19 Productivity Tools for Small Business

Hannah Conway
08.11.19
13 minute read

Did you know that only around 60% of time at work is spent productively?¹ Wasted time can equal wasted money for small businesses, but you can fight back with technology.

There’s a whole heap of helpful Android and iOS productivity apps out there, from virtual meeting apps like Skype, through to apps such as TransferWise to streamline your business finances.

So let’s take a look at the apps that’ll transform your working day.


Save time & money with TransferWise

TransferWise offers a free business account to send, spend, and receive multiple currencies with the real exchange rate.

Automate payments and payroll with an open API, and integrate with your accounting software - to make global payments simple, fast and low-cost.

Create your free account & take your business global.

More on that later.


Contents:
Financial Management
  • Accounting software
  • Money transfer
Team Communication and Collaboration
  • Slack
  • Monday.com
  • TameDay
Project Management
  • Asana
  • BaseCamp
  • Trello
Note-Taking and To-Do Lists
  • One Note
  • Evernote
  • Todoist
Time Tracking
  • Toggl
  • Tsheets
  • RescueTime
Social Media Scheduling and Email Marketing Software
  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • MailChimp
Virtual Meeting Software
  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • Join.me

Financial Management

Accounting Software

Many business owners think they can handle accounting themselves, until they actually try to do it. Software can save you the headache of complex VAT returns, report generation and a thousand other tasks. You can sync it with other accounts and crucially, it can save you from making costly mistakes.

Take a look at our guide to the best accounting software for small businesses, to help you find the right tool for balancing the books.

Money transfer

If you need to pay overseas suppliers or sell to a global market, you’re going to need to find the fastest, cheapest and most reliable way to make and receive international payments.. Money transfer apps are just the ticket, offering all of this plus the convenience of managing money on the move.

We’ve put together a guide to the best money transfer apps for improving business performance and streamlining money management – take a look.

TransferWise can help simplify your business

The key to success is making business processes simple, and automating where possible - to allow you to focus on building your company. TransferWise combines convenience,** speed** and** price** - to help make your financial operations a breeze.

TransferWise works for everyone - from small businesses to large enterprises. See how it can help you today - create your free account in minutes.

Cost and Speed

TransferWise is 19x cheaper than PayPal for international payments - so you’ll benefit from a global market without losing out on fees and marked-up exchange rates - making paying overseas suppliers effortless.

You’ll also maximise profits, by receiving client payments with zero fees with local account details - that you can get in minutes. You can even spend anywhere with no hidden fees, using the free TransferWise Business Mastercard®.

And, as TransferWise has domestic banking partners all over the world - your money can get to where it needs to be - faster.

Convenience

Using the TransferWise payouts platform for global businesses, you can make payouts faster, and for less - all around the world. Easily pay multiple international payments to pay recurring invoices and payroll with one click.

Handle your accounting instantly, by automatically syncing your activity for over 40 currencies to Xero. It's like connecting Xero with your bank – but better.

You can also automate payments, connect business tools and create beautiful ways to manage finances, with our open API.

And, you can manage it all on the go with the TransferWise app.

Now, about that productivity…

transferwise-money-transfer-app

Team Communication and Collaboration

Teams that work, communicate and collaborate well together, are able to streamline processes and get things done.

Slack

Slack is a powerful online communication app designed to make team communication more effective.

  • Integration with apps.
  • Share rich media, links and more in a single thread.
  • Group calls and screen sharing with up to 15 people.*

Slack is an affordable (free for small teams) messaging platform that can cut email use down to size, as well giving your team a more dynamic way to communicate.²

Pricing

For small teams, Slack is free - but if you have more employees or need the more exclusive features then you’ll need one their paid plans. There are:

  • Small Teams: Free.
  • Standard: 6.25 EUR per active user - more access to features, increased file storage, group calling capabilities and more options for security authentication.
  • Plus: 11.75 EUR per active user - all the features of Standard + higher levels of support and up-time guarantee.³**

*Voice and video calls are only available for up to 15 people, with paid plans. **Prices based on annual billing. Higher prices if opt to bill monthly. For full pricing details visit the Slack website.

