As a thrifty person in general, I'm constantly searching out free software and applications that will make my life easier. Especially apps that help me run my business more efficiently. I feel it's only right to share my favorite free apps that I use for my small business, that you may not be using (but you probably should).
First, my very favorite thing in the world, is (are?) Google Apps (paired with an Android phone). My office is with me all the time. At least all the important stuff (email, calendar, contacts). And it's all housed in the familiar GMail interface.
I've added my company's logo and changed the colors to suit The Get Smart color scheme, and you login on the other side, but once you're in it's the same set up. Plus, you're email can now be sent to email@example.com, and you still get all the functionality of a traditional GMail account, and auto syncing to Android devices/GMail applications.
It's also great because you can "install" apps within your Google account to work in conjunction with your calendar, contacts, documents and email. I'm going to list the ones I'm using at the moment.
Oh, manymoon. I can't really describe my love. I'm such a scatterbrain, this helps me keep track of projects (I have to leave the tab open 24/7, so I remember to add the projects, but still). I get an email every morning listing out any projects that are due that day, or that are due soon. It helps me to stay on track and prioritize my tasks.
For overall money management, I use Outright. It's synced up to my bank account, and automatically categorizes expenses, and pulls in vendor information (all of which you edit, if it's incorrect). You can also enter payments coming in, and set alerts for past due accounts. It also helps you keep track of your mileage expenses (it uses Google Maps to find mileage), and expected quarterly tax payments. It's pretty idiot proof. My only qualm with it is that it's TOO simple, but I think most people would find that useful.
I love FreshBooks to invoice my clients. It's so simple to use, and customizable. You can add your logo to your invoices, and even email them directly from within FreshBooks. You can also download your invoices as PDF's, to save and/or print (call me crazy, but I still like to keep a hard copy around, just in case). You can also track you time spent on projects, if your billing by the hour.
Square, Inc doesn't have integration with Google apps, yet, but it is an easy way to accept payments on the go. It's simple to use, and there is no obligation. They even send the card reader for free. It plugs into the headphone jack on your phone (currently supported by iPhone, iPad, Android devices). They charge 2.75% flat for all swiped credit card transactions (if, you enter the card number, it's $0.15 and 3.5%). They also deposit up to $1,000 per week into your account, with any surplus being available after 30 days. They are also willing to work with your business if you expect to be doing a lot more transactions, and will help personalize your square account.
So, those are my favorite free apps for small/home-based business management. I hope you find these helpful, if you hadn't heard of them before. This post will be republished on my company blog, along with other tips and tricks, thegetsmart.com.
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