Productivity, Organization and Networking
According to eMarketer, more than 116 million people will use smartphones by the end of 2012. People want to feel connected and empowered, and products such as the iPhone and Droid make this possible. Larger businesses have capitalized on the changing current, creating apps that make maintaining mobility possible. New businesses with the sole mission of creating apps are popping up daily, offering services that range from neighborhood-specific search to worldwide restaurant reviews. For the everyday consumer, life gets a little easier; for small business owners, the possibilities for mobile marketing are nearly endless.
Many of the functions used on smartphones are exactly as you’d expect. A recent survey as reported by PC World states 76% of small businesses use the usual calling, emailing, texting, and messaging functions on the phone, while a decidedly smaller percentage uses the calendar applications—48% to be exact. If you’re only using the most basic functions on your smartphone, why would you make the switch to such a robust piece of technology in the first place? There are hundreds of apps that could make your life easier and your business more profitable, seven of which are creating serious buzz for their ability to increase your connectivity and productivity:
The cloud is the future of technology, and those who embrace it sooner rather than later will see marked improvement in information retention and equipment maintenance. Google makes the world of virtual servers and storage networks easy to understand and access for even the most technologically challenged, offering Google Drive as an option to store, access, and share files from anywhere in the world. You can easily move from laptop to phone to tablet without the need for downloads to access files. And with 5 GB of free storage, you’ll never overstay your welcome.
Networking is one of the key ingredients to a successful small business, but even the most social executive can agree that it’s time consuming. Meeting people is fun; transferring the contact information into your database afterward isn’t. Bump makes it possible to share any and all contact information by simply bumping two smartphones together. With just a tap, you can receive photos and files that the app then organizes for you. Who couldn’t use that?
Even if you don’t travel on a regular basis, you could benefit from the possibilities Tripit offers. This app lets you organize all your travel information in place, so you’ll never again need to scroll through endless emails to call up your itinerary or hotel address. You can even keep track of the weather forecast to help you pack. That’s a lot of apps squeezed into one, and you’ll probably love it so much that you’ll end up using it for personal travel, too.
No one, and we mean no one, enjoys keeping up with expenses, and organizing them after the fact is even less exciting. Who has the ability to hang onto every receipt? On top of that, everything you buy must be categorized and reconciled before submission to the accountant. With Expensify, everything is done for you. You can scan and upload receipts, where they’ll be categorized for you. Submitting the full report is as easy as clicking a button.
Let’s be honest; if you can’t accept credit card payments, you’re losing business. Few people carry cash anymore, and unless your product is something a potential customer wants badly enough to trek to an ATM, you’re probably going to miss out. That’s why Square is gaining so much traction with small businesses. You can use this app with your smartphone or tablet to accept credit card information absolutely anywhere, which means you’ll never again lose a sale.
In small business, the best way to keep everyone on the same page is to use a project management app. Asana, which was created by Justin Rosenstein and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, gives your company the ability keep all information in place. This app allows you to navigate through events, files, projects, assignments, and events with ease. Instead of taking important time out of your day for meetings and project reports, you can instead keep an eye on everything as it’s happening.
One of the largest hurdles a small business owner faces is time tracking. With the Harvest app, you and your co-workers can easily track time, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. The app goes further to help you analyze costs for time worked so you can determine which employees are putting forth the most productivity. If that’s not enough, Harvest also gives assistance in billing clients for time worked.
It’s safe to say apps are not a fad or trend that will soon fade. Projections from eMarketer say nearly three in five consumers will own a smartphone by the year 2016. Clearly, we’re moving toward even greater mobility, and your company can’t keep up without the right tools.