With the way technology has advanced most start-up companies are carrying their offices in the safety of their mobile phones and laptops. Since most start-ups run on tight budgets and do their best to avoid unnecessary costs, from opting to operate in co-working spaces to cut down on office rentals, to using apps that cut down on time and bring convenience for both the business and their clientele. Here is a look at the 5 apps we use here at Paradoka that will cut down your costs, ensure your brand attains professional status and offers convenience for both you and your customers.

1. CamCard

This app has been on the scene for a minute but being one of those people that catches on to stuff really late I only got to know about this app this year and it has made my purse a lot lighter as I have no need to carry a bunch of business cards in there anymore. If there is an app you need to download this year as an entrepreneur, its CamCard! This business card mobile app removes the need to carry additional hardware to store all the business cards you collect from potential clients, investors etc, and the app is convenient with all the best tools available for scanning and saving your business card contacts quickly. Camcard uses your mobile phone’s camera to scan business cards and pull the information on the card instantly into the program and you can then save the contact information in your phone contact file or to your email. I really love this app because it means I will never lose or misplace an important business card again!

2. Invoicely

One thing that we can agree on is that a lot of start-ups struggle when it comes to invoicing, in fact in humble Zimbabwe a lot of startup entrepreneurs we come across do not have any invoicing system that helps them keep track of their sales and invoice their customers. When a customer asks for an invoice we rush to create a manual invoice that doesn’t look professional even. We cannot entirely blame it on the entrepreneurs though because the well known professional invoicing software costs a dime and a dozen in these parts of the wood, with Pastel & Quick Books going for about $300 – $500 depending on how big your business is, what startup in our woods would want to spend that much money on an invoice system when it could go towards rent. So we searched for an app that could give off a professional look to your small business free of charge and is easy to use, Invoicely fit the bill. Some of the stuff that Invoicely allows you to do is create estimates/quotations that you can convert into an invoice once your customer agrees to buy, a single invoice template that can be customized with colors and a personal logo. You can add tax, and discounts to any invoice. You can also create custom reminders and notifications for when payments are received, estimates are accepted, statements are viewed, etc.

3. Adobe Fill & Sign

This app should be a hit with the environmentally conscious and tree hugging entrepreneures because it lets you easily digitize and automatically fill in paperwork meaning no cutting trees to make paper! And yeah, you can even put your signature in there. So a customer or supplier sends you a contract to fill and sign, instead of going to the print shop to get a print out and manually fill out the contract and then walk, drive or catch a kombi (that’s Zimbabwean street lingo for taxi) to go drop off the document, this app allows you to fill in the contract, put your signature (you can use your finger, stylus or use the keyboard to type it) in the comfort of your home, or by your desk etc. Absolutely no printing necessary, ever! Saves you money from buying a printer or trips to the printing shop, simply complete the form, save it and email it to your client or supplier without leaving the comfort of your home, workplace or on your way home in the kombi.

4. Gap365

Gap365 is an online sales diary created by a Zimbabwean tech start up to help startup entrepreneurs. The proactive diary helps you get organized such that you never forget appointments and meetings. When you enter a meeting or task reminder on the app, it also sends your customer an sms with your company name, reminding them of the meeting. It also sends payment reminders to customers who buy from you on credit. Gap365 comes in handy if you have a sales team as it allows you to monitor and evaluate how they are performing, the clients they are engaging, deals they are closing and how each member is performing in relation to the other.

5. Fast Scanner

Because we travel out of the country with work a bit, we are always scanning important documents, like our passport bio-metric pages, contracts, forms etc, to send to organisations that invite us to their events, conferences or seminars and this takes in a bit of dollars from our low budget pockets, and causes a bit of inconvenience as we have no scanning machine at the co-working space we operate from. That translates to us making constant trips to the print shop to get documents scanned. Then this year my friend introduced me to Fast Scanner and it’s made that whole process easier and faster, saving us time and the pain of the inconvenience of going up and down to the print shop (sorry Copy World but you won’t be seeing us much this year).

Fast Scanner turns your android/windows/IOS mobile phone into a multiple pages scanner for documents, receipts, notes, invoices, business cards, whiteboards and other paper text. The free app can quickly scan your document using your mobile phone camera, then print or email them as multiple pages in PDF or JPEG files.

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