Editor’s note: Smartphones are playing a bigger role in helping manage your business. In this guest post, James Stewardson discusses the different apps business owners can use to become more efficient and productive.
Smartphones have revolutionized our way we do things. While these phones are still communication tools in essence, they can be installed with apps, allowing users to do more than just call or message. One of the purposes of these apps is the ability to work on your business at the palm of your hands.
Business owners are continuously looking for ways to improve their productivity at work. This explains why more and more people are using mobile apps for their business. An infographic by Zendesk reports that 72% of small businesses use mobile apps in their operations in 2011. Among them, 62% use apps to save time, 59% to increase productivity, and 29% to save costs.
Here’s a list of six essential business apps and illustrative examples to help keep your small business on the move.
What it does: Dropbox is a great alternative to emailing files from one computer – or other device – to another. You simply download the app onto both computers/phones and you can drop files into it whenever you want.
With over 100 million people now using it worldwide, the cloud file storage possibilities of Dropbox are quickly making it the most popular app of its kind. It also has a host uses beyond being able to access your files from the cloud.
Why you should use this app: as an owner of a small business, you share files with clients, use your phone to show examples of your products when you’re out and about, as well as referencing presentations or other business applications when away from your computer. It’s also a free service, so there’s no excuse not to at least try it.
What it does: This is a relatively new app that combines marketing and professional networking, and while it may not currently be as popular as many of its competitors, it’s here to stay and is growing every day.
Google+ lets you create a detailed business page, share content and links to your website and blog and start building authority to help get to the top of Google searches.
Why you should use this app: This kind of app is perfect for a small business looking to compete on a level playing field against big brands; allowing you to connect with a wider audience, and generally make the most of your personal branding.
What it does: Foursquare is the app that allows you to ‘check in’ at local places of interest, letting all of your online friends know where you are and why.
Foursquare gives customers the opportunity to be ‘mayors’ of small businesses if they’re the most checked-in client, so someone like a photographer or consultant could become mayor of many places, taking photos at the locations in order to market the company, and have a reason in turn to connect and win business.
Why you should use this app: This app lets customers check in to your small business and share their experience of your company with their friends. If you do have business premises, then by all means sign up, get creative with your rewards and start attracting people to your venue.
It’s also perfect for retailers looking to reward their customer’s loyalty by offering discounts or exclusive products. If you don’t have a specific work base, then use others and start checking into their locations yourself.
What it does: Square allows you to take your iPad or iPhone and turn it into a card payment machine. It’s quick and easy to use, there aren’t any contracts or hidden fees, and it will enable the company to get payment right there and then.
Why you should use it: Remember all the times you’ve seen an ice creamy or burger van and realized you had no change? With the square app, all those lost sales are now a thing of the past.
Square is revolutionizing the way small businesses can get paid, bypassing the need for expensive card machine contracts and perfect for businesses on the move.
Download here: iTunes
What it does: inDinero is an app that provides a financial dashboard for your company or services so you can keep track of your cash, your profits, and your losses.
Why you should use it: This app is particularly useful if you’re constantly on the go, on location, and don’t have the time to keep going home or to the office to check your computer.
What it does: Evernote is a useful app for those who may need a bit of support in getting organized.
It’s also a perfect tool when collecting inspiration in the form of pictures, sound files, and written words which it can recognize and turn into digital notes. For example, a business may be looking to improve their website design. Collecting pictures of what competitors sites look like can be useful to find the best features.
Why you should use it: This app is helpful for small business owners who need to manage their time and ideas in order to continue their services. Once you get into the habit of tagging everything, the possibilities are endless.
What other apps can help you manage your small business or career in a more productive way? Let us know by commenting below!
Going mobile is one of the many ways to grow your business! For more information and other solutions to business growth, click on the banner below to get a copy of our FREE e-book!