Monday.com

Monday.com offers an innovative platform for tracking projects, managing tasks, meeting deadlines and crucially, team collaboration.

  • User-friendly, highly visual and simple for organisations to adopt.
  • Easy collaboration – with conversations, checklists and files all in one place.
  • Integration with Google Drive, DropBox, Slack, Trello and more.

When it comes to improving employee engagement to drive business performance, adopting an aesthetically-pleasing, user-friendly app like Monday.com is a great way to get your team on board.⁴

Pricing

The cost of using Monday.com depends on how many people you have in your team, and the level of plan you opt for.. For example if you have 15 users, there are 4 plan options to choose from:

  • Basic: 75 EUR per month.
  • Standard: 119 EUR per month.
  • Pro: 179 EUR per month.**
  • Enterprise: Contact their sales team for details.⁵

**Prices based on annual billing. For full pricing details visit the Monday.com website.

TameDay

TameDay is all about steering your staff away from messy email chains, instead encouraging fast, dynamic messaging with its real-time chat app.

  • Messages, to-do lists, calendars, files and more all in one place.
  • Powerful search function, to find anything in an instant.
  • Supports Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, a global productivity movement.

Unlike some other tools which also offer project management features, TameDay has a central focus on helping people to work together more productively.⁶

Pricing

Prices differ depending on the number of users that will access the platform. An overview is:

  • 1 staff user: Free (limited to 3 active projects).
  • 1 staff user (aimed at freelancers): 5.90 EUR per month.
  • 3 staff users: 16.00 EUR per month.
  • 5 staff users: 22.00 EUR per month.
  • 10 staff users: 40.00 EUR per month.

You can get unlimited access for 3.50 EUR per user, per month.⁷***

***Unlimited plans start at a minimum of 11 users. For full pricing details visit the TameDay website.

apps for business productivity

Project Management

Project management apps bring together all of the many different tasks, team members and resources needed to bring a project home.

Asana

Asana is an established app used by big players such as Intel, Uber and Pinterest⁸, offering a full set of tools for organising and managing projects.

  • Useful for everyday task management as well as projects.
  • Integrations with a wide range of software and apps.
  • Free for teams with up to 15 members.

If you need to be super organised to get a project finished, choose Asana. It’s easy to use, has a huge range of features and is an industry favourite.⁹

Pricing

Asana offer 4 levels of account, they’re priced at:

  • Basic: Free - for individuals or teams just getting started with project management.
  • Premium: 10.99 EUR per user, per month - if you need to create project plans.
  • Business: 24.99 EUR per user, per month - if you need to manage work across initiatives.
  • Enterprise: Contact Sales team for details - if you need additional security, control, and support.¹⁰

BaseCamp

One of the most widely used apps for project management, Basecamp offers a central hub from which to organise projects. In short, it gives you everything in one place.

  • Manage to-do lists, schedules, reports and message boards.
  • Real-time group chat and automatic check-ins.
  • Customize every project with the tools you need.

BaseCamp may be a little pricey (although it offers an all-inclusive monthly price, so no per-user fees), but it can transform the way you work.¹¹

Pricing

Basecamp over plans for both personal and business users. For their business option, the cost is 99$ per month. This is for all business, regardless of the number of users need to access the tool. They have the option for you to try before you buy - with a free 30 day trial.¹²

Trello

This popular business productivity app is based on Kanban boards, helping you to make tasks visible to everyone and move them through phases all the way to completion.

  • Incredibly user-friendly, with a simple interface.
  • Create several boards for different projects.
  • Add detail with comments, attachments, due dates, and more.

