With the majority of businesses in the North East now working remotely – we’ve joined forces with Digital Allies to look at tips to help you run your business from your phone.

Your phone is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal.  As well as keeping in touch with clients and customers, it allows you to manage your time and ensure you’re promoting your business effectively whilst remote.

There are millions of apps, and plenty of competition in the categories we’ve covered below.

We’ve chosen some of our favourite apps and platforms for business management and promotion - you can use them all for free, and they all offer something different. Download them, play around with them, and be sure to tag us in anything you share online using them.

Connecting our remote worlds together

Microsoft Teams and Zoom have become two of the most used platforms to connect internal teams, clients and our business community together.

If you’re looking for a way to increase collaboration in your team, open the door for more remote and cloud-based work opportunities, or even just align day-to-day conversations, these platforms can help with that.

However, just like any tool, you’ll need to make sure that you know how to make the most out of these platforms before you get started.  Familiarise yourself with the many built-in tools and most importantly, check your backdrop and positioning.  We’ve all seen the images on social media of people not quite getting it right with hilarious consequences!

Connecting our social media

All social media channels have dedicated apps that help you keep on top of your accounts. For platforms like Instagram, it’s the preferred way of using them - so much that the desktop experience is incredibly limited.

One of the benefits of downloading the apps for your social media channels is that it allows you to react in real-time to what’s happening in the world. Only checking in once every few days when you’re at your computer can see you missing out on opportunities to comment on things as your business. You can also use them to post to your profile.

Buffer and Hootsuite takes your social media management one step further: it allows you to schedule posts. This means you can set up posts to go out over a period of weeks or months, at times and dates decided by you in advance. With a free account you can connect three of your social media profiles and schedule up a significant number of posts over a period of time. 

Apps to help great content

Creating interesting content is key to the success of your social media accounts. Thankfully, there are three free apps that can help you turn around professional-looking graphics and videos with relative ease.

Canva is the first. This is an app that also works on your computer and allows you to create graphics that are the right size for all social media platforms. They have a range of pre-designed templates that you can customise with your own colours and images. Once you’re finished, download them and upload them wherever you want to use them.

If you’re a keen Instagram user, then you’ll want to take a look at Mojo. This app has a mix of free and paid-for Instagram Stories templates. You can create beautifully animated Stories that are the right size to be uploaded straight into the app. This means you can say goodbye to static photos on your Stories.

Finally, Quik is a free app from Go-Pro that takes your images and videos and turns them into captivating videos complete with transitions and a soundtrack. You can add captions, edit titles, and fine-tune every aspect of your video before saving it. You can even save it in the right shape so that it fits the main social networks.

Productivity apps to keep track of your work and time.

If you’re running a small business in a tight space and tight on time at the moment, making the most of your time is one of your key considerations.

As well as the standard calendar apps for making and booking appointments, there are a few others we would recommend considering.

Trello makes use of the Japanese kanban method of workflow management. It uses a series of columns and cards that can be dragged and reorganised - just like post-it notes on a whiteboard. The beauty of this system is that it allows you to visualise the progress being made on projects and identify what is stopping things from moving towards completion.

Notion offers similar functions, but dials things up to 11. You can create to-do lists, take notes, and collaborate on Wiki-style pages with invited guests.  Perfect for collaborating with clients and colleagues. Like Trello, Notion can be accessed on your computer as well so that you can work wherever suits you.

The last app exists to help keep your attention on a single task at a time. Hour Blocks lets you organise appointments and tasks into a series of hour-long chunks. You can only schedule tasks up to 48 hours in advance, with the focus being on short-term working goals. Purposely planning your day in this way helps you make sure you stay focused on what you have planned in.

NBSL and Digital Allies are working in partnership to produce a number of webinars for Tyne & Wear businesses as part of the North East Business Support Fund.  Grants are also available for businesses across the region and are now virtually-contactless to minimise the impact of COVID-19.  Take a look at how the North East Business Support Fund could help your business www.nbsl.org.uk/nebsf

This article was written for you by Digital Allies.

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