We live in a digital and for businesses to succeed they need to have a mastery of both the offline and the online world. The digital world is largely managed through apps in the modern-day. The question then begs what are the best apps for business owners to have to master this world. We need to break it down into categories and functions to get a clear picture of this. We will look at apps for Communication, Productivity, administration, Coworking, Cloud storage and social media management with a few suggestions in each category as to the best for the Zimbabwean business.
Communication (and community)
One of the foremost functions of a business is communication. While all business communication is important communicating with the community is paramount. There is no doubt as to the top communication and community application in Zimbabwe and the world and that is WhatsApp. With the addition of WhatsApp Business, the app has positioned itself as being a great business tool. It would be unfair not to mention Telegram and our own Sasai which provide similar functionality and a little bit more.
There are many apps designed to assist with productivity. King amongst these is RescueTime which helps keep track of how you use your time. The versatile tracker allows you to categorise your activities so apps that would normally be used for say entertainment like YouTube can be changed to work if you indeed work there. RescueTime is available across platforms and can sink activities of a single individual across multiple devices or track an entire team across multiple devices.
Administration is often looked down upon in business but it’s a critical function. Administration helps you keep track of many things in business, particularly your money. Homegrown solution WorkZuite performs this function well with everything from invoicing to accounting falling under their umbrella. As a homegrown solution, you will find Workzuite is particularly sensitive to some of the specific circumstances that Zimbabwean business people find themself in. International applications such as Wave, Zoho and Xero also make good options for the business person. Offering invoicing, accounting and general administrative functions.
Coworking and project management
Many businesses work on a project basis or sometimes conduct projects. Project management has grown from a reserve of a few businesses to an essential for most if not all businesses. With project work come project teams and the complexities of managing workflow in a project environment. Applications that handle both these worlds well are essential for multiple team member business. Trello and Asana rule the roost when it comes to project management and coworking software for small businesses.
Cloud storage has grown from a preserve of technology enthusiasts to an everyday application. So much so there are cloud storage and computing services dedicated to serving businesses large and small. The most obvious application is for record-keeping in a business but they also assist with document sharing, coworking and administration. Dropbox is a frontrunner in the industry but there is little to separate it from other cloud storage services such as Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive among others. The need to secure business information and intelligence beyond our devices as these can still be lost, stolen or corrupted is evident to all.
Social Media Management
Social media, at least from a business perspective is both a gift and a curse. A gift because it presents unprecedented opportunities for real-time two-way communication with the world at a reasonable cost. A curse because after going through the arduous tasks of setting up your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and many other profiles you still have to manage them. Fortunately, there are apps created for the specific purpose of managing multiple social media counts across multiple platforms. Hootsuite is a multiplatform client that will help you with scheduling, posting and engaging with the world. Buffer is another competent application that you can turn to for this purpose.
The choice of apps will boil down to a multiplicity of factors including access, cost, payment methods and business circumstances. Consider these apps as suggestions of the best apps for Zimbabwean businesses in general. You may find that your circumstances favour other options.