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4 Apps Your Small Business Can't Survive Without
Posted on July 4th 2013
It was recently reported that more than 50% of America are now smartphone owners, and this has become a stark realization for business owners and marketers. This growing trend of on-the-go consumers makes it incredibly important for small businesses to evolve into mobile-focused organizations. Not only is marketing towards these mobile customers critical, but so is making sure you can operate your own business no matter where you are.
As this trend continues to grow, mobile phones will play a larger role in our lives and our businesses. If you don’t have a smartphone, now just might be the time to make that leap. Personally, I waited quite a while before getting one, and now I can’t imagine why I waited so long or how I could ever go back.
If you are a small business and smartphone owner, there are likely apps you use regularly to keep things going on the move. Mail, web browser, and the like are all pretty standard, but here are a few you might be missing out on. I have used each extensively and I’ve found the following apps to be essential.
These four apps make organizing your thoughts, finances, and marketing easier even when you’re away from the computer or office. The apps also sync with a desktop version, allowing a seamless connection between your smartphone and your computer.
1. Evernote (Free, iPhone / iPad / Android / Mac / PC)
Evernote is the quintessential note taking and storing app. It allows you to keep every thought you have written down, saved, and organized properly.
You can create different folders so your business and personal notes are kept separate, as well as tags for easy identification. Newly added, the app now features reminders that can be added onto each note you take so you never forget to do exactly what you wrote down.
Formatting text is a breeze like you can in other text editors. Sharing to social networks is also directly integrated. So if you put together something you’d like to share on your Twitter or Facebook page, you can do it directly from the app.
The computer version of the app also allows for seamless, easy syncing of all your notes. With this feature, anything you write on your phone will be updated on your computer, and vice versa. You’ll never skip a beat or need to copy already written notes over.
The bottom line is it makes everything easier — something every small business owner can use. Many people use Post-It notes to control the constant stream of thoughts they have every day when it comes to managing a business. Evernote makes it convenient for you to store those in an organized fashion for the long haul.
2. Wunderlist ($Free, iPhone / iPad / Android / Mac / PC / Web)
This app is about as handy and no frills as a to-do list app should be. I will be the first to say that an app which keeps track of things you need to do seems a bit frivolous. But after going sometime without it and trying to use other apps like Evernote to do the trick, I find this much better.
All Wunderlist enables you to do is create a running to-do list of all your tasks. And it works perfectly! You can make certain tasks a priority and keep them atop the list. Likewise you can set reminders or due dates, so you won’t forget. The app will send you a push notification ensuring you really remember to do that thing you wrote down last week.
I find that pretty handy with so much going on between life and business.
Naturally, you can add longer descriptions to tasks and include details if need be. You can share lists directly or via email with others who might need some guidance. For example, making a to-do list for an intern or employee might be helpful if you’re away or simply want to take a more hands-off management approach.
It helps keep me on track and organized, which is something I try to not take for granted. To mark tasks as done, just check their corresponding box and off they go. It’s kind of gratifying, like crossing off something on paper you needed to do.
Once again, this app has the syncing ability from smartphone to computer, so you’re always updated across the board.
3. Mint (Free, iPhone / iPad / Android / Web)
Finances in a quandary? No idea where your money is going? Can’t understand your bank’s outdated web dashboard? Then Mint is for you.
Mint is a simple and secure application that connects directly with your bank account to monitor financial activity. It produces these nifty, straightforward charts and graphs, so you can visualize your business’ spending.
It really makes things crystal clear when it comes to tracking revenue and expenses. Sure, your bank probably has a way of giving you reports and showing what’s coming and going, but nothing like this I can assure you.
Mint is widely trusted among people and businesses to track their money, so it’s incredibly secure. You can even setup a pass lock before gaining access to the app. Just sign up, link your account, and Mint will start tracking the numbers.
With a much clearer view of how your money is being spent, you can fine-tune your budget and allocations to work better for your business. Expenses can be grouped into categories and allotted a monthly budget. Going over this will prompt an alert, so you can keep a close eye on exactly what is happening with your money.
The app’s sleek design combined with insightful metrics make it a win-win for small business owners.
4. Facebook Pages App
A little more than six months ago, the main Facebook app wouldn’t have made it to this list. It took the developers at Facebook far too long to get an app right. Not only was its design clunky for years, but it didn’t encourage users to keep using Facebook on their phones.
I doubt they truly realized the importance of this fact until it was completely updated and turned into the app we have today. Right around the time of this redesign, they saw a big boost in mobile users. Today a huge portion of their traffic comes from people using the app, and it’s pretty clear why.
With that said, the Facebook Pages app is right on target, allowing business owners and marketers to easily monitor their pages.
Simply log in and add a post, picture, or video, and share away. The mobile-friendly nature of the app encourages business owners to keep their audiences in the loop no matter where they are.
Events, news, or spontaneous updates now have no trouble being shared immediately with your following from the app. You can moderate comments just as you would on a PC, monitor your page’s Insights, and use plenty of other helpful features, making the management experience a piece of cake.
Plain and simple, if you manager or contribute to a Facebook page for your small business, get the app.
5. Bonus – Gmail (iPhone / iPad / Android / Web)
This one is added as an extra since not everyone uses Google’s email platform for their business. Personally, I have 3 Gmail accounts and keep tabs on them all on my smartphone so this app is essential.
Even if you just use Gmail for personal email, I would recommend trying this app out. They redesigned it completely not long ago and it really excels. The design and layout is nearly flawless now in my opinion. Plus multiple account integration is a breeze.
If you didn’t know, for only $5 per month, you can use Gmail as your mail provider with a specific domain address. Your email can still remain email@example.com, but instead of using the regular client, you can use Gmail.
Not worth it to everyone, but for lovers of Gmail on mobile and the web, it’s definitely an option worth considering.
What Must-Have Apps Would You Recommend?
So there you go, those are my 4 (or 5) best smartphone apps for helping you run your small business. Nothing fancy or intricate about any of them, just good, solid apps to make your day-to-day business tasks easier.
Any suggestions for additional must-have apps? Let me know in the comments!
About the Author: Kevin Gaertner is Co-Owner of Cyclone Strategies, a marketing agency which helps small and medium sized businesses create and implement online marketing strategies.