There are thousands of free or low-cost apps to help small businesses run efficiently. But as you scroll through the seemingly infinite App Store looking for just the right tools to help you boost productivity, improve customer experiences, or create a budget, how do you know which ones are the best?
These five Google apps offer excellent business management to help get you moving in the right direction.
Google My Business
If you need a better way to respond to customer feedback, complaints, or kudos, check out the Google My Business app. This little jewel does it all: it controls how your business appears on Google Search and Google Maps, reviews and responds to customer feedback and inquiries via instant alerts, and shares your phone number, business hours, address, and special photos just like a brick-and-mortar store. You can even update hours for special events or sales. This a free business listing that helps you focus on the customer experience, but it also provides quick stats to help you learn more about where potential customers are finding you, how many people click through to your turn-by-turn directions, and stay on top of viewer trends. All this from your smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Every small business owner needs this app to simplify their customer engagement workload.
Small business owners are some of the busiest people on the planet because they tend to wear more than one hat. It can be hard to find the time to sit down and update your data spreadsheets — a must for any successful business. Google Sheets not only makes this easy, but it’s also free.
One of the coolest features of this app is the autosave feature that automatically saves every keystroke while you type. If you’re interrupted by a customer with a challenging problem or an important client drops by unannounced, you can walk away from your work without having to worry that your data will disappear while you’re away from your desk. Time-saving features like templates for budgets and schedules, built-in formulas and conditional formatting, and colorful charts make it easy to organize the important data you need to keep an eye on your finances, inventory, and sales figures.
Currently only available for Android (but look for an iPhone version soon!), this app works best for companies that are already using Google Calendar. Even though you’re probably already familiar with this free app, you might not have tapped into all the great features it offers, such as creating a new event right from Google’s search bar, working with it offline, and having the app email your daily agenda to you like it’s your own personal assistant.
Another remarkable thing about this app is that when it looks like conflicting schedules are preventing a timely meeting, Calendar will search scheduled meetings to see if any of them can be rescheduled so that all essential employees can attend. Here are 14 other tricks to get the most out of Google Calendar.
Google Drive is like an online version of those metal filing cabinets that are standard fixtures in most offices. This free app is a safe and convenient way to store your files — documents, photos, and videos — and allow easy access from any device anywhere in the world at any time.
Plus you can search by filename or content, invite others to view or comment on files, and easily share important docs with colleagues and employees. The most unique feature may be the one that allows you to use a mobile or desktop camera as a scanner to upload paper docs. How cool is that?
Google Everypost helps you manage your multi-channel social media campaigns when it is most convenient for you. Curate and create content when you have time and then schedule your posts for the days and times when your audience is most likely to be online. While the basic version is free, you can amplify your reach with premium features for less than $10 a month. You get unlimited posts and can customize your marketing campaigns by choosing your own Tumblr blogs, Google+ circles, and Pinterest boards. No need to reformat your images because this app makes it easy to post almost anything — audio, graphics, and text. When you’re trying to keep your small business a few steps ahead of the competition without busting the budget, you’ll want to take advantage of all the free, or almost free, Google tools available.
Don’t forget about your web hosting service. For less than $10 a month, Bluehost offers services packages designed specifically for small business owners. Check out our product web pages, then hit the contact page to request a personal quote.