5 Productivity Apps Your Business Isn’t Using, But Should Be

TMN Wordfoto Speek

If you are like me, you are always on the lookout for new apps to help drive the productivity of your business.

However, whenever you read the latest stories on must have apps, they always talk about the same usual suspects.

Well, there is no Evernote or Dropbox on this list.

Read on, for 5 business apps that your business isn’t using today, but should be.

5 Apps to Drive the Productivity of Your Business

Technology for technology’s sake isn’t productive.

(I recently wrote a warning about those shiny new gadgets.)

However, apps that drive productivity and reduce effort can deliver true value to your business.

From conference calls to project management to team feedback, each of these apps solves a specific need for my business.

Here are 5 Apps Your Business Should be Using to Be More Productive:

speek_logo_horizontal_bw-11. Speek – Imagine conference calls without PINs. And where you can tell who is “on the call” and who is speaking at any time. Sound like a better experience? Speek turns the clumsy conference call paradigm on its head.  People join your call from their desktop or mobile by simply going to your personal URL. (There is also a great iPhone app.) You can get added features like call recording and your own company branding with a Pro or Team account. (Basic Speek is free. TMN Readers can get 20% off a Speek Teams account by clicking here and mentioning that TMN sent you.)

WorkFlowy logo-12. WorkflowyWorkflowy is an endless outline for your notes, brainstorming, and ideas. I love a good mind map, but sometimes a simple text outline just lets the ideas flow. Workflowy’s killer-feature is that you can zoom in to any part of your outline which basically makes an endless universe of linked documents. (Watch my previous video to see this in action.) With a Pro account you can back-up your notes to Dropbox. Workflowy is browser-based, and you can also get iPhone/iPad apps. (Try Workflowy here for free.)

Trello Logo3. Trello – Trello is my favorite project management app. We use it here at TMN to manage all of our projects. Trello’s visual card-based interface is second-to-none, and their mobile experience is simply awesome. I love their iPhone and especially their iPad app. They both present some of the best use of touch interaction and screen real estate that I have seen in a mobile project management app. (Try Trello for free here.)

15Five Logo4. 15Five – Keeping up with your team in a fast-paced work environment can be tough. Giving and receiving feedback from your team is often the first thing to fall off your list. 15Five takes its name from the concept of a weekly status report that takes no longer than 15 minutes to write and less than 5 minutes to read. (I had a boss that taught me this way back when I was a Naval Officer.) This is a simple yet powerful concept that makes weekly updates effortless. 15Five makes it simple to ensure that you and your team stay connected and communicate progress each week. (Check out 15Five here.)

Apple Pages Logo5. Pages – When I need a word processor, I turn to Pages. Yes, Pages. That oft overlooked word processor from Apple. It now comes free with all new Macs and iOS devices. Pages is my goto app when I need to create a professional looking document. For me, it just works. It has some of the best document styling out there. It doesn’t have the feature bloat of Word or other apps. Clients usually comment on how impressive my docs look. (I don’t tell them that I created them in Pages before exporting them to Word or PDF for distribution.) Pages also works with iCloud. This means that your docs are synced across all of your Apple devices. With the new iCloud Beta of iWork, you can access Pages from any browser. This blurs the line between app and web app. (The other day I was running the iCloud version of Pages on a Chromebook. Sweet!)

What Are Your Go-to Business Productivity Apps?

Everyone knows the big app names: Evernote, Dropbox, Skype, etc.

This list represents some lesser known, but extremely valuable app gems that are out there. I use each regularly to make my business more efficient.

The details above only scratch the surface of their capabilities. I recommend you try them out and see what they can do for your team.

Question: What apps do you use to improve the productivity of your small business?

18 thoughts on “5 Productivity Apps Your Business Isn’t Using, But Should Be

  1. Pretty cool apps! I had never heard of Speek so I will check it out for sure.

    I would add Asana to the list. I personally like it better than Trello. The features and the workflow are better suited for my, and my team’s style of doing things. If nothing else, I would switch from Trello to Asana just for the possibility to use keyboard shortcuts.

