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5 Tools Your Online Business Needs for a Super-Productive 2017

From accounting functions to the ability to keep track of your team members' tasks, these five apps and software packages are non-negotiable.

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You already know that running a business is hard work. The late hours, the managing of customers and employees, the brainstorming sessions for lead generation and handling cash flow: These are the reasons many businesses fail before they barely even start. And even some that escape the slammer would be better off dead. All these factors comprise the tale of business owners around the globe.

Related: The 23 Best Business Tools Built By Startups

However, one of the defining attributes of a successful entrepreneur is the art of being relentless. If your own business did not do as well as you projected in 2016, then you should turn the page on that chapter and look forward to 2017 with fresh gusto and determination.

Thankfully, the year has only begun. So, now is the best time to evaluate what is working or not and invest more in the elements that do work. Technology, of course, looms large here: Owing to the new wave of stay-at-home jobs and the growing acceptance of remote teams by many businesses, the use of technology in running today’s businesses is at an all-time high.

Included in that technology are the apps available for just about every aspect of running a business. What comes to mind here are apps like Dropbox for file-hosting, iMessage for fast communication, Google Wallet for mobile payments, and many more apps, all of which have contributed toward making entrepreneurship easier and more effective for more and more people.

Related: The Best Mobile Apps for Business

If, in 2017, one of your goals is effective business management and optimal productivity, then the apps below are non-negotiable.

1. Wunderlist

Have you ever been so overwhelmed with work that you begin to lose track of your priorities and can't recall what tasks you have or haven't completed? Wunderlist is one of the best task-management tools you will come across when you're looking for a solution.

With Wunderlist, you can create an unlimited number of to-do lists and share them with anybody: clients, staff, investors, partners, etc. These lists can also sync automatically so that everyone you shared the list with can see in real time which tasks are complete, and who's accountable.

For strictly business purposes, you can delegate tasks and divide them into mini-tasks; you can also assign durations for these tasks, add notes and set reminders. While the basic Wunderlist is free, Wunderlist for Business starts at $4.99 per user, per month.

2. Templafy

The Templafy app was developed to help work teams create professional files without having to leave their office application. It will help you improve the workflow of your busy team. Using the Templafy app, for instance, will help you access your company content anytime, whether you are in the office or at home.

Considering that as many as two billion business documents are created daily worldwide, this solution is rather timely. Moreover, the app is fully integrated with all your office platforms, too. The Essential package goes for $3.76 user/month, while the whole setup goes for just under $375.

3. Square

This app is the best for businesses that offer point-of-sale products or services. Such businesses include food trucks, beauty salons, grocery stores, etc. Users are provided with a small card reader to plug into their smartphones. This enables them to swipe their cards and process payments quickly and conveniently.

You won't lose money investing in Square, either, because the app isn't characterized by heavy monthly payments as are many other online payment systems. Instead, you're billed only a tiny percentage of your profit whenever you make a sale. Square deducts 2.75 percent for every transaction, or 3.5 percent plus 15 cents for transactions entered manually.

4. QuickBooks

This is arguably the world’s largest accounting software. QuickBooks gives you a full accounting experience. Its offerings range from tracking sales and expenses and dealing with financial statements to doing your taxes, handling payment of staff and vendors, and much more.

You can access this software on the go on your smartphone or tablet; and connect it to your bank account, PayPal and Square, or credit cards. You can also upload data from these sources without hassle. Pricing ranges from $10 to $24 for the first six months and $13 to $40 per month after that. Quickbooks also comes with a free 30-day trial period.

5. Nimble

As a customer-relationship management tool, Nimble is a solid bet. CRMs are supposed to help you keep track of all customer-related events in your business, and Nimble does a really good job of this, especially if your business has a huge online presence -- as every business should.

Related: The 5 Best Productivity Apps for Entrepreneurs

Nimble can automatically update your contacts’ information from their social media profiles. It also offers robust reporting and analytics and third-party app syncing, among many other features. Nimble further works on all platforms; pricing starts at $25 per license, with a 14-day free trial period.