Apps, the Future of Business: Choosing the Best for Your Small Business

Mobile applications – apps – are changing the face of business. They’re becoming more prevalent, more powerful and can help your business run more smoothly. Apps to help you organize your ideas, expenses, travel and daily operations can change and improve the way you do business.

MobileApps

Ideas and Files

  • Evernote: Evernote can help you capture and remember all the brilliant ideas you have while flying across the country or even waiting in line at the grocery store. It comes on multiple platforms and allows you to store your ideas by voice, text and photos. You can search your notes by keywords and tags.
  • Google Drive: Built off of Google Docs, Google Drive lets you port files among PCs, tablets and smartphones. Drive comes with 5 GB of free cloud storage. And, you can create docs, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and more, just like Google Docs.
  • FormMobi: Fill in forms on-the-go and distribute information via a mobile device. You can also record audio, take pictures, sketch CAD-quality renderings and collect signatures.
  • Polaris Office: This mobile app is a good mobile alternative to Apple’s iWork suite or Microsoft’s Office Suite for spreadsheets and docs. It allows you to read and edit docs via the mobile app and uses cloud management.
  • Microsoft SkyDrive: This app allows cloud storage and file sharing through synced folders. You can view and edit SkyDrive files from any smartphone or tablet with the SkyDrive mobile app. Though it works for both Macs and PCs, additional services like settings backup and automatic photo upload to camera roll are available for Windows 8 and Windows Phone users.
  • DropBox: DropBox allows you to sync files and folders across various platforms. The mobile app gives you access to all your DropBox files, which you can also share with other users. There’s also a DropBox for teams that’s designed for small businesses.
  • PrimaDesk: This app is a cloud storage management solution. It allows cloud storage management and search functions with cloud storage services like DropBox, SugarSync, Access Box, and others. It also organizes email from different providers, allowing you to view, send and search across accounts.
  • SOS Online Backup: SOS automatically backs up your files online and provides military-grade encryption for those files.

Expenses and Finances

  • Expensify: There are plenty of expense trackers out there, and Expensify is one of the simplest. It keeps track of expenses and mileage via multiple platforms. Receipts can be scanned and uploaded. Expenses can be submitted to employers by a click of a button. It can also read and import expenses from a linked bank account or credit card.
  • Abukai Expenses: Take a photo of your receipts with a smartphone and it’s entered into the app’s interface. You can also take a photo of a map or itinerary to calculate and report mileage.
  • InDinero: A cash flow management app, InDinero syncs to bank accounts and credit cards and predicts future cash flow based on past cash flow trends.
  • OfficeTime & Harvest: These apps track billable hours, workers’ time on the clock and on projects and also tracks expenses.

Travel

  • TripIt: This travel app allows business travelers to keep business trip arrangements together in one location, including meeting locations and flights. It also gathers weather information, maps and directions.
  • Bump: A networking app that allows you to create a virtual business card. You can trade business cards, photos and files by bumping smartphones together.

Operation

  • LocalVox: A business marketing app, LocalVox allows users to build online branding through social media, Web sites, local directories and email newsletters. The service also automatically updates the brick and mortar business’s Google Places listings for the user.
  • Asana: A collaborative information manager, Asana is a simple alternative to complex project management software. It allows users to manage both work and personal projects in one intuitive interface.
  • Square: Square and other similar credit card payment apps are changing the face of small business. The app allows businesses to take credit card payments through mobile devices and charges no startup or monthly fees. Instead, it takes 2.75 percent of each transaction.
  • Fing Network Tools for Android: Fing is a network discovery tool app that finds devices connected to your network. It allows troubleshooting for network problems and connection issues and allows you to ferret out anything that’s connected and shouldn’t be.
  • Win8 Metro Testbed: This app allows iPads to operate as Windows 8 for testing apps or for ease of operation. It also allows you to operate an iPad with gestures like you would a windows tablet, without buying a new one.
  • LogMeIn Ignition: This Android app allows you to log in to a PC remotely to perform administrative functions. There’s also a Mac version, LogMeIn for iOS.
  • KoolSpan TrustCall: This smartphone app encrypts phone calls and text messages without having to buy custom devices.

Image: Johan Larsson

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ilyapozin/2012/05/29/10-brilliant-apps-small-businesses-should-use/

http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/tech-services/explore-tips-and-advice/tech-articles/the-six-best-mobile-small-business-apps.html

http://www.webroot.com/En_US/business/articles/5-best-mobile-apps-for-managing-your-small-to-medium-business

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399156,00.asp

 

This is a guest post by, Kristi Arnold, a freelance writer.  She is the author of VeggieConverter.com and freelance writer at OrganicAuthority.com.

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