    1. Love Speek… check it out.

      Trello vs. Asana is a tough one. I have used both extensively. Trello wins for me on the mobile front. Asana still doesn’t have a compelling mobile experience. BTW, Trello has an extensive keyboard shortcut set. 🙂

      1. Trello and keyboard shortcuts in the same sentence? That’s news for me 🙂

        One of the main reasons I switched over to Asana (a long time ago) was because they had them, plus the flow of things appealed better to me.

        At the end of the day, it really depends on which fits your style better. Both work, both are used by 1000s of people and teams so it’s a matter of taste I guess.

  2. Trello looks interesting, but does it violate the rule of one? Seems to step on the toes of to do apps and Evernote. If I’m using those would Trello be redundant?

  3. Workflowy is so easy to use and has a growing list of features. It’s the app I most use as it’s so flexible. What I also like is the security provided by the Dropbox sync which remotely backs up all your data every day.

  4. Dear Craig, if I can suggest an productivity app which change my way of work it’s Beesy (http://www.beesapps.com). You should have a look on it because it’s very different compare to all the others productivity apps i’ve used. Evernote recommend ot on its Trunk.

  5. If this represents “lesser known” apps then I am sure that app like Email for Business (https://www.emailforbusinessapp.com/) will surely interest the likes of you. It has some really cool email letterheads & note-card templates that make the task of emailing really easy and quick.

  6. Nice list. Since you have mentioned trello here one more app I wish you would have added here. It is proofhub. It is effective as you can collaborate and divide the work.

  7. Great list, Craig! We’re huge fans of 15Five and Trello, in particular. We just launched a new web app called MeetingHero (http://www.meetinghero.com) to make it way easier for teams to have productive, engaging meetings. Our mission is to rid the world of soul-crushing, time-wasting meetings. Would love to hear what you think!

  8. Check out weekdone.com for a version of 15five (at least it looks the same to me). It has a free version for up to 3 users. So it is more cost effective for small offices.

  9. Big fan of Trello. One huge productivity booster that you can get creative with are webhooks. IFTTT.com (free) and Zapier.com (free & paid) provide ultimate flexibility to those focused on productivity or want to connect their apps in a particular way. For example, when a support ticket comes in from zendesk regarding a certain feature, I have a card added to our list for developers to investigate. Lots of cool things 🙂

  10. Very helpful, we actually using pages and it is awesome. I would like to recommend a new service that we developed it is called Mobifile (www.mobifile.co) and it’s a new and smart inbox that gathers all your content from your email, cloud, social and messaging apps. You can share, manage or share any file or doc from Mobifile easily without switching between apps. We are now doing several pilots with local businesses. If you are interested please leave me a comment.

  11. I’d like to suggest Fanurio (http://www.fanuriotimetracking.com) which is a time tracking and billing software application, highly appreciated by freelancers for its intuitive interface, flexible timer and ability to produce detailed invoices.

    Fanurio is not free but it has a free trial. It costs 59 USD (which means about $5/month for the first year) and you can use it for life.

    I know that there are many freelancers who prefer to use a desktop application in order to keep their data on their own computers. Since Fanurio is a desktop application, it integrates very well with the platforms it runs on. On OS X, you can easily access timers from the the menu bar and from the dock icon menu. On Windows, you can start a new timer or control the active timer from the thumbnail toolbar or from the tray icon. You can also use global hotkeys to control the timers from within any running application.

    Fanurio is used by many freelancers not just to track time but to bill their clients as well. Fanurio can export invoices to HTML, PDF, Microsoft Word 2007, OpenOffice OpenDocument and other formats so they can be printed or e-mailed. Invoice templates can be created manually, with a visual editor (Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Word or OpenOffice) or with the built-in template editor.

    I hope this helps.

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