15 Mobile Apps to Make Your Small Business More Efficient

mobile apps for business productivity

marketing plan templateSmartphone apps that can improve everyday tasks and help you run your business

Nine out of 10 executives use a smartphone to help run their business, a July 2013 Google survey found, and 10 percent manage their businesses exclusively from their smartphone. This makes choosing the right business apps crucial for running today’s company efficiently.

Here are five categories of business apps you can use to turn your smartphone into an automated managerial assistant.



Productivity

Distractions such as answering email, handling administrative tasks and attending meetings consume more than 55 percent of the average work day, reports a white paper from Workfront (formerly AtTask) titled “The State of Enterprise Work.” To combat this time-loss, the 30/30 task manager app for iOS helps you stay focused without getting burnt out by using notifications to break your work day into half-hour chunks. Project management system KanbanFlow also incorporates periodic notifications to help keep your team focused while also maintaining delegation, scheduling and supervision.

Cut down on the amount of time you and your team spend answering emails by using Mailbox, an app that displays emails in a chat-like view for quick reading and filing. Microsoft Outlook’s app, recently acquired from Acompli, lets you integrate your email with calendar scheduling and Microsoft Exchange.

A mobile videoconferencing app like Skype is also an option to save more of the time you spend traveling to meetings. When you do need to travel, TripIt is there to plan and manage your itinerary. Talko lets you combine videoconferencing features with text messaging, the ability to display visual aids and the capability to record and retrieve calls and share audio highlights.

File Sharing

Managing a team from your smartphone requires a reliable file sharing app. If you’re already using Skype for videoconferencing, you can also use it for sharing; however, Dropbox is today’s most popular file sharing and syncing solution, offering a limited amount of free space with a premium option. If your team uses Microsoft’s office suite, PolarisOffice is a great option for managing docs and workflow.

Sales

Managing your sales team via smartphone is also possible. The SalesForce1 Mobile App lets you coordinate customer data with your team, manage leads and opportunities, and create customized functions for your own sales needs. You can also make selling easier for your team by adopting a mobile payment solution, such as PayPal Here. If your sales process requires getting signatures, DocuSign is a trusted, secure program for collecting digital signatures from mobile devices.

Payroll

Paying your employees from your smartphone is complicated if you’re trying to figure out how much to take out for taxes while you’re on the go. A system like SurePayroll makes this easier by automating your payroll deductions and withholdings and even calculating and filing your taxes for you according to the latest federal, state and local tax requirements. In addition to the SurePayroll program itself, The Payroll Blog offers an extensive library of small business tips, as well as payroll and tax advice that can help you get the most out of your app.

Accounting

Business apps let you manage your bottom line by keeping track of your business’s finances from your smartphone. The QuickBooks Online app lets you access your accounting information, back up your data, track expenses and sales, and create and send invoices from anywhere. Then, use Expensify to make tracking expenses easier by letting you scan receipts with your smartphone or charge them directly to a credit card account. (Shoeboxed.com is another great resource for tracking and digitizing your expenses).

Now that you’ve discovered these 15 apps, recommended by professionals across all industries, there’s no reason you can’t manage day-to-day business from your smartphone whether you’re in the office or an ocean away.




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Roy Rasmussen

Roy Rasmussen, co-author of "Publishing for Publicity," is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales. His specialty is helping experts reach their target market with a focused sales message. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, and business coaching.