If you need to organise tasks and to-do-lists, share ideas and move projects along, Trello is a great tool, and it’s free to use.¹³

Pricing

Trello let you use their service in a way that suits you, with pricing to match. The three pricing tiers are:

  • Standard account: Free.
  • Business: $9.99 per user, per month.
  • Enterprise: $20.83 per user, per month - 100 employees.¹⁴

Pricing based on being billed annually. Cost per user of Enterprise package, decreases the higher the number of users you have.For full pricing details visit the Trello website.

business productivity

Note-Taking and To-Do Lists

When there’s a million things to do and remember - productive people tnd to write it down.

OneNote

OneNote is the digital notebook from Microsoft, offering a similar interface to Microsoft Word (with elements of Microsoft Paint).

  • Add, organise, share and even draw on notes on any device.
  • Mix media – audio notes, video links and files, plus OneNote Web Clipper.
  • If your organisation already uses Microsoft Office, OneNote is included in the package – it’s not available as a standalone app.

While perhaps not as fast or innovative as some of the other top Android and iPhone productivity apps, OneNote is nonetheless a useful tool for Office users.

Pricing

OneNote is a Microsoft product, and is free to download. If you want access to additional Microsoft products, then there may be a cost.¹⁵

Evernote

Evernote is one of the most widely used productivity apps for Android and iPhone, for both business and personal users.

  • Syncs across all of your devices.
  • Annotate uploaded documents and images.
  • Supports multimedia note-taking, including photos, voice memos, video and clippings from the web.

Evernote offers all the bells and whistles you could want with a note-taking app, which is probably why it’s one of the most popular productivity apps for Android and iPhone.¹⁶

Pricing

Evernote offer 2 account options: Basic, Premium and Basic - the prices for which are:

  • Basic: Free.
  • Prenium: £4.99 per month.
  • Business: £10.99 per month (minimum of 2 users).

All paid account options come with the option of a free trial, so you can check if it’s right for you before you buy.¹⁷

Todoist

Todoist offers a straightforward, user-friendly app for budding note takers, with a couple of handy extra features.

  • Quick Add to capture, to quickly organise tasks.
  • Due dates, recurring deadlines and colour coding can added to tasks.
  • Free for up to 5 people and 80 projects a month.

As it’s so easy to start using Todoist, this is a great app for technology-shy teams who need a simple way to organise their workload on a Monday morning.¹⁸

Pricing

ToDoist have 3 tiers of pricing based on the number of projects you have, and how many people will be working on them:

  • Starter: Free - up to 80 projects, with 5 people per project.
  • Premium for Pros: 3 EUR per user, per month - up to 800 projects, with 25 people per project.
  • Business for teams: 5 EUR per user, per month - up to 500 projects, with 50 people per project.¹⁹

transferwise-productivity-apps

Time Tracking

Time tracking apps give you a clear picture of what your team are spending their time on, helping you to analyse business productivity.

Toggl

Popular among smaller businesses, freelancers and consultants, Toggl offers a quick, easy way to start tracking your time.

  • Simple reports and charts for evaluating productivity.
  • Cloud-based, syncing to all devices.
  • Free for teams of up to 5 people.

Rather than wasting time adding, categorising and organising tasks, Toggl offers single-click time tracking. It’s really simple, and it’s free for small teams.²⁰

Pricing

Toggl has something for everyone, from those who are just starting out and those who need more support as their business grows:

  • Starter: $10 per user, per month - compact time management.
  • Premium: $20 - effortless team time management.
  • Enterprise: Contact sales team for pricing - for complex or large organisations.²¹

TSheets

TSheets is a time tracking app by QuickBooks. It’s more advanced than some of its rivals, with a focus on payroll functions as well as team management.

  • One-click time tracking and timesheet submissions for multiple users.
  • Build and share employee schedules .
  • Integration with accounting/payroll software.

