Business owners (and what inspires them) can vary dramatically, but one of the things they all share is a ridiculously busy schedule. Everyone has only 24 hours in a day, but it can seem like much less for a CEO, small business owner or freelancer -- between prospecting new clients to running payroll and dealing with HR issues, the to-do list of an the self-employed is seemingly never-ending. Being on the go constantly, staying organized and remotely sane requires serious time management. Fortunately (like most other things), there's an app for that. While there are several great online tools for business owners out there, the best balance between busy and productivity lies in those that are ultimately time-saving. Here are the four business platforms I absolutely couldn't live without:
Although I personally prefer to record my daily tasks the old fashioned way (by writing it down), there is no doubt that digital to-do list apps such as Asana make it a lot easier to stay organized with a busy schedule. This is especially true when sharing tasks with a team, as this app makes sending documents and assigning due dates a breeze. COST: Free & Paid accounts are available. View pricing here.
Another thing many entrepreneurs share is an enormous collection of business cards that they've exchanged while networking. Despite being super valuable to entrepreneurs, it isn't exactly difficult to misplace these small pieces of paper. With FoxCard, never again do you have to lose out on business because you can't find the person's contact information. Using your mobile phone's camera, this app acts as a business card scanner and will import the information directly to your contact list in a matter of seconds. COST: Free
Efficient scheduling is the foundation of time management but can be particularly challenging with a jam-packed schedule of back-to-back engagements. Calendly isn't necessarily an app, BUT does save a considerable amount of time and offers a ton of value. By connecting with your preferred calendar (Google, iCal, Outlook or otherwise), it presents available times so others can quickly schedule meetings with you. Best of all: once the appointment is booked, the event goes into your calendar automatically eliminating the extra step. Users can also customize the time intervals offered and it is easily integrated into other third-party platforms (like WordPress, Salesforce or MailChimp). COST: Free and Paid options available. View pricing here.
Maybe it's the Midwesterner in me, but my preferred mode of transportation will always be by car -- and traveling to business meetings is no exception. If you drive for work regularly, SpotHero can be a total lifesaver. (Especially true if you live in a busy city where parking can be difficult to find.) This app will display all of the parking spots in a specific area using either a specific address or your cell phone's location as a guide. It also provides helpful information on each space including the cost, reservation time frame and turn-by-turn directions to the entrance. Best of all, I've found that SpotHero often offers a slightly cheaper price (by a couple dollars or more) than what it costs for the general public without using the platform -- perfect for business owners on the go and on a budget! COST: Free
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