There’s an app for that.

Posted by Amber Goodenough on December 28, 2010

This one’s for you dad.  My dad is in the process of starting up a new business with my mom in Redding, Ca.  Since they are of the boomer generation, they rely little on web apps to make their business run smarter.  Recently he asked me what online tools I use to run by business and decided it might make a good blog post.  So I thought I’d share some of our favorite apps and why we love them.

Finances- Xero

Xero is an online accounting system designed for small businesses and their advisors.

In Xero we can create invoices and add payables, sync our bank accounts and look at reports of our finances.  This easy to use app also has a great way to share your financial information with your accountant.  And since its on the web, we can access it from anywhere! Xero is simple to use, not bulky like Quickbooks and you can manage both your business and personal accounts from one app.  Plans start at $19/month. (web app, no download)

Email for Mac: Mailplane

The best way to use Gmail on a Mac

Mailplane is great for a number of reasons.  First, you can manage all of your gmail accounts from one screen.  Second its a download, which means you can open it up in a separate screen from your browser.  Then there all the extra features such as inbox alerts, email labeling for easy inbox organization and the navigation bar at the top which makes creating, attaching etc. a breeze.  This app puts all my email in one place, and as someone with 4 accounts I can tell you that is priceless.  (Desktop app, download required)

Social Media Manager: Hootsuite

Save your time and save your sanity. Manage multiple social networks.

Hootsuite takes all of your social networks and manages them from one place.  I use it to manage our Facebook profiles, our 3 Twitter accounts, our 2 Facebook Business page accounts, and our LinkedIn  and Foursquare accounts.  I can see the live feed from each network and update my status on as many of them as I want to at one time.  It is VERY user friendly and I can track my stats, meaning that I can see who clicked on what links and when.  If your business uses social media at all, this is a great tool to cut down on your time checking each account.  You can also manage your WordPress site from Hootsuite and schedule posts and tweets to go out in the future.  You can sign up for a free account to manage up to 5 networks, since I use it for business I have the Pro account which is $5.99/ month.  (web app, no download)

Project Management: CodeBase

Easily manage all your tickets for bugs, tasks & enhancements with full history tracking, milestones, attachments and more.

Codebase completely changed the way we manage projects.  This software tool enables us to see where we are on all of our projects at any time.  Codebase is great for team projects as well, our developers and designers upload and cross off to-do’s that we have assigned them and our clients can log in any time to see where we are and how their project is coming along.  We can keep track of our code, assign tasks to our team, see a milestone markers that shows us how close we are to completing our project and it has a time tracking feature that helps you keep track of how many hours you spend on each project.  We use the small account which is about $19.65/month, they also have a free account so you can try it out and see what you think.  (web app, no download)

Calendar and Collaboration Tool: Backpack

The leading online project collaboration tool.

If you haven’t tried of one of 37signal’s products you haven’t lived.  Their products for product management, CRM’s and project collaboration are some of the best in the business.  We use Backpack most often for our internal business stuff.  There is a shared calendar so that we can keep track of each others schedules, we can upload documents and photos for community editing/approval, create to-do lists and set up alerts.  There is a free 30 day trial for all of their products and a free account for up to 2 users.  After that the prices start at $24.99/month depending on how many users you have.  (web app, no download)

Chat: Adium

All your chat programs in one, easy to use place.

This app pulls all your chat protocols into one application for you to easily be able to communicate with everyone by instant message.  On my screen I have my Yahoo messenger, Gtalk, AOL Instant messenger and Facebook.  Since all of our clients use different messaging systems, we have come to rely on Adium for its streamlined approach to instant messaging.  Free to download! (desktop app, download required)

All of these tools enhance our business and keep us organized and on top of our projects.  What tools do you use and why?