Don’t let the name fool you. Being a small business owner is no small undertaking, especially when you’re just starting out. Thankfully, we live in a day where our phones and tablets can take some of the burdensome, mundane tasks off our shoulders. With an app (or two or five) available for virtually every single task you can think of, it can be mind boggling trying to sort through all the clutter in the app store. While apps can certainly help you run your business more efficiently, what you don’t want are the ones that are incredibly time consuming and cumbersome to use.
So without any further ado, here are four sanity—and time, as well as money—saving apps you need to download today.
In all transparency, this is a Website where small business owners can find inexpensive, but high quality, freelance talent for as little as $5. ($5…Fiverr, get it?). Freelance graphic designers, video editors, marketers, writers, web developers and more can be found on Fiverr. Gone are the days of having to shell out hundreds of dollars on a hope and a prayer that your web designer is going to work out. Now, with Fiverr, you can see ratings from others about the quality of the freelancers’ work, as well how communicative and timely they are.
The Fiverr app is a complement to the actual Fiverr Website; and it makes finding great talent even more convenient. Pretty much anything you can think of (or can’t think of) is offered by someone. Of course, if you need the basics— marketing, accounting, web development, etc.—that’s available., but feel free to get creative with it, too. Need a hip-hop jingle for your business? You’ve got it. Looking for someone to serve as a virtual interior designer for your new office? Just a click away. How about a life size caricature of your executive team to post in your main conference room? Yep, that’s there too.
Taxes. Few things are more mundane than having to sort through all your receipts at the end of the year and organize them accordingly. Enter Shoeboxed, the app that allows you to go paperless by organizing all your receipts for you. Just snap a pic of your receipt and upload to the app. Voila!
Shoeboxed also syncs with your email inbox and automatically pulls in receipts from online purchases. No more trying to remember what you bought from where and on what date once tax time rolls around. You can also scan in all the business cards you collect from conferences and the like.
Once your receipts are in Shoeboxed, you can then manually organize them yourself for free. But if you really want to save some time, you can pay a nominal monthly fee to have the Shoeboxed team do it for you. When you subscribe, you don’t even have to upload to the app anymore. Instead, they’ll send you postage paid “Magic Envelopes” each month for you to stuff all your paper receipts into. They will then take on the task of scanning them all in and organizing them for you. It’s like having your own private bookkeeper, but for much less money. Score!
This is my favorite one on this list. If you drive a lot for your business, you should likely be taking a mileage deduction at tax time. But who can remember to always pull out the mileage ledger and manually figure out how far you’ve driven? What if you forget to check your starting mileage? Then you’re just guessing, and that’s rarely a good idea. Instead, use MileIQ, which uses GPS tracking via your phone to know exactly where you start and stop so it can accurately calculate your mileage and inform you of how much of a deduction you can claim for that particular drive.
While the aforementioned Shoeboxed also tracks mileage, their process for that service isn’t as seamless and simple as MileIQ. With MileIQ, you don’t have to remember to start or stop the tracker; it just does its thing. Once you have a free moment, you can see all your “drives” and can then sort them accordingly by personal or business with just a swipe of your finger. Easy peasy.
At this time, MileIQ gives you 40 drives free each month, or you can subscribe to the unlimited drives plan for only $5.99/month. 40 drives can add up really quickly, so if you feel that yoru time is worth more than six bucks a month—which, you should–just splurge on the $5.99.
When you’re a startup, almost every dollar you make gets re-invested back into the business, oftentimes making saving money difficult. But what if you could save, and then invest, the additional change from your debit card purchases? Imagine how that might add up. Acorns is your answer. Here’s how Acorns works: Say, you spend $44.32 on supplies. Acorns will round your purchase up by an additional 68 cents and invest it in your Acorns account. Now, while 68 cents doesn’t sound like much, multiply that by the number of transactions you have each month.
Now, we’re talking.
And since the app makes withdrawals from your bank account only when you hit $5 in spare change, you don’t need to be concerned with having a huge lump sum coming out of your bank at once. The nice thing about Acorns isn’t just that it’s a “set-it-and-forget-it” savings app, but that it also invests the money for you. I saw a $237 return on my spare change in just the first couple of months. Definitely nothing to retire on but certainly nothing to sneeze at, either; especially when that came just from saving and investing my spare change. While I wouldn’t advise making this your only savings tool, it is certainly a nice way to save small amounts of money that otherwise would be spent—possibly on something frivolous.
Gwen Jimmere is the CEO & Founder of NATURALICIOUS, one of the fastest growing natural hair care brands in the US. She is the brains behind the revolutionary OooLaLocks Hair Box–the only all-in-one natural hair care system guaranteed to take you from wash to ready-to-style in 1 hour or less. A longtime and highly sought after healthy hair care expert, Gwen is also a frequent keynote speaker and panelist on small business and entrepreneurship. Her natural hair care line is sold in select Whole Foods stores, and other fine retailers, around the country.