Can Apps Help Small Businesses Run More Efficiently?

Many small business owners these days are often trying to figure out ways in which they can streamline their companies' operations, and some are turning increasingly toward the kinds of software solutions that their kids might use to play games and communicate with their friends while on the go.

The fact of the matter is that many independent companies may scoff at the ability of something as trivial as "apps" to help them do much of anything that helps to ensure both current and future success, but in reality there are many that can really shore up operations that might in some ways be in need of a few tweaks, according to a report from the Charlotte Observer. For instance, many companies may be running a little inefficiently without even knowing it simply because it's not always easy for owners to know what they might need to do next, or what they've had on the back burner for a while. As a consequence, a simple application that will allow owners to keep tabs on their current pending tasks, such as the checklist app Wunderlist, can allow them to track their progress not only on their mobile phones, but any device on which they've installed and signed into their accounts.

This kind of syncing can also allow employees to check in on their own progress with various projects as time goes on, the report said. Another app, known as Trello, can work in much the same way, with multiple users providing feedback on projects they're working on in real time, so that all involved are constantly being made aware of where everything stands and how it affects their work.

Further, companies can also take advantage of applications that allow them to more easily share not only information about their progress, but also documents and other files, the report said. Dropbox is a popular service for this kind of thing, allowing anyone with account login information to upload and download just about any computer file. The web space that signing up for this site comes with can be put to use in a number of ways, but again, if nothing else it can be used to track progress toward a company goal.

Focus on customers as well
Another benefit of apps is that they can be used to work for a company not only internally, but externally as well, the report said. For instance, an app called Zendesk can be used to streamline the customer support process by allowing consumers to submit feedback, which can then be viewed by any of a company's employees with the right login data. This can then help to organize the entire process and make sure that legitimate concerns are being addressed as expediently and easily as possible. Owners or other executives put in charge of such processes will also be able to use analytics keep close tabs on how long it's taking employees to handle such issues submitted through the program.

Of course, the ultimate purpose of using these kinds of apps is to make sure that companies are operating as efficiently as possible, and owners should likewise make sure they're prioritizing their efforts to ensure their various operating costs are as reasonable as they possibly can be. For example, shopping around to find the most affordable small business insurance can free up thousands of dollars per year that can then be devoted toward other needs. Cutting costs for coverage options like workers' compensation insurance, or general liability insurance, are often some of the easiest ways to achieve such a goal.