Lack of organization can be a time killer — and when you’re running a business, time is money. Money is money too, of course, and investing in high-dollar organization software might not be an option at this point, which is why it helps to know the best free apps that can save you hours every day.
The common line of thinking is that free apps are usually so scaled down, that they are virtually useless for business use — or they’re so full of ads that they annoy you into paying a fee. While that can be true for some apps, you might be surprised at what your business can do with a good free app.
If you have an arsenal of really good apps that are free, streamlining your business is not only cheaper, but easier than you might think. Here are 5 free apps that will transform your business and save you valuable time.
Evernote is a digital notebook for all of your notes and documents, but it’s much more than that.
- Syncing with all of your devices, so that everything is all in one place, wherever you are
- Making it easy to find what you need with its Search feature
- Storing images, so you don’t have to worry about losing that important business card or receipt — just snap a photo of it
- Keeping your notes organized, whether it’s an idea that hits you in the grocery store or notes from an important meeting
- Allowing you to share documents with others, so group projects are streamlined.
If this all sounds simple, it is. But you won’t realize how much time you’re wasting until you have everything organized in one place and easy to find.The free version is extremely functional; it allows you to create separate notebooks for work, home, travel, event planning, teams, or anything else. It’s simple to use across all of your devices, and works with PC, Mac, iPhone and Android.
Think of WorkFlowy as a never-ending sheet of digital paper on which you can create highly detailed, organized lists for every area of your life. Workflowy starts as a blank page, but where it becomes a useful tool is in the way it makes lists cleaner and more manageable, while allowing a large amount of information to be stored within the lists. <
- An easy-to-read bullet point format
- A zoom feature that allows you to contract and expand lists, so you can view a simplified overview, full details, and individual entries
- A handy tagging system that utilizes hashtags to help you filter the entries by topic or priority. For example, if you add a task that needs to be done today to the bottom of the list, a #today hashtag will allow you to find it — and any other tasks tagged #today — with one click.
- A starring system that helps you to organize multiple pages with ease.
- A sharing feature that allows you to share any part of your list with anyone. What’s nice about this is, you don’t have to share a whole document. Simply click on a bullet point and click “Share.” Only that bullet point and its subs will be shared, with the option to allow other people to edit.
You can get a lot out of Workflowy. It is available for PC and Mac. The mobile app, once limited to the iPhone, is now Android-compatible as well, so you can use it anywhere.
3. Hemingway Editor
Writing effectively is essential in business, especially when you’re communicating with customers. Your blog posts, newsletters, and even Facebook status updates should be readable. But what, exactly, is readability? The Hemingway Editor takes your text and highlights sections that may have issues, including:
- Sentences that require a college-level reading ability and comprehension
- Sentences that require a post-college-level reading ability and comprehension (these are often long sentences that should probably be split into two)
- Adverbs, which weaken your text if over-used
- Complicated words that can be simplified (such as “utilize” vs. “use”)
- Passive voice, which makes text less dynamic than active voice
Ideally, anything you publish to the web should be below a Grade 10 reading level, with little to no flowery prose or obscure words. Keep it simple, keep it clean. Don’t be shocked to see highlights (maybe a lot a highlights) on your text when you first use this app.
This tool isn’t meant to tell you your writing is bad, but to help you create more effective online text. While this app is compatible with PC and Mac, it is not yet available for iPhone and Android.
Jing is a computer screen capture program that streamlines the creation and sharing of demos, presentations, and training material. It allows you to crop, capture, and save in one step, instead of the multiple steps involved with the old fashioned Printscreen command.
Jing allows you to share things like Powerpoint slides or presentations from your computer screen instantly, so instead of hard-to-schedule meetings, you can create a flexible share space to discuss ideas.
Jing also allows you to create short videos and share them with anyone, allowing them to view and respond when convenient. This feature is great for demos and training.
- Screen capturing, to create “slides” from your screen
- Screen recording, to create videos of activity (such as Powerpoint presentations) on any section of your screen you choose
- Quick sharing options
- Storage of all screen captures as soon as they’re created
This free app has free tech support and free tutorials to get you started. Available on PC and Mac. Not yet available on iPhone and Android.
Buffer Free allows you to post to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media accounts simultaneously. The platform is simple and easy to use, which means you won’t be spending a lot of time learning how to use it.
Once you use Buffer, you won’t be able to imagine manual social media again. Not only will it save you time from posting to your profiles individually, it will likely increase your use of social media — which is beneficial for your business.
- A scheduling tool that allows you to create multiple posts at once and spread them out over a period of time to the social media sites you choose. You can schedule a time to share a post to one or two social media platforms, or all three at once
- Links are automatically shortened, so URLs don’t take up too many characters in your Tweets
- Analytics that help you see which posts are effective and which aren’t
The free Buffer Individual Plan allows you to link up one profile per social media site, and store up to 10 posts per profile. It is compatible with PC and Mac. The mobile app for iPhone and Android allows you to post to all of your accounts on-the-go, or use the extension for Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
We use these apps, and we’ve seen the difference a bit of (free!) organization can make.
What are the tools you use to keep your business running smoothly day-to-day.
Let us know in the comments!
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