By Larry Alton, @LarryAlton3
Running a small business is no easy task. Between balancing multiple roles and being concerned about growth, you’re already investing more than enough time and resources into your business.
That’s why business owners have to be extremely efficient. The following 10 startups can help SMBs increase their productivity.
Located in Washington D.C., Contactually is a handy CRM that will aggregate and merge all of your existing contacts from your email, phone and social networks. By doing so you’ll be able to easily organize and stay in touch with potential sales leads with your whole team. Plans start at $29/month.
With Asana you and your team can stay on the same page without relying on email. You can painlessly assign tasks to team members, keep conversions in one convenient location, receive automatic updates regarding a project and organize projects by categories like initiatives. You can sign up for San Francisco-based Asana for free by using your Google account or a valid email address.
Looking for an easy way to invoice all your clients as well as import all your invoices automatically and have them paid on the day they are due? Due has an easy-to-use accounting platform that will help you keep track of billing your clients and getting paid. They also have put together the best guide to getting paid online. You can create an account for free.
BizeeBee, which is run out of Palo Alto, is a great tool if you run a business that relies on memberships, such as a fitness center. With BizeeBee you can keep track on the status of a membership, renew members and even process payments from one location. Following a two-week free trial, plans start at $67/month.
Staying organized with ideas, to-do-lists and reminders is a main concern for most SMBs. With Boston-based Driftt, however, you can easily and neatly keep these tasks organized by using hashtags to place them in the proper category. You can download the app for free at Google Play, Chrome Web Store and the App Store.
RescueTime is a Web-management tool from Seattle that provides analytics on how you spend your time on your computer. With this information you can do things like set goals for the day, create notifications for when you spend too much time on an activity or block distracting websites. RescueTime Lite is available for free, while the premium version is priced at $9/month.
Slack is a free tool out of San Francisco that can be used to help you communicate with team members by creating channels. These channels can include everything from messaging between team members, sharing files and summaries of rich links. There’s also seamless integration with services like Twitter and Google Apps. Cost: Free!
San Francisco's Handle is a nifty personal productivity tool that brings together your to-do-lists, calendar and emails from one app so that you can make the most out of your time. By using Handle, you’ll not only stay on top of personal goals, you can also use it to make certain emails and tasks a priority. The app is free to download for both Android and iOS users.
If you’re looking to close a sales deal, no matter where or when, then Immediately is your best option. This powerful app, based out of San Francisco, allows you to gather information on potential leads, send tracked emails or log progress into Salesforce directly from your mobile device. For pricing, contact Immediately for a demo.
A project management tool is essential for any business. The problem with most project management tools, however, is that they focus just on what the current task at hand is and not the big picture. With Tel Aviv's dapulse, you can unify your team by letting them view the entire process of a project. Plans start at $20/month.
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.