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  • 25 June 2015
  • Eric Michaels

Top Five Apps to Help you Run a Small Business

No one said starting a small business would be easy, but there are enough tools at an entrepreneur's disposal to help you be more productive and make every minute count. Here are the top five apps a small business owner can use to manage a young company:

1. Evernote: Get organized
In the course of a day's work, you are likely writing notes, sending e-mails, snapping pictures, drafting memos, and trying to record website data to review later. Evernote handles these functions and more, so you can have the details in a single place.

Most small business owners do not speak the language of accountants.

Starting at no cost in its most basic form to $45 per year for advanced versions, Evernote offers more features than Microsoft's OneNote and runs using minimal storage, so it will function just as well on your phone as it does on your computer. Plus, it runs in the cloud, so there is no need to worry about backing up files.

2. Dropbox: File storage at its best
For any business in which file sharing and storing are crucial, Dropbox delivers a comprehensive service running on the cloud. Using this system, company documents are shared instantly with everyone who has been granted access to the files. Instead of copying, uploading, and e-mailing the documents you want employees or collaborators to read, they will appear immediately on their devices of choice.

While this tool is incredibly useful for start-ups and large businesses alike, it became even more appealing when Microsoft joined with Dropbox. Now, you can edit documents in the program using Office 365. Prices start at $10 per month.

3. Slack: Communication made easy
It was not long ago that small-business owners were using Skype for mobile office chats, Trello to track work developments, and e-mail to send longer messages. Slack manages each of these functions but handles them from a single portal. In terms of simplifying communications, this app is your best friend when you run a small business that is growing at a steady pace. With its user-friendliness and common-sense applications, Slack requires no training whatsoever.

While Slack may work best for telecommuting employees and virtual workplaces, it is also useful if you are hiring freelancers and/or using part-time employees as your business expands. The app will send an e-mail to users if their usernames are mentioned in conversation or if they have received a direct message. Slack will let you know when need be, and leave you alone otherwise. The free version includes integration of five programs (e-mail and other apps, for example).

4. FreshBooks: Accounting for beginners
Do you know what terms such as "accounts receivable" and "journal entries" mean? Most small business owners do not speak the language of accountants. Fortunately, there is FreshBooks, which allows you to do the bookkeeping without having to learn the jargon. Providing a "fresh" take on the concept of accounting applications, this app's functions are best managed on a desktop computer.

As with the simple language it uses, FreshBooks is simple to use. You can import data from other financial programs you run, track time with ease, create invoices, and manage your sent bills without issue using this program. It costs $20 to get FreshBooks up and running. This tool is essential when you are managing write-offs and need to track expenses for a lighter tax burden.

5. Square: Payments on the go
Managing mobile payments can be tricky for a growing business, but Square is the most well-rounded solution for the task. Flexibility is one reason why Square is so attractive, as you can use it on Android phones, Windows phones, iPhones, and any kind of tablet. You attach a small object known as a "dongle" to your device and just swipe a bank or credit card to receive payment.

Most businesses pay 2.75 percent of the transaction price when using the Square app, but there is no cost to get the service and use the attachment on your mobile device. Considering how often people pay with cards these days, a convenient app such as Square is more than worth its price.

You may feel overwhelmed by the number of apps available these days. Start by getting functional tools for each area of your business to cut through the clutter and simplify operations. When you want to outsource accounting or other projects entirely, visit the UPS Store for discounted deals from our partners.

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