With apps such as Instagram, Shazam, Google Maps, WhatsApp, and Pocket, mobile applications have changed consumer behavior by simplifying tasks, providing near-instant information, and has pushed the boundaries of sharing. Instep with consumer-facing apps, the small businesses landscape has also changed. Now, running a small business from a smartphone is no longer a stretch, but a reality. In fact, 85% of Americans are running their small business from their iPhone or Android phone today, a number that has nearly doubled in the last 5 years.
If you’re a small business owner, you can now access some very important information on the way to your office. With your smartphone you now have visibility into your company’s finances, access to important documents, communicating internally or externally, and the ability to track your customer support cases. With that, there are thousands of small business apps in the marketplace, but don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. Here’s our roundup of a few small business apps that can help your business moving, even when you’re on the move.
1. Mint.com makes handling all of your finances a one-stop affair. With Mint, you can view up-to-date information about your business accounts, check your budgets and edit transaction info right on the app.
2. Box offers secure, scalable content-sharing right from your mobile device. View and share your most important files, exchange comments with coworkers, and save files for offline access.
3. Dropbox offers easy file storage, sharing and management for all your company’s important photos, documents, and videos. Simply save a file to Dropbox and it saves it to your computers, phones, or any other devices; in addition, Dropbox stores a copy for easy retrieval should you need it later.
4. Evernote With Evernote, not only will your business have a decent document editing program, you’ll be able to share almost anything between as many computers as you need. Easily take snapshots or record audio of things you find online and share them with as many or as few employees as needed.
5. Skype lets your talk for free and hold unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls with a BlackBerry or Android 3G smartphone. If you can’t use Skype Mobile, Skype To Go numbers are also available. These numbers offer discounted international calls as well as access to Skype’s services without downloading or installing software.
6. Webex allows you to schedule, attend, and host meetings with anyone, anywhere. The app allows you to share files, information, and collaborate with everyone connected to your small business. Webex also supports two-way video on the iPhone and iPad and allows you to see up to 5 people in the same meeting face-to-face.
7. Desk.com Ok, shameless plug here - Desk.com’s Universal Inbox allows small business owners to track and manage all of your customer conversations across all support channels including email, phone, chat, Facebook and Twitter. Mobile support is a key part of Desk.com’s “Never let a customer fall through the cracks” philosophy. Use your iPhone, Android or Blackberry to stay on top of customer issues with real-time notifications and collaborate with your team.
8. Square This app is the hands-down leader in mobile phone transactions. The Square Card Reader plugs directly into your smartphone and allows you to accept credit and debit card transactions from anywhere. After plugging in the free card reader accessory and setting up the app, your business will enjoy next-day deposits on all transactions at a fee of only 2.75% per swipe. Customers can add tips, sign receipts with their fingers, and receive electronic receipts via email or text, eliminating the need for paper receipts altogether.
9. Google Wallet stores your credit and debit cards, offers, loyalty cards, and more, so they’re with you whether you’re buying in-store or online. When you shop online, just sign into your account and use your stored payment info to pay. And when you pay in-store, just tap your phone on the NFC terminal and you’re good to go.
Small business apps and the mobile user experience will continue to grow and evolve. Embracing these small business mobile apps will no doubt help you get the visibility you’ll need to not only run your small business, but get ahead of the competition. What other apps have you found invaluable for your business? Leave a comment and share your must have tools.