If you need an app that does more than simply log time tracking entries, TSheets is a good one to go for – particularly for payroll tasks and if you already use accounting software like QuickBooks.²²

Pricing

To use TSheets, it’ll cost you $8 per user, per month + $20 base fee per month. However, you can contact their sales team to discuss volume pricing. There is also a 14-day free trial, so you can try before you buy.²³

RescueTime

RescueTime does things a little differently, which is perhaps why it’s one of the leading Android, iPhone, Windows and Mac productivity apps. It automatically logs time spent on digital devices.

  • Team-level insights for improving company productivity.
  • Productivity Pulse – a daily update on productivity.
  • Integrations with a wide range of apps.

None of us quite realise just how much time we waste on our devices, but RescueTime gives you a clear, unflinching picture. Ultimately, it could transform the productivity and digital habits of your team.²⁴

Pricing

RescueTime offer flexible plans to meet your time management needs, for both individuals and businesses. The plans are:

  • Lite: Free - understand your time.
  • Premium: $6 per month with 14 day free trial.
  • Organisations: $6 per user with 30 day free trial.²⁵

productivity improvement

Social Media Scheduling and Email Marketing

Social media can be one of the biggest time drains around, especially if you’re posting live. Among the best apps for business productivity are those that let you schedule social media posts, so you can manage your time.

Buffer

One of the big players when it comes to managing social media content, Buffer enables content creation and schedules across multiple platforms with a single click.

  • Multimedia format sharing and team collaboration.
  • Content sharing extension available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
  • Informative analytics features.

Buffer is a real time saver, letting you see at-a-glance what’s coming up in your content schedule, as well as any gaps.²⁶

Pricing

There are different prices if you want to publish, reply or analyze your social media posts. Within these 3 areas there a different levels of pricing. The pricing that may be most relevant for business are:

  • Publish (Business): $99 per month - 25 social accounts.
  • Reply (Business): $35 per month - 10 social accounts.
  • Analyze (Premium): $50 per month - 10 social accounts.

All mentioned plans offer a 14 day free trial, except the Reply (Business) that only offers a free trial for 7 days.²⁷

Prices based on monthly billing schedule. For full pricing details see the Buffer website.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a social media management platform offering content scheduling, plus additional features to help you manage your brand’s online presence.

  • Content creation and scheduling across all social channels.
  • Social streams and live tracking of mentions of your brand or product.
  • Insightful social analytics reports.

Hootsuite is a brilliant business productivity app, going further than some of its rivals by offering greater insight and more ways to plan effective social media strategies.²⁸

Pricing

HootSuite’s pricing depends on the number of social accounts you have, and how many people will manage the accounts:

  • Professional: 25 EUR per month - 10 social profiles for 1 user.
  • Team: 109 EUR per month - 20 social profiles for 3 users.
  • Business: 599 EUR per month - 35 social profiles for 5-10 users.
  • Enterprise: Contact sales team for pricing and solutions.

The 30 day free trial is only available for the Professional and Team plans, but you can request a demo for the Business and Enterprise solutions. ²⁹

MailChimp

MailChimp is a user-friendly email marketing tool, designed for businesses wanting to send large volumes of emails (without ending up blacklisted as a potential spammer).

  • Choice of customisable templates.
  • Segmentation for targeted emails and automated campaigns.
  • Insightful reporting and analytics.

MailChimp is a top choice for planning email marketing campaigns, plus it’s quite easy for even total beginners to get used to. ³⁰

Pricing

MailChimp offer plans that can grow as your business does. They offer 4 plan options, depending on the number of contacts you have, audience and features needed. The plans are:

  • Free: $0 - 2000 contacts & 1 audience.
  • Essentials: $9.99 per month - 50,000 contacts & 3 audiences.
  • Standard: $14.99 per month - 100,000 contacts & 5 audiences.
  • Premium: $299.00 per month - 200,000+ contacts & unlimited audiences.³¹

business-productivity-software

Virtual Meeting Software

How much time does your team waste travelling to and from meetings? Virtual meeting apps can save you hours, letting you speak face-to-face with clients and colleagues - anywhere in the world.

