The modern business relies heavily on both software and mobile applications in order to operate in an efficient manner. Small businesses, in particular, are reliant on mobile business apps as it allows them to operate on a much bigger scale and to carry out today’s first commandment of owning or managing a small business; do everything as if you are a big business.
Of course, mobile apps are not just useful for the business that wants to look like a global player despite only having a handful of clients.
They are also essential tools for optimizing the way a business works, they can be the keys to driving accelerated growth, and huge money savers both in respect of potential employees as well as with business services such as accountancy.
What are the business apps that will help every business to stand ahead of the crowd? We looked at the top 15.
The first step a business with a mind for going mobile often needs to take is to ensure that they can access all of their files and data from one place. Thankfully, that is what Dropbox was made for, and the fact that it stands out even above native services such as SkyDrive, iCloud, and Gmail tells you all you need to know about the usefulness of the service.
Simply download Dropbox to your laptop or desktop PC, do the same on your smartphone and tablet, transfer your documents, allow the app to auto-synchronize, and you are ready to go.
You are probably thinking that the fax as a means of communication is a little 20th century. You might even be more specific and say a little 1980s. A number of people that still use it, however, for a variety of reasons, and so having an app such as eFax on your device will ensure you are able to take care of every request.
It is not often you will lose business because you use email rather than fax, but if eFax helps to secure the big contract for you, it will quickly seem worth it.
3. Quickoffice Pro HD
We are not about to sit here and proclaim this app to be the best thing ever, but for its cost ($19.99) and what it provides, it certainly does more than pay back its investment. If we are honest, all of the improvements we would suggest are more ‘luxurious’ features anyway, so if you are looking to deal with your data on the go, you definitely need this app.
Quickoffice Pro does not enjoy the reputation of award-winning business apps such as iWork, but we would choose this option over the other every day of the week.
This app is basically a more attractive version of Dropbox, although the similarities are very much the same. If you are looking for something a little easier on the eye, and definitely if your business relies on visuals in any way, then this app will be a great choice for you.
5. Priority Matrix
Priority Matrix offers a simple way to plan your day and keep on top of what you need to do and who you need to call without paying out for a full-service customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
In fact, the best features of this app probably come beyond its initial purpose, with things such as the pros and cons lists and target dates an added reason to use beyond the excellent primary day-to-day planning function.
While Priority Matrix is great for its simplicity, Bento’s range of database templates is great for anyone who is looking to keep their data close to hand again without using a full CRM suite. We would suggest trying both and seeing which works best for you, or perhaps even looking at how to get the most out of using these apps in conjunction with each other.
7. Dragon Dictation
Dictation software has had something of a dubious reputation in recent years, but this app is excellent for the business owner who knows what he wants to say in a press release, email, or social media post, but is unable to get their thoughts from the head and onto the screen via the keyboard.
If you are outsourcing any type of content writing, whether it is social media posts or a blog, it can be very frustrating to read them on a mobile device but not be able to get down your suggested edit points prior to sitting down on a laptop or desktop PC.
That is no more with GoodReader, a great app that allows you to jot suggestions and ideas across files on the move.
There are dozens of apps that allow you to scan and convert documents to PDF, it just happens that this is our favorite example of one. Whether you want to edit documents on the go, email an invoice to the office to be dealt with later, or convert a low quality document into a high quality PDF simply by scanning it, this is the app you need.
MDScan can even realign text and recognize borders to give you professional looking PDF files whenever you need them.
10. Polaris Office
This app is perfect for the business traveler on a long journey who wants to create or edit a document or presentation on the move. Best of all, it integrates with Dropbox, Google Docs, and other cloud storage services, meaning you can use the app whenever and wherever you want to without having to change where you keep your files.
11. Office Time
If the nature of your business means you offer services that are subject to ‘per time’ billing, then you simply have to use an app such as this one. Not only does it keep track of the time you have spent on a variety of tasks, it can also track material costs and billable expenses, and best of all, generates your line specific invoice at the end of each billing period to be emailed across to your clients.
12. Mint.com Personal Finance
Okay, so we know that it might look odd putting a personal finance app onto a list concerning business apps, but if you can make this one work for your business affairs, you will find it a lot better than some of the other budgeting apps that are available, including the equivalent business finance app from the same website!
If you are using a full-scale business accounting app, then stick to that for your main data storage, but keep this in mind for use as a day-to-day tracker and for keeping a snapshot of your numbers.
13. NoteTaker HD
Fun and practical for the business user, this app might seem to have more features and options than what you could ever possibly need for taking simple notes, but we guess it is better to have something you might not ever need than need something and have to download a completely different app.
This app has the power to enable you to do business with people all around the world. Schedule meetings with WebEx and even have five-way face-to-face video conferencing sessions to discuss whatever issues you are trying to solve.
For the business that is processing credit card transactions on the go, this is simply the best app on the market, bar none. You get a card reader sent to you as part of the app process, and all sales are credited to your business the next day with the small processing fee already removed, meaning you do not ever find yourself paying back Square at the end of a billing period.
These apps all, in their own way, have the power to add something to your business. Use them as best you can, and you will find your productivity and efficiency go through the roof.
Robert is an IT consultant who advises small businesses on all aspects of their operations, from the best productivity apps to use to whether VPS hosting or other options are best for developing user friendly websites.
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