I’m like a kid in the candy store when I look at small business apps for my smartphone. I want to try everything! Every app promises to make my life easier, my company run smoother and my customers happier. Some have lived up to the hype, while others have left me scratching my head. Here are a few of my favorites and their best features for small businesses.
Google Apps from HostPapa are amazing from an office and business needs prospective. It’s a one-stop-shop and part of the reason this is by far, at the top of my favorites list.
With a Gmail account and these Google Apps for small business, internal and external communication, office productivity and collaboration, accessibility, meetings, calendar integrations and security will be substantially improved. You can easily create, edit and share your documents, share them on the cloud and you and the members of your team can access them on any desktop or mobile device.
Set-Up is easy and HostPapa will help you through the process, so IT help is also not necessary with help from the Papa squad.
The pricing also couldn’t get any better! For only $10/month you get Google Apps for Work, with unlimited storage for all users and access to the Google Vault, which is perfect to help you search for, locate and secure emails, chats, documents and files to protect your business in legal situations.
Evernote is a “freemium” productivity and collaboration app, which means it has a free version and fee-based versions. Start with the free version, and if you find that you need to access it offline, save emails in it and search Office docs, opt for the premium subscription at $49.99/year. I use it to launch projects, facilitate brainstorms, and share notes, ideas and resources among my teams. It’s a popular productivity app; in 2014, it passed the 100 million user mark.
- Organize with checklists
- Tag your documents and notes
- Easily search for files and notes
- Enable collaboration by sharing notes, agendas and in-app discussions
Bonus: Has a digital assistant that creates contacts from business cards, tracks expenses and simplifies travel planning.
I cannot remember all the passwords for my phone, computers, social media accounts, online banking and the hundreds of other password-protected sites that I frequent. I use LastPass, which is a password management app that uses the latest encryption technology. It lets you create your own passwords using an intricate combination of letters, numbers and symbols without having to memorize them.
- LastPass account syncs everywhere, from desktop to mobile devices.
- Data and files are stored with a key that never leaves your device, ensuring only you can access your data.
Note: In June 2015, the company announced that it discovered suspicious activity on its servers, and because LastPass doesn’t have access to its customers’ passwords, their accounts were not exposed. (Tip: Even the best password strengthening algorithms don’t stop hackers from attempting to access your data. Never use easy-to-guess passwords like “password1,” “12345678,” or “iloveyou.”)
If your small business deals with point of sale, deposits or invoicing, Square Register is an easy-to-use mobile app that works with all major credit cards. I like it because it comes with a free card reader that plugs into my smartphone, and the flat 2.75% per swiped transaction applies to all credit cards. I incur no additional charges from credit card companies.
- Customers in service industries can tip with easy, math-free calculations.
- You can send digital receipts via text message or email (or connect to a printer).
- Accept online orders.
- Manage your inventory in real time.
Bonus: Square is a CRM for small business that provides data and customer tracking, so you can automate customer engagement, track your sales pipeline and make data-based business decisions.
Do you do what I do before I meet with a potential client or new vendor? I search the Internet to get background materials on the company, its leaders and the people with whom I’ll meet. I found an app that does the searches for me.
The Charlie app is a data tool that helps small business owners and entrepreneurs learn more about a potential client before a meeting. Charlie’s wizardry automatically creates an easily scanned one-pager about the person you are scheduled to meet, before the meeting.
- Connects with your Google calendar, Twitter and Facebook
- Uncovers common interests, so you can talk about things other than business
- Shows their blog articles, their competition, company statistics, and even a list of people you might have in common.
Bonus: It’s mobile only for iPhones, but it’s accepting beta testers for the Android version. Contact them at Charlie@charlieapp.com.
Need to better manage your finances at your small business operation? The Mint app is a safe and secure way for small businesses to track costs and cash flow, pay bills and simplify budgeting. It’s a product of Intuit, so it easily integrates with TurboTax, QuickBooks and Quicken.
- Offers mobile and e-mail alerts along with bill payment reminders.
- Works with business and personal accounts.
- Set up bill pay and manage your bills from one easy-to-use app.
Are you trying to manage messages and notifications from multiple devices? For those small business owners with more than one phone, the Pushover app can make juggling multiple devices easier.
- The app takes messages from all devices (including Androids, iPhones, iPads and desktops), and organizes them into in one inbox.
- You may send up to 7,500 messages free each month.
- Offers plugins for several commonly used platforms (WordPress, GitHub, eBay, Drupal, Adium and IFTTT to name a few)
Bonus: Pushover offers an open API, so you can integrate it with your own applications.
What Are Your Favorite Small Business Mobile Apps?
We would love to hear what your favorite small business mobile apps are. We may even consider making your favorites our favorites too, so be sure to leave your comments and suggestions or send us your feedback.