10 Must-Have Productivity and Efficiency Apps for Startups and Small Businesses in 2018

We all have our resolutions going into 2018, whether it’s to read more, stress less, or finally take a vacation. Aside from personal aspirations, for your business, you’re probably asking yourself how you can get things done faster, better, and more efficiently.

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The good news is that there is a slew of apps and tools designed to help your startup or small business do just that.

Here are a few of the top, must-haves productivity apps and tools for your small business or startup in 2018.

1. GoCo

For many small businesses, HR can be a mysterious thing. It’s complex, tricky to navigate, and often filled with paperwork. If you’re in a startup environment, it can be difficult to dedicate the headspace (and personnel) that are necessary to do a great job. The good news is that there are all-in-one platforms to help you meet your company’s needs.

GoCo.io is a platform that moves human resources and benefits to the cloud, streamlining employee onboarding and offboarding, time-tracking, performance management, benefits administration, document management, and compliance. It also works with some of the payroll and management software we’ll get into later in this article, giving you the HR capabilities you need without all the paperwork.

2. Goodhire

When it comes to growing your startup, one of the biggest pieces of advice you’ll get over and over again is to hire the right people. The problem is that there’s a lot that can go into that process: from reference and employment checks to pre-hire skill tests, there’s a lot that you probably want to know about someone before you decide to bring them onto your team. GoodHire helps you figure it all out with just a few clicks on your device, and gets everything back to you in less than 24 hours.

3. Gusto

Formerly known as ZenPayroll, Gusto makes your small business’s tax, benefits, and payroll process easier than ever before. It helps take care of all of the onboarding paperwork and also handles all of the reporting you need to do when you make a new hire. It takes care of federal, state, and local tax filings; emails paystubs to your employees; and automatically makes deductions for benefits and workers’ comp.

4. Freshbooks

And while we’re on the topic of payments, depending on your business model, there can be a lot of paperwork between when you get the job done and when you actually get paid for it. Managing and tracking invoices can be a tall order, but fortunately, Freshbooks is here to help. You can effortlessly create simple and professional invoices, set up recurring invoices for your clients, and accept credit cards on your mobile device. It also features expense-tracking, business report generation, and profit and loss statements to help you stay on top of everything you need to keep your business running smoothly.

5. Intercom

The truth about customer service is that whenever and wherever your customers have a good experience, that experience becomes their new baseline expectation for how they’ll be treated elsewhere. Positive and surprisingly delightful communication with customers is increasingly becoming a differentiator for businesses.

Intercom uses a combination of education, live chat, and more to make it easier for your startup to engage and interact with your consumers. That way, you can focus on solving problems before they start and make sure that your business is converting customers into fans.

6. Upwork

Sometimes when you’re running your small business you’ll come across a situation where you need a certain set of skills your team simply doesn’t possess. Since it’s a one-off project, you don’t necessarily want to hire someone full-time and deal with all of the paperwork (although we’ve looked at some tools and apps that can help).

Instead, consider turning to Upwork to find an independent contractor who can help you get your project done without all of the messiness. Whether it’s graphic design, web development, or copywriting, you can find someone who will jump in and handle whatever project you throw their way with aplomb. The review, bidding, and reference system help you make sure that you’re working with quality people, whatever the project may be.

7. SalesLoft

At the end of the day, your business depends on your ability to find and win more customers. SalesLoft can help, with software designed to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of your sales reps. It features email built for sales from the ground up, integrations with tools that you’re probably already using like Salesforce, and a sales dialer to keep the phones the ringing.

8. Pushover

If you need more than one device to run your business, Pushover is a gamechanger for keeping all your moving pieces connected and coordinated. It consolidates all of your push messages for all of your devices into one common space, letting you get a handle on everything that’s happening with your business at once.

9. RescueTime

Have you ever had a day that just got away from you? You keep on meaning to get to an important task, but first, you need to deal with all of this morning’s email, then with edits to a project you delivered yesterday, and before you know it, it’s time for lunch.

RescueTime can help you get a handle on where all your time is going by tracking where you spend it, sending you detailed reports and data to give you a full picture of how you spent your day. You can’t make progress on something until you start measuring it, so give it a try.

10. Trello

Having a team—even a small one—to lean on helps you get more done in the limited work hours of a given day, but it also means you have to spend a lot of time managing people and keeping projects and deadlines organized. If you’re spread out between emails, Slack, and tracking documents, it can be difficult to know where to go for the most accurate picture of what needs to get done when. Enter Trello, a team and task management platform that helps make keeping track of tasks as simple as possible. Centralize communications, structure projects, and get tasks checked off your to-do list like never before.

What You Can Do Right Now

If you’re growing your company, it means that you’re always looking for ways to get things done faster and better than ever before. Going into 2018, make sure that you have the tools and apps that you need to help your startup or small business succeed.

  • Use apps like GoCo, Freshbooks, and Gusto to simplify managing and paying your employees.

  • Look to GoodHire to make it easy to bring new people on board, or use Upwork to find an independent contractor.

  • Make your sales and customer service reps’ lives easier with Intercom and Salesloft.

  • Boost your productivity with Pushover, RescueTime, and Trello.

Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.