When you run a small business, you’re often pulled in several directions all at once. Not only are you in charge of everyday operations, but you must handle payroll, employee issues, and anything else that pops up.
There are thousands of productivity apps out there that can help you do everything from keep a neat to-do list to delegate tasks to employees and stay on top of your business expenses.
You work hard running your small business, so let your smartphone or tablet help you by downloading the right apps. Here are the 12 must-have apps to run your business even more smoothly,
1. Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint)
Microsoft’s mobile Office apps – which include downsized versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel,. The free apps – which run equally well on Android smartphone and tablets – are almost as good as their desktop counterparts. But these apps are optimized for touchscreen devices, with big, easy-to-tap buttons. They also integrate with Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage platform, which ensures your documents are backed up and synced across all your devices.
Want to automatically have your files synced as you edit them? Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage companies that exists today. Best of all, Dropbox offers 2GB of storage for free. You can earn up to 3GB of additional free space by automatically syncing photos and videos with Dropbox.
Every referral you make with a free account gets you 500MB up to 18GB. Dropbox sells Pro accounts with a lot more space for between $8.25 per month to $41.60 per month. I use Dropbox every single day to sync my documents.
The Dropbox app is compatible with Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and the Kindle Fire.
3. Google Drive
There are quite a few solid cloud-storage options available for Android, but Google Drive is of the best cloud storage app.Google Drive lets you store files and documents online, so they’re backed up and accessible from anywhere on any Android device with an Internet connection. As a bonus, Google Drive is integrated with QuickOffice; just sign in with your Google account credentials to get access to all documents stored in the cloud. Plus, every edit you make in QuickOffice is automatically backed up to Google Drive.
4. Cisco WebEx Meetings
The Cisco WebEx Meetings app for iOS, Android and BlackBerry lets you have meetings wherever you are. Through the WebEx app, you can join any web conference through 2-way video and a camera switcher.
What distinguishes WebEx from other video conferencing services is that files can be attached to a meeting space. This means that you can pitch a presentation or discuss numbers from an Excel spreadsheets in real-time while video-chatting with your contacts.
Cisco sells tiered plans depending on the features that you want from the service. The free version supports 3 people per meeting with standard-quality video and 250MB of storage.
With Evernote, you can clip bits and pieces of information from the web, tag them for easy searching, and alter any of them by adding to it, condensing it, or embedding pictures, tables, audio, video, and the like. You can also use Evernote for organic notes and journaling, to-do lists, recipes, contacts, and even storage for tweets or emails that you want to keep handy.
All of that is free in the basic version. Evernote also has a business version that costs $12 per user, per month with several added features including administrator controls and unlimited space for uploads.
6. TripIt – Travel Organizer
If you travel a lot, then TripIt is a must-have app. TripIt makes it easier to organize and share travel itineraries, especially for people that travel every week. As you receive confirmation e-mails from the different services that you book with, you will need to forward them to [email protected]
TripIt can recognize reservations from over 3,000 booking sites including cruises, concerts, and restaurants. You can share trip plans through e-mail, Facebook and LinkedIn contacts. By organizing your travel information, the TripIt app can help you avoid missing a flight or forget the car rental service that you have a reservation with.
If you need a solid video conferencing app to meet remotely with employees or clients, it’s hard to beat the service that’s synonymous with video chat. The Skype app for Android lets you make video calls using the front-facing camera on your handset. The platform is flexible, so you can connect with users on nearly any device. And if you’re away from the office, it can virtually drop you into a staff meeting.
Camscanner is a very useful tool. It essentially turns your camera into a scanner. With it, you can scan in things like invoices, business cards, documents, and other paperwork that needs digitized. It also includes an easy search for documents you’ve scanned in, the ability to print or fax documents (for a nominal fee), and it even comes with cross-platform syncing. In the digital age, an app like this can be useful and invaluable. You can also download an app like Adobe Acrobat (which lets you digitally sign PDF documents) and you’ll be able to handle every document out there without a problem.
9. Google My Business
Google My Business helps you make your business visible on Google Search and Google Maps. This is important because that’s pretty much how people find out about stuff these days. The app lets you update facts about your business like your hours of operation, name, and address. You can even manage multiple locations if need be. It’s a small thing, but a lot of people are going to run into you on those services. Because of this, it’s important that your business looks good there.
With one click, the Toggl timer tracks where every second of your time is going, making it ideal for anyone who needs to log billable hours. You can track as many projects or clients as you want, view colorful graphs, export timesheets, and sync your numbers with several project management apps.
Best of all, all of your employees can use Toggl, and you can divide them into different groups to stay organized.
Toggl is free for up to five users, while a Pro version allows unlimited users and adds billable rates, subprojects, and other features for $5 per user, per month.
Every business has to deal with money and PayPal can help with that. A ton of businesses use PayPal to manage transactions and invoices. Sometimes, it’s also even used to pay employees. You can set up a business account where you can accept payments and also make them. The mobile version comes with fingerprint support, the ability to check your PayPal (and PayPal Credit balance), and more. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good baseline experience.
12. Square Register
It is an app that lets you accept money from other people. A lot of businesses use this as a point-of-sale system. You can get a Square magnetic stripe reader which plugs into your device and customers can just swipe it there to make payments. It’s a free system to use, although Square does take a 2.75% cut of every purchase made. The app also lets you track inventory, send receipts, apply discounts, issue refunds, and check out real-time sales data. Since it’s easy to use and cheap to get, that makes it one of the better business apps for new and small businesses.