandise on-site. The best thing is that the app is free, and using Eventbrite's online services costs just a small percentage of the ticket price -- a fraction of the cost it would take to accomplish various event-related tasks on your own.
3. Square: If you've been to a food truck or pop-up shop, you've seen these compact white boxes that the vendor uses to swipe your credit card. The Square app works for both small and large businesses, and the company has recently moved into creating a POS app for retail. The slight hitch is that the app takes 2.75 percent of swiped transactions and 3.5 percent of manually entered ones; however, that cut is still less than the cost of a cashier working for minimum wage.
4. Slack: Think of Slack as the professional version of Facebook Messenger. This desktop and mobile app keeps all of your employees connected for free. And for small monthly fees beginning at just under $7 per user, you can also hold conference calls with up to 15 people, keep a complete record of your message history, and add 10 GB or more of storage per user. Group messages can be created for specific teams and the entire office, making quick communication a breeze.
5. Genius Scan: Need a digital copy of an essential paper document? Genius Scan seriously simplifies the process. Through the free app, you take a photo of what you need to scan, such as a receipt or contract, and it's automatically converted into a JPEG or PDF. You are then able to send the scan through your mail app on your cellphone, as well as save it to your device for future reference. The app has a sister service, Genius Sign, that further allows you to sign, fill out, and annotate documents.
6. UNUM: Given Instagram's undeniable popularity, it has become one of the best tools for visual storytelling. With UNUM, you can strategically plan your posts by organizing your feed through a mock Instagram grid and scheduling reminders for making them live. Best of all, the app provides your account with basic analytics indicating which times and days garner the best reach for your content.
7. Canva: In-house graphic designers can get exceedingly costly; by contrast, Canva's basic version is free. To create graphics for posts or small-run campaigns, Canva's database of photos ($1 each) and fonts makes creating design deliverables accessible to even the most left-brained of people. Canva can create designs for both print and online uses, and it has a desktop companion for more intensive projects.
8. Google AdWords: You sometimes need to reference analytics on the go, and Google AdWords helps you do just that. If you're already using Google AdWords for your campaigns, this free app helps you adjust your campaign budget, view campaign stats like impressions and cost per click, and change your ad campaign via AdWords' suggestions. Given that this is a Google product, you will enjoy the brand's simple and clean interface just as much as its customer service and quick bug fixes.
9. Deliveries: Deliveries helps you keep tabs on all your packages. This can be a crucial tool if your business handles mass mail orders of any kind. The app gives you a countdown of the days until delivery, a detailed shipment report, and an interactive map to see where your packages are. Notifications keep you up-to-date on your packages' movement and alert you when they're delivered.
People will always be vital in business, but technology can be a useful handmaid. There are still projects that will need a human touch, but for those that don't, look to these apps to take on some of the burden.