Small businesses may soon find it easier to be discovered, market to customers and get paid quickly, thanks to a new raft of features in the form of small business apps being added to Office 365 Business Premium.

Microsoft has unveiled three new apps (Connections, Listings and Invoicing), to better serve the needs of its modern small business users. Connections, it says, is a “simple-to-use email marketing service”, whilst Listings offers an easy way to publish business information on top sites. Finally, Invoicing promises “a new way to create professional invoices and get paid fast.”

On top of these new apps will be the Office 365 Business Center, which provides an overview of all three apps and an end-to-end look at how a business is running.

Connections, Listings & Invoicing

Announcing Connections, Microsoft said that business users could now “drive more sales with simple email marketing tools”. It notes that beginning an email marketing campaign can seem daunting, especially for people with limited IT capabilities. As such, it has designed professional looking templates, into which businesses can simply drop information to make targeted and personalised missives. There will also be a full analytics platform, as well as database segmentation to create sophisticated campaigns.

Listings is aimed at making it easy for business owners to promote themselves online, via easy-to-find and up-to-date information. The process of publishing and maintaining this information is time-consuming, so Microsoft created Listings in a bid to streamline the whole thing, ensuring listings are accurate and identical across Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp.

Finally, Invoicing promises a “hassle-free” payments service. Microsoft acknowledged that keeping track of information in different record systems can be “tedious [and] confusing”. However, as tedious as it might be, this is an essential part of business, as getting estimates and invoices out on time, (plus tracking pending payments and processing payments quickly) are critical to keep businesses running smoothly. Microsoft’s solution is Invoicing, which not only creates professional looking invoices but is linked to PayPal, so credit and debit payments can be accepted with ease.

Connections, Listings and Invoicing will roll out in preview to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers imminently, starting with those in the First Release program.