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Setting up your own shop can have its rewards, but let's face it: running a small business can be tough.

Between long hours, tight budgets and a to-do list that never ends, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The good news is that developers are creating tools to help you run your business from your smartphone.

Here are five free or low-cost apps that can help you overcome your business challenges.

1. Wave

Managing finances has long been a challenge of small businesses. Study after study has shown that money matters, especially cash flow, are one of the leading causes of business failures.1 Yet help is here. Recently, Royal Bank of Canada and financial software manufacturer Wave announced a financial management collaboration to simplify and assist businesses with money matters.2

With one simple sign-on experience from RBC® Online Banking for business, the Wave cloud-based financial management software helps you stay on top of accounting, invoicing and scanning receipts for free. And when your business grows, check out the additional paid services for things like bank payments and credit card processing and payroll.

2. Google Analytics

In our connected world, businesses must be online to maximize marketing, attract new customers and build loyalty. But do you know how well your website attracts and retains customers? After investing the time and money on your website, analyzing user experience data can be important in order to keep customers coming back.

One of the most popular ways to do this is with Google Analytics, but you no longer need to log into Google via a desktop or laptop. The Google Analytics mobile app allows you to view data on the go, including where your traffic comes from, and even the sex and age of your visitors. This can help you identify how well your site attracts your target customers, and uncover potential new markets. Even better, the Google Analytics app is free.

MyBusiness Dashboard provides a streamlined view of all the information you need to understand your business.

3. Microsoft Office 365

If you’re like many small business owners, you struggle to find the time to get everything you need done. Getting more done means maximizing your time by focusing on productivity no matter where you are. The Microsoft Office 365 mobile apps can help you securely share and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files from your favourite devices — wherever you’re working. With plans starting at $10.50 per month per user, it’s a steal.

4. Facebook Business Manager

With a reported 2.07 billion users worldwide, including 239 million in North America, Facebook can be a powerful social media platform for businesses.3 But whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar shop or starting an online business, managing Facebook pages can be a huge time commitment for business owners.

The free suite of Facebook Business Manager apps (available for iOS and Android) gives you the flexibility to manage various Facebook business tasks. You can create Facebook and Instagram business pages, interact with followers, create ad campaigns and monitor how your posts are doing on desktop, laptop, or phone.

5. Evernote

The free basic version and the paid upgrades of Evernote offer time-strapped business owners a valuable tool for organizing and retrieving important personal and professional information. You can access documents, share sales materials, manage projects, set up alerts and receive notifications on your smartphone, tablet and laptop. You can even use the Web Clipper tool to track pages as you browse so you can find them later, regardless of which device you’re using.

MyBusiness Dashboard

MyBusiness Dashboard provides a streamlined view of all the information you need to understand your business.

Even with the latest apps and software to simplify tasks, small business owners may find it hard to stay on top of everything. MyBusiness Dashboard provides a streamlined view of all the information you need to understand your business.

By connecting your existing apps — and trying new ones from the carefully curated list — MyBusiness Dashboard brings your business data to life, helping you gain valuable insights and uncover new opportunities. Best of all, it’s free!

Technology today offers many tools that enable business owners to work smarter. Start by giving one or more of these apps a try. Changing up how and where you manage your business may help you meet more of the challenges you face.

Sources

1. http://business.financialpost.com/entrepreneur/money/small-businesses-pay-scant-attention-to-cash-flow-to-their-detriment

2. http://www.rbc.com/newsroom/news/2017/20171012-wave-smallbus.html

3. https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-statistics/