Tag Archives: small business technology

Five Best Apps for Small Business Owners


Small business owners are notorious for having a lot on their plates, and for juggling multiple projects at any given time. As a result, it’s easy for things to get hectic and overwhelming which takes a toll on your efficiency and overall productivity. Fortunately, there are several apps for small business owners that can provide helpful solutions.


1. Basecamp

Although there are countless project management tools on the market, Basecamp is arguably the best and easiest to use. It has an incredibly intuitive interface that makes it simple to keep your team members on the same page. You can organize multiple projects and seamlessly delegate tasks to your staff, while keeping tabs on what’s been done and what demands your attention.

Uploading documents like Word Docs, photos and other files is a cinch — and team members can communicate with ease by leaving comments. If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop project management app, Basecamp is your best bet.


2. Slack

Slack’s goal is to make small businesses less busy. They do this by offering a hyper-simplistic platform for team communication. The concept revolves around a central discussion board where you can organize conversations by public and private channels where everyone can stay up-to-date on what’s happening.

You can drag and drop files you need to share, receive relevant notifications and instantly search for content via a search box. Slack is a great alternative to email — users see an average 48.6 percent reduction in internal email.


3. Gusto

Formerly known as Zen Payroll, Gusto is a premier payroll app that makes it easy for you to pay your employees, while simultaneously managing taxes and employee benefits. This app does the lion’s share of payroll administrative tasks, saving time and helping to avoid ugly IRS penalties. Simply put, Gusto is a comprehensive tool for managing payroll and does all of the heavy lifting for you.


4. Xero

Accounting can no doubt be an arduous, painstaking process. If you’re looking for a robust app that’s capable of handling virtually every aspect of accounting, then Xero is it. Some features include:

  • Creating professional invoices
  • Managing inventory
  • Managing bills and expenses
  • Handling purchase orders
  • Producing detailed reports that are easy to decipher

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg-Xero is capable of doing so much more. It also integrates with over 500 third-party apps to make your life even easier.


5. Clear

If you struggle with keeping your business organized and meeting deadlines, then you’ll want to check out Clear. This Mac and iOS app allows you to create lists, set deadlines and create reminders to ensure that projects are completed on time.

You can sync it with your Macbook, iPad, iPhone and even Apple Watch so that you stay on top of things no matter where you are. Like most Apple platforms, Clear has a clean interface with optimal usability.


Small businesses today have a considerable advantage over those of the past because of the technology that’s available. By utilizing one or more of these apps for small business owners, you can keep operations running smoother while reducing unnecessary friction that may have been holding you back.

Top Technology Challenges Your Small Business Might Face


Whether it’s Cloud computing, the Internet of Things, or customer relationship management software, technology is omnipresent these days. Nearly any small business who hopes to be competitive must incorporate technology into their infrastructure and continually evolve along with it. This has created several technology challenges that could affect your small business.


Security Issues

Although technology has made small businesses more efficient than ever, it’s a double-edged sword when you consider the security issues it creates. The alarming thing is that the number of data breaches and overall cyber attacks is on the rise.

In fact, a study on the Identity Theft Resource Center website states that “The number of U.S. data breaches tracked in 2015 totaled 781, which represents the second highest year on record since the ITRC began tracking breaches in 2005.”

As a result, there are now federal laws and regulations in place regarding cyber security — and small businesses must be diligent about protecting the sensitive information of both consumers and employees. It’s important that you take proper steps to mitigate security risks:

  • Develop internal policies (e.g. password management)
  • Keep software updated
  • Check the security protocol of IT providers
  • Set parameters on which employees have access to sensitive information


Disaster Recovery

Regardless of the precautions taken, the potential for a disaster that temporarily renders an IT system useless is always possible. It could be something basic like a power outage due to severe weather or something more nefarious like direct sabotage.

Prolonged downtime means you’re unable to do business, you’re losing money and your customers are unhappy. In some cases, this can even be a blow to your company’s reputation and brand image.

While you can never completely eliminate the chance of a disaster occurring, there are a few things you can do to minimize downtime — and it all starts with taking a proactive approach:

  • Create a data recovery plan (e.g. archiving data and scheduled backups)
  • Continually monitor your network and promptly address any anomalies
  • Utilize firewalls and anti-virus software
  • Maintain IT equipment and replace devices when necessary


Long-Term Scalability

When you initially implement an IT system, it may be totally sufficient for several years. At some point, you’re likely to run into complications if your business continues to grow but your IT system doesn’t grow along with it. In fact, this is a problem that many small businesses encounter because they may not have the budget to immediately buy the costly software/hardware they need.

Consider the “big picture” when investing in IT. Elasticity is key, so you should consider whether the equipment/software you purchase will still be viable in 5, 10 or even 15 years. It’s also wise to utilize Cloud technology because of its inherent flexibility and scalability.


When running a small business, you’re no doubt going to face technology challenges at some point. By understanding what you’re up against and taking proactive measures, you can usually find effective solutions to minimize many of your obstacles.