Four apps to drive your productivity and profitability

Here are four apps and Cloud-based business solutions that you can leverage to seriously boost productivity and profitability in your business. 

Here are four apps and Cloud-based business solutions that you can leverage to seriously boost productivity and profitability in your business. 

We think all Aussie SME business owners could benefit from leveraging these apps in their business. All four of these businesses – all of which hail from Australia or New Zealand – are kicking major goals both locally and overseas.


Starting his own web design business after completing university, Perth native Daniel Barnett started building online tools to manage his own business. In 2006 he bought all of these tools together as Work[etc], which effectively is a CRM system on performance-enhancing drugs.

“The concept is customer lifecycle management, so our product helps you manage every part of the customer lifecycle, from selling to that customer, to delivering your product or service or project, to billing the customer, and then to offering customer support afterwards and completing the cycle by selling again to that customer,” Daniel says.

"We’re a CRM plus sales plus project management plus billing – everything you need to run and grow your business. Without a product like Work[etc] you’ve actually got to go away to four or five different products or systems – or Excel spreadsheets – and pull that all together.”

Winner of the 2014 My Business Award for Best Start-Up, Maestrano is a platform for SMEs that curates and aggregates the best business applications into a seamless, secure and intuitive user dashboard and provides the platform and the integration that connects them. Maestrano was launched in 2011 and is the brainchild of Sydney-based French expats Stephane Ibos and Arnaud Lachaume.

“We both noticed that SMEs were let down by the internet and Cloud revolution,” explains Stephane. “There was no real reason for that except that SMEs are small accounts in value and they take quite some time to capture and serve. So we thought we could do something that would bridge that gap for SMEs and address that need. So we started Maestrano. What we proposed is specifically designed for small business – we’re not interested in the large guys. We designed our platform and all the services around it in accordance with the needs of small business owners.”

Led by Vaughan Rowsell, who just happens to sport the best moustache in business, Kiwi company Vend is a true innovator in the retail space. Starting out as a Cloud-based Point-of-Sale solution, Vend has rapidly evolved to be an all-in-one solution for SMEs in retail.

“Point of Sale, which is pretty much a utility, so we’re really focusing on a couple of new areas,” says Vaughan. “One is on the optimisation of business side of things. We’re consolidating Point of Sale, inventory management, customer loyalty, e-commerce, reporting and analytics, and on and on. We’re starting to roll out all the other value-add software packages that a retailer needs. Retailers probably use for or five of those different products in isolation with each other, but on a platform like Vend they can all be seamlessly integrated, and at a really low cost point.”

Not to sound clichéd, but by now Xero needs little by way of introduction. Xero has disrupted the accounting software industry with its Cloud-based product. Led in Australia by Managing Director Chris Ridd, Xero is currently adding over 300 new customers (the vast majority of which are SMEs) every day in Australia alone.

It’s just accounting software, but accounting is just so hard as a business owner,” Chris says. “You toil with it, you tear your hair out it’s a daily grind doing your books and keeping up with your accounts. So business owners detest the process. We’re unsurpassed in the industry with now 350 add-ons that link into Xero. Accounting at the end of the day is a necessity, but what Xero’s done is turn that painful process into a delightful experience.”

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