Skype

Skype is a web-based video calling platform offering all kinds of time-saving ways to chat, meet and collaborate.

  • Audio and HD video calling.
  • Instant messaging, group video calls and screen sharing.
  • Business functionalities, such as conference calls for up to 250 people.

If you’re tired of trekking across the country for a 15-minute meeting, give video conferencing tools like Skype a try. It’s popular, so lots of your colleagues and clients will already be using it.³²

Pricing

The cost of using Skype depends on where you want to make calls to. Here is an overview of some of the pricing plans for calls to mobile and landlines that are available:

  • United States subscription £2.40 per month.
  • India subscription: £6.60 per month.
  • North America subscription: £6.00 per month.

All plans offer a free trial for a month - so you can try before you commit to a subscription. Skype-to-Skype calls are free.³³

Zoom

Zoom Meetings offer enterprise video conferencing, plus content sharing, real-time messaging and more.

  • Audio and HD video calling for meetings, training, internal and external communications.
  • Usable on any device, and syncs with your calendar system.
  • Meeting recording and searchable transcripts.

Zoom is designed to be super easy to use, so that any workplace can adopt it. This makes it a great choice if you’re new to video conferencing.³⁴

Pricing

Zoom has meeting plan options, no matter the size of your business. There is a free personal meeting option, but for all other services there is a monthly subscription cost:

  • Basic (Personal Meeting): Free - up to 100 participants & 40 minutes limit on group meetings.
  • Pro (Small Teams): £11.99 per month - up to 100 participants & 24 hour limit on meetings.
  • Business (Small & Medium Businesses): £15.99 per month - up to 300 participants, but needs a minimum of 10 hosts.
  • Enterprise (Large Businesses): £15.99 per month - up to 5000 to 1000 participants, but needs a minimum of 50 hosts.³⁵

For full pricing details and available features, visit the Zoom site.

Join.me

Join.me is an online conferencing and meeting app. Use it to start or join a meeting – without having to travel – as well as collaborating with colleagues.

  • Video and audio conferencing with up to 250 people.
  • Screen sharing, text chat and call recording.
  • Additional whiteboard apps available for collaboration.

Use Join.me for a flexible, customisable way to plan and host meetings, which could drastically reduce your company travel expenses.³⁶

Pricing

Join.me offer 3 payment plans, with various features. The plans are:

  • Lite: £9 - up to 5 participants per meeting, but no webcam streams.
  • Pro: £13 - up to 250 participants per meeting, 10 webcam streams, and recording function.
  • Business: £20 - up to 250 participants and Enterprise authentication (SSO. ³⁷

For full pricing details and available features, visit the Join.me site.


Small businesses need to squeeze the most from every second in order to succeed.

With the productivity apps above, you’ll be able to reclaim time otherwise wasted on ineffective processes or time-draining admin. You can even manage your finances better with convenient apps, like TransferWise, and bring your team closer together with project management software.


Sources used:

  1. Statistics on time spent at work
  2. Slack
  3. Slack: Pricing
  4. Monday.com
  5. Monday.com: Pricing
  6. TameDay
  7. TameDay: Pricing
  8. Online collaboration tools: Asana
  9. Asana
  10. Asana: Pricing
  11. BaseCamp
  12. BaseCamp: Pricing
  13. Trello
  14. Trello: Pricing
  15. OneNote
  16. EverNote
  17. EverNote: Pricing
  18. ToDoist
  19. ToDoist: Pricing
  20. Toggl
  21. Toggl: Pricing
  22. TSheets
  23. TSheets: Pricing
  24. RescueTime
  25. RescueTime: Pricing
  26. Buffer
  27. Buffer: Pricing
  28. HootSuite
  29. HootSuite: Pricing
  30. MailChimp
  31. MailChimp: Pricing
  32. Skype Business
  33. Skype: Pricing
  34. Zoom
  35. Zoom: Pricing
  36. Join.me
  37. Join.me: Pricing

Sources checked 07-November 2019.


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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