Digital working conditions mean more tools for entrepreneurs than ever before! However, it can be challenging to understand a lifesaving time saver and what's mostly for flourish. So, to make things easier, this list has been pared down to only those essentials tools for all aspects of your business, from task management to payroll.
Apps for Organization and Productivity
Asana is a crucial work management tool that has grown over the years to accommodate many business models. At its core, Asana uses tasks that include an assignee, due date, recurring due date, attachments, comments, tags, and followers to keep track of who's doing what. The app privileges flexibility above a complex organization so teams can customize unique Asana templates to their particular needs.
Asana is free for organizations under ten persons with a fair amount of functions. Asana Premium comes in at just under CAD 14 per person per month or CAD 31 per person per month for a business account with automation controls.
ToDoist is a beautiful alternative to Asana, which focuses more on personal task management than team coordination. ToDoist doesn't overcomplicate the list app formula but instead provides an intuitive experience across multiple platforms. ToDoist also includes friendly tools like natural language inputs which means you can schedule tasks using everyday language.
The free account provides an excellent opportunity to test the app on a personal level. However, you'll want a business account to unlock crucial features like filters and productivity reports. The business account costs CAD 6 per year per customer and supports up to 500 projects with 50 collaborators.
Apps for Content Creation
Obviously, you're going to need a website for your business, but maybe scrolling through pages and pages of code is not the best use of your time. Webflow is an excellent tool for those that want a fully customizable site but don't have the technical know-how to make that possible. It's similar to apps like WordPress but more intuitive and flexible. It also works great for collaborating with small teams or clients using its suggestion features! A Lite account comes in at just under CAD 20 per month, but you can start using it for free until you are ready to publish it.
Inevitably, writing mistakes will happen, and writing assistants like Grammarly are essential to keeping things professional. In addition, the app addresses high-level grammatical nuances, which can be a real pain to get a knack of, especially if you're writing in a second language.
However, this app goes far beyond just correcting mistakes. It has options to diversify your vocabulary and provide stylistic suggestions to match your genre of writing. Not to mention Grammarly is available as a web browser extension, so you can access all of these features without having to open anything. There's a free account to try it out, but the pro account comes in at just under CAD 172 a year.
Coming in at just $12.49 per month, Canva is an affordable drag and drops solution to all of your design needs. While it lacks the flexibility and power of something like the Adobe Suite, it covers an impressive range of design needs. In addition, templates make producing professional-looking graphics nearly effortless.
The pro plan provides access to branding tools, millions of stock images and hundreds of thousands of customizable templates.
Apps for Sales and Marketing
ActiveCampaign is a newsletter marketing tool. However, where it shines is in their advanced automation services like autoresponders and other communication-based website tools.
Moreover, ActiveCampaign includes crucial reporting of your sales and marketing efforts. It provides a thorough report of things like click-maps, geo-tracking and page visits, so you have plenty of feedback to work with. A lite plan comes in at $18 a month for 500 subscribers up to 5,000 subscribers for $121 a month.
Hunter.io is an email finder and verifier tool perfect for entrepreneurs who want to build a database of email contacts. For example, search a domain like Apple.com and get a valid email list that matches.
Domain search is unlocked for those with a starter account which costs $60 a month, but you can increase your monthly searches by expanding to a pro account for $244 a month.
Sifting through e-commerce alternatives can be a huge pain, but if you're looking for an easy and flexible provider, it's hard to go wrong with this top-rated app. Shopify allows you to create an online store without coding. It also provides streamlined integration with larger online businesses and customer service support.
Shopify is designed to quickly get your website online with simple drag and drop features and an extension Shopify app store. However, it does charge transaction fees on top of payment processor fees and costs anywhere from CAD 32 to CAD 326 per month, depending on your needs.
How do you make your brand new Shopify website stand out in the vastness of the web? The key is in Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Diib combines data from Facebook and Google so you can be sure their searches are bringing customers to you.
However, what makes Diib stand out from other SEO software is that it not only provides sophisticated reports on your website's health, ranking and other analytics, but it can provide a growth plan that provides objectives for expanding revenue. Diib translates abstract mumbo jumbo into concrete advice and detailed financial projections. Not to mention it's incredibly affordable at $37 a month with 24/7 support, if you do not want to stay with the free plan.
Apps for Finance
WagePoint is probably one of the best apps for payroll you can buy if you run a small to medium-sized business. It takes about an hour to set up, has a simple interface, and handles government reporting, including year-ends. It also deals direct deposits to all of your employees, so there's no need to touch a cheque. In addition, the pricing scales from $22 upwards, or $2 per employee, so it's perfect for a small team that doesn't want to deal with all the technicalities that come with tax-correct payroll.
Wave is free accounting software that has been making big splashes in the business world. It has over 3.5 million users and aims to provide accounting services for entrepreneurs regardless of their bookkeeping background. Its numerous features include stylish invoices, estimates, expense tracking, a client portal and of course, an attractive dashboard for quickly breaking down your finances. Wave does have a few paid features such as payroll and worker's compensation, but on the whole, the intention is to keep everything else completely free.
Wave is designed for smaller businesses; payroll features do not scale well, and on the whole, collaboration is limited within the software, but for entrepreneurs, it's perfect.
Mogo is a Canadian fintech company based in Vancouver that has over a million members. Their app is chiefly known for obtaining free credit scores in Canada. However, it also includes other features such as online personal loans, mortgages and a platform for cryptocurrency trading. They also provide prepaid debit cards and handle fraud protection using a feature called MogoProtect.
Entrepreneurs seeking business loans would be well advised to take advantage of this free service. Bankers consider personal credit scores an important factor in approving business loans, so you want to stay updated.
Wise is an essential service for anyone managing an international business. With over 10 million customers, Wise is an intelligent way to send money to over 60 countries worldwide. It allows you to send money internationally at rates that are up to seven times cheaper than banks and converts over 56 different currencies.
Using Wise, you can spend with local currencies straight out of a single bank account and not have to manage all the financial gymnastics that comes with living and working abroad.
Apps for Legal Advice
Getting legal advice can be a struggle for many entrepreneurs. Lex Start, an emerging Canadian legal service platform, aims to change that. The service connects well-established lawyers with entrepreneurs that need affordable, straightforward legal advice. They can quickly get your company off the ground by handling all the legal specifics of online incorporation, shareholders agreements, and website terms and conditions.
Even if you aren't interested in these paid services, there's plenty of excellent video and blog content to help you navigate the Canadian legal process.
Do you think we miss one tool or app? Let us know in a comment below.