Five Apps that Will Make Your (Business) Life Easier

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Just because your business is small doesn’t mean you should suffer by getting overwhelmed by organizational tasks. Google Apps is an excellent and economical way of setting up your email, calendar and contacts. You can make it even more powerful by adding the following apps and plug-ins to your arsenal, replacing messy spreadsheets and online documents that can distract you from growing your business.

1. Rapportive: Do you spend precious hours trying to dig up some information on your next appointment? Do you sometimes wonder what other emails you’ve shared with a sender? Well I have, but then I discovered Rapportive, an infinitely useful “Social CRM” tool that compiles information about your sender from different sources, including recent emails, Tweets, and Facebook posts and a host of other services, offering you a fairly complete view of the person you’re communicating with. What do you need to get started? Well, it’s a free plug-in the fits right into your browser, and all you need to use it is a Gmail or Google Apps Email account. You can download it here.

2. CapsuleCRM: Not another CRM App I hear you say. But trust me, if you work with a team where more than one person is meeting customers and you want to hand over work seamlessly, then CapsuleCRM is the app for you. It’s a powerful CRM app that integrates effortlessly into your Google Apps account. Once you’ve signed up to their hosted solution, CapsuleCRM can manage your contacts, offer you an email drop box to follow-up on a conversation chain, build a sales pipeline, and manage and assign tasks. In a sales-driven environment, nothing beats the simplicity of CapsuleCRM! To learn more about the app and its payment plan visit their website.

3. ActiveInbox: While I’m still not a member of the “Getting Things Done” cult pioneered by David Allen, I could understand how prioritizing email with multiple folders might help. I’ve had enough trouble trying to manage my email without adding another layer of complexity. But I came across this awesome app by Active Inbox HQ. ActiveInbox uses David Allen’s GTD methodology, but it simplifies it, becoming an invaluable email and to-do management tool that allows any small business owner to take back control of their time. The free plug-in is available here.

4. SocialCast: I love SocialCast. It’s an app that I didn’t think I needed, until I started using it! Since then, it’s become an absolute favorite for collaboration. It’s often described as a “Private Twitter”, but it’s really not. It allows you to post questions, make comments and communicate with your team in a short, informal way. While email is great, you sometimes need to post general comments to no one in particular, for example, when you’re looking to solve a problem but aren’t too sure who to seek out for help.

5. Yendo: Managing your books can be an absolute pain, unless you have the right tool. Yendo is a wonderfully simple accounting software that can help you manage track your sales and purchases, generate excellent reports, and generally keep track of your cash without hiring a full-time accountant! You can even track your expenses on the go with their iPad and iPhone optimized websites. Tour Yendo here.

Other notable mentions: Bantam Live (now merged with Constant Contact), MindMeister, Socialwok, Manymoon and Google Cloud Connect.

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