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Technology Apps That Can Help Run Your Business
Author: Stephanie Taylor Christensen
Monday, April 2, 2018

Ever mused that it would be wonderful to clone yourself in order to handle the number of demands that are part of your busy work day (and nights) as a business owner? Artificial intelligence isn't that sophisticated (yet) but there are plenty of technologies and apps you can leverage to reduce your entrepreneurial burden, so you can focus the bulk of your day on tasks that truly grow your business.Here are five affordable tech tools that make running your handmade business a little easier:

Google G-Suite
Google's G-Suite for small business. For just $10 a user each month, Google's G-Suite offers small business owners all the benefits of enterprise-level multimedia tools and many of the IT services that would typically require the help of a tech professional. G-Suite allows you to establish business Gmail accounts that end in your domain name and offers other business must-haves like video conferencing tools, and the ability to share calendars, documents and spreadsheets with others. Search features make it easy to find past emails, archived files and documents, and store unlimited files in the cloud using secure encryption technology.

MileIQ
Your business-related travel may qualify as a business expense (and ultimately, reduce how much you owe in taxes), but documenting every trip can be a tedious and time-consuming process. MileIQ is an app for Android or iOS that automatically tracks and logs mileage (once you've loaded it onto your device). It compiles a record you can use to substantiate each business-related trip, and remembers routes that you categorize and travel often, so you don't have to sort through records that don't apply to business travel or manually distinguish between your meetings and trips to your child's school.   Customized reports can also help you analyze the costs of travel, so you can better manage business expenses. The basic package is free and allows up to 40 drives a month.

Wave
Cash flow is critical to your small business. The more efficient your invoicing and payment processes are, the better equipped you are to collect payments in a timely manner and manage and project expenses and cash flow. Wave is a free accounting platform designed for small businesses that have fewer than nine employees. With it, you can electronically invoice customers and send invoices by email, track the status of the email so you know it was received, automate reminders for payments that are nearly past due, and allow customers to pay the invoice by credit card (if you wish). Wave also makes it easy to run critical business financial reports like profit and loss statements, so you're always aware of your financial standing.

Gusto
Hiring employees can help ease some of your workloads, but there are many complex and cumbersome tasks related to payroll management that you may not have the knowledge or expertise to complete with ease. Gusto is a cost-effective payroll software that easily integrates with other popular bookkeeping tools like Quickbooks. For about $40 a month, the tool automates payroll-related burdens like calculating, filing and paying payroll taxes, and has the capacity to account for other benefits, including worker's compensation and insurance. Gusto also makes it simple to offer employees direct deposit, time-off tracking, and digital 1099 and W-2's. It can be accessed on a desktop, laptop, or even, from your mobile device.

Boxmeup
Managing inventory and tracking shipments for your handmade business can feel like a full-time job. The Boxmeup app allows you to scan labels, track shipments from anywhere in the world, and create a searchable inventory of your own storage facilities (even if that's your living room or basement!) With this tool, you and your team can easily locate all the ingredients and materials you use to create your products without searching through boxes or shelves to find what you need.





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