Regardless of what small business you're in, the day-to-day running of an enterprise requires the mastery of multiple tasks. There's the accounts, staffing, promotions and then industry-specific challenges like inventory management, bookings and menus. Thankfully, technology is here to help, so here are great apps to support small business.
No matter what field you're in it always comes down to the dollar at the end of the day, which is why accounting software is so important to small business. There are a plethora of software companies and apps devoted to accounting including the big names like QuickBooks Online and MYOB On The Go, but Cloud based app Xero is also a great alternative.
Accounting is essential for all businesses.
This multi-faceted app hails from New Zealand, making it almost home grown but is rapidly taking the world by storm. It allows users to create and send invoices from any device and also enables them to upload receipts and track expenses in real time. A bank feed automatically imports bank, credit card and PayPal transactions, meaning up-to-the-minute information about cash is readily on-hand.
Meanwhile, payroll is also taken care of, with PAYG tax rates and superannuation tables updated automatically. In the world of small business this means you have your financial position immediately at your fingertips, whether at the accountant's office or while recounting your day from the comfort of the couch.
Sick of drawing up schedules, crossing out names and engaging in the weekly battle of who can do what shift at what rate, when? Well this is where apps like Deputy are here to help. Available for android devices, iPads and even Apple Watch, Deputy enables managers to create staff schedules and share them with their workforce via text, email or the web.
Deputy is great for creating schedules and rosters.
Staff using the system can check their roster, request leave, indicate unavailability, and even swap shifts, while another feature lets staff know when there is a shift open for work. It can also record shift starts and finishes, and track breaks.
As an overview tool, managers can see a snapshot of information regularly sought, like frequent absentees, staff running late or how many people are at work, even when the manager is not.
Point of Sale
Point of sale apps for retailers have been covered previously, but the Vend app is a solid addition to this field. Cloud based, Vend is available for iPad kiosks, Macs and PCs and is a quick, simple system that allows retailers to operate anywhere using different printers, cash drawers and barcode scanners.
Manage your orders directly from your tablet with Vend.
The software features inventory management, reporting and analytics, customer loyalty tools and sales insights. Features also include receipt printing or emailing, lay by, returns and refunds, and it works across retail sectors regardless of whether you're a gift shop or a plumbing supply chain.
Noted as simple and intuitive to use, Vend also works offline, automatically re-syncing sales when the net's up and running again. It works for single retailers or multiple stores and integrates with other programs including Xero, Shopify, Timely and Stitchlabs.
Do you use a POS app? Check out our tablet stands for POS systems.
The hospitality industry is a pretty demanding field when it comes to software, with the best apps handling a host of tasks. Designed for iPads, Revel iPad Point of Sale has been picked up by some of the biggest players in the field including Qantas and Penfold's because it's known as a full-service app.
From seating, ordering and serving to inventory management, sales reporting and staff scheduling this is an overarching hospitality app that even copes with split bills, table layout, menu creation and specials. Additional features include social media integration and staff logins via swipe cards.
Revel doesn't just specialise in hospitality either, with different POS apps for the retail sector, entertainment industry and service industries.
Of course it's not just software that feels the demands of the hospitality industry, with hand held hardware devices copping a bettering during the hustle and bustle of customer service. There are a host of options to protect devices used including wall mounts and faces, or stands. You can view a comprehensive range of accessories available here.
Every business requires marketing of some sort, whether it's a web presence, social media or Facebook page. The sector is catered to with a host of apps including standouts like WordPress for website creation, but a great app for e-marketing is undoubtedly MailChimp. This is web-based app so doesn't require the download of software and is dedicated to email marketing campaigns by assisting users to send bulk emails to clients, customers and interested parties.
MailChimp works across three spheres; managing subscriber lists, building email campaigns and analysing the results. A key ingredient to this app's success is its ease of use. Without knowledge of HTML or design, users can create professional looking email marketing campaigns featuring products or information. They can then schedule when a campaign will run before analysing the success.
Mailchimp is great for insights on your email marketing.
Feedback is focussed on customer engagement, so users can begin tailoring their campaigns with knowledge of what their customers liked and what they weren't that interested in, with information on how many people clicked on the message, what links they used and even their geolocation.
MailChimp can be linked to Google Analytics for even more in depth information, or integrated with a user's CRM database.
Finding the right app to suit your business needs is no small undertaking as the market is filled with different tools to make the workflow simpler. The best apps will either be expert in your field like Vend and Revel or outstanding in their own, like MailChimp and Xero. Either way, the virtual world offers a host of reviews to make selecting simpler, and many apps provide free trials or demos.