5 of the best productivity tools for small businesses on a budget

Every small business or startup wastes time somewhere, whether it’s organising contracts, dealing with client messages, or long-winded briefing.

It’s difficult for business owners to separate themselves sometimes, but productivity apps and tools are getting more and more sophisticated. They can identify where you waste time, help you stay on track, and even speed up your existing processes. We all know about Slack and Asana (which are great for minimising internal emails and project management), but there are lots of other tools out there which can help you and your team stay organised.

These 5 apps and tools are some of the best available, guaranteed to make admin jobs super easy. Plus, they all have either a free version or an affordable monthly subscription.


1. Spark

What is it? Simple email management.

Who’s going to love it? People who are often knee-deep in their inbox at 8:30pm.

How much? Free for up to 5 people and most of the features. For $6.39 a month you can upgrade to everything. 

A 2017 Canadian survey found office workers spend 11.7 hours a week in their inbox. The figures are likely to be even higher for business owners, who often shoulder most of the admin responsibility.

Spark makes it easy to clean up your inbox, pin or snooze for later, searchl with natural language, and schedule messages to be sent later. Plus, it looks great and works intuitively.


2. Time

What is it? An app which practically forces you make the most of every hour.

Who’s going to love it? People who struggle to stay on one task at once.

How much? £9.99 and the app is yours.

Made by brainbox students at Harvard and Stanford, Time confronts your distractions head on by setting a timer. You’ll get a colourful display which shows you how long you have left to complete something, and if you go over it (or forget about it) it changes to an ominous red.
A lot of App Store reviewers claim it’s the only productivity app that’s ever done the job for them


3. Wunderlist

What is it? A tool to manage all your personal and professional to-dos.

Who’s going to love it? People who love and/or desperately need lists.

How much? The core features are free. Wunderlist Pro is $4.99 a month, while the business version is $4.99 per user every month.

Wunderlist is TechRadar’s number one productivity tool of 2018, keeping all your to-do lists in one place. You can set reminders, tag people, assign tasks, and easily tick things off when you’re done.

The free package is perfect for solo entrepreneurs and freelancers, giving you the ability to access it on all your devices.


4. RescueTime

What is it?  RescueTime tells you what you’re spending your precious time on

Who’s going to love it? Anyone who knows they’re wasting time but doesn’t know where (i.e. most of us!)

How much? The free version is pretty comprehensive. The premium package costs $9 a month and includes lots of useful extras.

The key to not wasting time is knowing where you’re wasting it. RescueTime monitors all your apps and internet usage, giving you a report that accurately shows how your day is spent. This perspective is really helpful, and the app can help you reduce an hour here or boost an hour there with helpful daily reminders.


5.  DocuSign

What is it?  Digital contract signing.

Who’s going to love it?  People working with remote clients (particularly ones who dish out lots of NDAs)

How much? It’s free for the first 30 days, then packages range from £8 to £30 a month.

Who says you need to be sitting in someone’s office to make an agreement legal? DocuSign helps you send and receive contracts and legal documents. It’s easy to add a digital signature, and just as legally binding. Closing deals, starting projects, and signing clients just got much faster.


Now you’ve got your to-do list colour coded, Solna can help you get paid faster. Automation and clever insights help you chase late payers and do credit checks on new customers. Best of all, it’s completely free.

Do more of what you love and less of what you don’t. Get started now.


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