Can you even imagine running your business without your smartphone? If you answered “yes,” you’re probably not utilizing the right apps.
A good app will revolutionize the way you do business, making tasks that once required time designated at your desk and/or special equipment streamlined, simplified, and, best of all, mobile.
So, if your smartphone is not yet a mobile office, you’re going to need to download a few apps.
The challenge is in finding the right apps out of the millions of apps out there. For any given task, there could be dozens of applications that say they fit the bill, and who really has time to go through hundreds of reviews to figure out which is best?
We’ve tried lots of apps. Some have been life (and business)-altering, some have done little but suck up phone resources.
So, here you go — a select list of 14 apps that every business owner should have on their phone right now:
This Google plugin works with your Gmail app, and allows you to use your email more efficiently.
For example, if you like to catch up and respond to emails in the evening, but know they’ll probably be buried in your recipient’s inbox by morning, you can schedule them to be sent first thing in the morning or in the afternoon when you know they’ll be checking emails.
Another nice feature: You can have Gmail resend and email that you want to deal with at a later time, saving you from having to look for it and making sure you don’t forget about it.
The best way to sign documents, whether you’re in the office or on the go. Upload documents, forms, or contracts to CudaSign, and and they can be signed via the app, anywhere, anytime, with no papers to keep track of or risk losing.
Signatures are legal and binding, and documents are automatically stored in a cloud.
This is perfect for when you’re on the road and need to sign and send a contract. (There is a nominal fee per signature, so you might want to stick with Adobe in the office, but the convenience is well worth the fee when you’re mobile).
With so much information coming through every day, it can be easy to lose track of things and never find them again. Pocket allows you to save almost anything that’s digital — websites, articles, videos, photos — to a folder in the app for later.
It’s great for saving articles shared by colleagues on social media, organizing Calls for Submissions, and even tweets that you want to respond to later. Pocket integrates with a Chrome extension, so you can access it from any device or computer.
4. Wi-Fi Finder
Need to access the Internet on your laptop on the go? The free Wi-Fi Finder app will tell you the nearest locations offering free or paid wi-fi.
As a bonus, you can download a list of wi-fi spots in selected locations, which can come in handy if you lose power in your location and need to quickly find a place to keep working.
Nothing can slow you down on mobile as much as a PDF. GoodReader opens and reads PDFs, manages the files, and even allows you to annotate and sign PDF documents.
The app also allows you to zip and unzip files, transfer files to Dropbox or Google Drive, and reads MS Office, Word, TXT and HTML files.
There is a scientific reason why you can get a lot of work done in a coffee shop: The background noise of chatter and activity provides your brain with just enough distraction to avoid being over-focused on the task at hand — which can actually make you less productive.
As a business owner, you may not have the time or opportunity to do much work in cafes, but Coffitivity offers ambient soundtracks that help you focus just the right amount.
The free app has three free audio loops; Premium sounds include a French Bistro and a Texas Teahouse.
A powerful Customer Relationship Management tool that fits in your pocket. The free version includes 5 email templates, up to 10 mass emails sent per day, 2,500 records, and up to 500 mg of storage.
Manage leads, contacts, and customers with an automatic address book, calendar, and loads of other features.
Digitize and share your business card with this app that lets you create striking cards using a variety of templates, with the option to add your company logo.
You can share your card instantly to other people with the SnapDat app, or you can send your contact info with those who don’t have it.
SnapDat also organizes business cards you receive, syncs them with your address book, and gives you the option to add location information and notes to cards.
A spinoff of the IFTTT IF app, the DO app allows you to do simple tasks one click.
Connect other apps and tools to DO and create recipes such as tracking hours, sending reminders, logging your location, and keeping a tally. You can even use it to send yourself a call if you need to cut an interaction short in a nice way.
One word of caution: The Do app can be addictive.
If your LinkedIn account is gathering virtual dust on your computer, try the mobile app.
With its easy accessibility, you can use the networking app to keep track of business contacts, look for employees and contractors, and share your website content to other people in your industry.
Sure, you have Facetime, but the Skype app is still used by smartphone users all over the world — keeping it on your phone means you can utilize it whenever a client asks for a impromptu video chat, no matter what kind of operating system they use.
Skype also allows you to make phone calls over wi-fi (for free, if they’re toll-free calls), so you can hold phone meetings without using your phone service.
Accept physical credit cards on your smartphone or tablet with this extremely handy app that works with iOS and Android.
When you sign up, you’ll receive a plug-in card swiper so you can take cards anywhere, whether you’re selling products on-the-go or doing a quick in-person payment from a client. Fees apply.
An address book that updates itself, Addappt could mean the end of missed calls when you have a phone number change, and can keep your contacts information fresh.
Just update your information in the app when necessary, and it will update for your contacts who use the app (and vice-versa). There’s just one catch — your contacts have to use Addappt for it to auto-update.
Take and share notes, organize your schedule, and collaborate on projects with this easy-to-use tool that syncs across all platforms.
You can take notes while waiting for a train and have them waiting for you — with annotations from your business partner — when you get to the computer in your office.
If you use a program like notepad regularly, you’ll be amazed at how much more you can do with Evernote.
With so many apps out there, we’re discovering new “what did I do without it?” apps all the time.
What are the most essential apps that you use for business every day? Join the conversation in the comments and let us know!
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