Price: Free (up to 25 users in a group) or Business Packages start from R22.50 (enterprise features which includes outlook integration and up to 250 users in a group)
The best tool for team collaboration. I don’t know any business which is not reliant on Skype and it makes remote working appealing. Skype can be used for everyday chat as well arranging group conferencing calls. Other useful features include screen sharing, so it is also possible to have a presentation in a conference call where the main caller can share their screen with others. Files can also be easily shared during the call creating a seamless team interaction experience – the best way to have team meetings without having everyone physically present at a location.
While calling via the Skype app is free ( a data connection is required), you can also call landline and mobile numbers but call rates do apply which is dependent on the country you are calling.
2. Social Networking for Business : Linkedin : Available on all platforms
Price: Free for basic features, Monthly subscription for premium features
One of the most popular social media tools for business and professional use. Think of Linkedin as your Facebook platform for business. As well as for professional networking (keeping a list of all contacts you have met), this platform is widely used for recruitment and job searches. There is also a myriad of specialist topical groups that one can subscribe to and access on the mobile apps too.
Price: Free for basic use, Monthly subscriptions for premium and business use
About.me allows anyone to create a personalise web-page that highlights their portfolio. While the concept of a professional networking tool is slightly similar to Linkedin, About.me is different in that it is a very high level overview of your portfolio and allows the user to be creative with their profile as it has a very creative (“pinteresty” look and feel) and rich user interface. Originally this platform was aimed at high school and university students who have limited work experience but needed a platform to showcase their skills and interests to get future employees to take notice of them. This platform has been around since 2009 and has been enhanced that it now has an appeal to professionals too especially in the entrepreneur space. In October last year, About.me launched the Into app which basically turns your about.me profile into a digital business card. The idea behind this is that in this digital age, it is quite common for someone to have limited access to a business card, however they always have their mobile phones with them, so a digital business would be the best way to exchange details, and about.me would have the necessary contact details and an overview of the person’s skills.
4. Business Idea Generation: Elevatr for iOS
This is currently featured on the Apple App store as a business essential item. Its a beautifully designed mobile app that facilitates the idea generation process into distinct topics which includes :
- the idea
- the target market
- the product
- the business model
- the execution
Basically this app provides the core framework for developing your business plan and guides you through the right thinking about getting your idea into something tangible. I love this app and have been using it for over a year. It is currently only available for iOS (both iPhone and iPad) and its designed for mobile use only.
5. Book-keeping and Accounting : Sage for Accounting – iOS , Android, Windows Phone
Price: Apps are free if subscribed to the Sage one Accounting platform (different options available from sage starting from R165/month for the online package)
Sage Accounting (formerly known as Pastel) is the number one choice for most Accounting professionals and from personal experience as a new business owner who did not have any practical accounting experience, the online version is super efficient, very professional and allows both me and my accountant to work of the same platform which reduces my admin time for book keeping. The added benefit of using Sage is that the core features such as invoicing and customer management is available as standalone apps for my phone which makes it a must have for me as a business owner as I have the essential information I need available to me 24/7 on my phone in a very digestible format.