Do More On The Go With The FNQ Food Incubator's Top App Tips
Smartphones and tablets were supposed to make our lives easier, right?
Well then, why do food and beverage entrepreneurs complain that it sometimes feels like the day just never ends? The morning is jam-packed with deliveries, meetings, retail pitches and networking events; the afternoon will often find the average small business owner racing from one urgent query to the next as telephone and email messages begin to pile up.
Then there’s the need to find time for the actual production and packaging process! With all the other responsibilities on your plate, it can be easy to forget that there needs to be a physical food or beverage product in existence in order to generate all-important income and continue to propel your business forward.
And, what about the rest of the key tasks that we know we’re in no position to neglect? Social media, bookkeeping, recording our expenses… the list rolls on. Despite the finite number of hours in the day, the items on our overambitious to-do lists continue to stack up.
FNQ Food Incubator's 2020 Resolution:
This year, we made a little New Year’s Eve pledge to ourselves. We felt it was high time that we eliminated some unnecessary stress and busyness from our ever-hectic schedule. 2020, we promised ourselves, will be the year we put full emphasis on our ‘work smart and not until the early hours of the morning’ policy.
While burning the midnight oil can’t always be avoided, a focus on efficiency is paramount. So, in a bid to keep working into the wee small hours at a complete minimum, we’ve vowed to take up as many savvy new timesaving habits as possible this year.
But, where to start…? Fortunately, the answer was right there in on our desks. Our iPhone's - that little device that almost feels as crucial to survival as the food we eat or the air we breathe - could do with a little bit of an app-purge. The good, the bad, the ugly and the completely and utterly pointless – if there’s an app that ‘appens to be the next big thing, you can be pretty sure that we’ve downloaded it.
However, when we do stumble across a good one it can turn out to be worth its weight in gold (or, at least, some sort of golden timesaving coupons). In other words, there are plenty of unnecessary apps marketed to us, but here are the useful, productivity-boosting ones that have been spared our New Year app-purge. What’s more, our top five apps for the busy foodpreneur are not just iPhone-only apps. Get yourself searching Google Play Store for the Android versions.
1. Canva App
Got five minutes to kill while you wait for that retail meeting to start? Don’t waste another second! Gone are the days of having to sit down at your clunky desktop in the evening and struggle to create a presentable-looking graphic that can be shared online. Canva is a simple drag and drop graphic design app that is heavily geared toward those who want to make a super-slick impression online.
Use the Instagram ‘storymaker’ to seriously up your Insta-game; create eye-catching ‘Instaquotes’; design pro-looking Facebook posts and Facebook covers, Pinterest banners and Twitter banners. With so many attractive templates available to help get you started, a background in art and design is definitely not required!
Try upgrading to Canva Pro if you become a regular user and want to set your brand colours, brand fonts etc.
Staying with the design theme, we can’t complete a top apps list without mentioning photo-editing app Fotor. Our office has tried plenty of similar apps but found many of them to be overly complicated and overly focused on in-app purchases.
With Fotor you get a simple photo editor that does all the crucial basics: photo adjustments (brightness, contrast, saturation etc.), photo cropping, rotate and flip. There’s a healthy number of filters available, most of which can look nice and natural if you double click on the filter and reduce the effect to 50%. A handy collage-making function is also available. Switch to ‘classic’ mode for a stylish minimalist layout.
You’ve probably already heard of Slack, the communication platform that focuses on team and project information sharing. Maybe you’re even using it already! Marketed as a means of breaking out of the long and often unwieldy email conversation loops that sometimes flood our inboxes, Slack claims to offer a more convenient alternative: dedicated ‘channels’ where project-specific information is shared and discussed. Using a social media style layout, it’s no surprise that the platform has an estimated ten million daily users.
Here at the FNQ Food Incubator, we’ve been impressed with Slack’s functionality and ease of use on desktop. However, it’s the mobile app version that we believe is going to be a superb timesaving asset during 2020. Late last year, we downloaded the iPhone app and all is great so far!
Previewing project files created by others, as well as being able to share my own updates and feedback with my team (all while we are out and about at meetings), has already helped us meet some fairly challenging project deadlines.
The work-life balance app! Because your work life and home life will almost always overlap, there’s no harm in road testing one of the most popular organisational apps. Aimed at families, Cozi features calendar sharing, to-do lists and handy spaces where you can plan meals, consider recipes and create collaborative shopping lists. Of course, you don’t have to have a family to use the app – it works equally as well when used amongst friends, siblings or housemates.
We've tried several expense tracker apps over the years, but it’s been tricky to find one to stick with. Lately, motivated by word of mouth and by the many great reviews the app has been receiving across entrepreneurial websites, we’ve been using Expensify.
Take photos of your receipts and Expensify will categorise each receipt and automatically store the details.
Like us, you might want to try a few different expense tracker apps before you find the one that suits you, but we certainly recommend you keep looking until you find the right one. While not the sexiest of app genres in the AppStore, ‘time is money’ as they say – who wants to spend all evening recording their daily expenses!
Have you discovered an Android or iPhone app that makes your daily working life as a food entrepreneur run a little bit more smoothly? Let us know in the comments below.