Tag Archive: apps

6 Great Apps for Small Businesses

6 Great Apps for Small Businesses

The rise of mobile has certainly changed the face of business as we know it, and mostly for the better. Now that pretty much everyone has a smartphone, it is important that those phones are equipped with the right tools to keep up with the hectic life of a business professional. Having to put something off until you can get back to the office or hotel room could cost time, money, and even sales. That makes having everything you need in one mobile package a smart choice.


Take a look at these five apps that will add functionality to your phone – and life – with ease:


Audio Memos


Audio Memos is a great app that lets you record audio quickly and easily, whether you’re leaving yourself a reminder or recording a meeting or lecture.Lifehacker called it “the best voice recording app,” and it’s easy to see why – it’s simple, easy to use, and incredibly useful.


The app can even be set to start recording when it hears voices, so you can avoid long silences at the beginning of your recordings. Use the various extensions to trim your recordings, compress them for email, and upload everything to Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Google Drive, or simply send messages via email.




What do you do with those 20 or 50-odd, assorted business cards you’ve collected after you leave the conference? Most of us do a quick sort, and even then, the ones we keep often just get tucked away. Is there a better way to organize them? You bet.


With CardMunch, you just snap a picture of a business card and the app does the rest. It automatically converts the text on the business card into an address book contact using your mobile phone’s contact system. Snap a picture, ditch the card. Additionally, since CardMunch is owned by LinkedIn, you can take that contact information and add the person as a connection on LinkedIn, making it easy to view even more info through their profile right away.





MightyMeeting is a powerful tool that ensures you are never unprepared for a meeting. You can:


  • Store PowerPoint presentations and PDF files and share them any way you want to.
  • Set up online meetings that anyone can connect to using their phone, tablet, or computer.
  • Download documents to your device before you head out to a spot where you know that you are going to be without an internet connection, and use Nearcast to share them over Bluetooth between any iOS devices in the room.
  • You can even create an interactive whiteboard that everyone can use to share ideas.




I travel a lot, giving speeches and what not, and TripIt is my go-to travel app. Here’s how it works: with each travel reservation you make – car rental, flight, hotel, etc– you simply forward the confirmation to TripIt and the site combines them all and sends you back a master calendar/confirmation/itinerary. The elegant itinerary then syncs with Apple and Google Calendars. It also contains weather info for where you are going, as well as maps and directions for each stop on your travels. TripIt Pro adds real-time flight information, a flight finder, and more to an already robust app.



This is another of my favorite business apps. Hightail is a great way to share large files that might otherwise be practically impossible to send. The app lets you send files up to 2GB instantly from your computer or mobile device, and store an unlimited amount of files online. Such large attachments usually upset regular email servers.


At Hightail.com (formerly YouSendIt), you can see who has downloaded your files, and even control who can and can’t make changes to those files. Finally, you can also sign documents through Hightail and return them immediately, making sure that contracts, mocks, and other documents take as little time as possible to get approved.


These apps help make your phone or tablet the only device you need to get everything done. Do you have an app you can’t live without? Share it with us.

More apps for business http://www.businessinsider.com/50-best-business-apps-2013-8?op=1

Building Business Apps

Building Business Apps

Every day, hundreds of new apps are released. Many of them sound exciting, but which ones have proven to be truly valuable to the busy small business owner? Here are five apps you can use to accomplish more in less time.


To help you stay informed and organized

Information is power, which is why so many small business owners are voracious consumers of articles and blogs. Managing the flow of information and keeping track of the most valuable content is a daunting task, but it becomes much easier with the right apps.


1. Feedly

“Feedly helps me keep up with all the news in our industry, and actively share information through social media,” says Adam Ware, CEO at SwellPath, a digital marketing agency. Feedly is one of the most popular news aggregators available today and replaces Google Reader. It has highly customizable layouts and a recommendations feature that makes it extremely simple to find more information on subjects of interest to you. According to Ware, “It’s a must-have for anyone who likes to scan and read articles from many blogs or publications.”


Feedly works on the iOS and Android Platform.


2. Evernote

Forbes calls Evernote “one of the most essential apps”. Its users can store notes, ideas, lists, and even complete webpages, and then access that data from any of the devices they’ve synced to the app. It’s easy to organize, edit, and share your information.


Chris Murphy, owner of MFX SalonSpa, recommends that business owners use the Evernote Hello feature as an integral part of their recruiting process. “Using Evernote as the central hub for our recruiting has allowed us to be a lot more efficient and provided more clarity around the recruitment process.” During the recruiting process, Murphy uses Evernote to make notes on potential applicants, which his managers can see in real time. “Plus, they can add their comments to all of the notes, so the interview and hiring process is really collaborative.”


Evernote works on the iOS, Windows phone and Android platforms.

To let you do business anywhere

With the right technology, we’re free to live, work, and do business anywhere we’d like. This app enables the entrepreneur to do exactly that, by erasing the need for an on-site staff.


3. Basecamp

This project management app has proven to be essential in working with an almost-entirely remote staff. “We use Basecamp from 37 Signals to coordinate with our editors, proofers, and book scheduling,” says Lorna Hinson, publisher at Torquere Press in New Mexico. “We love that it can host files, message boards, calendars, chats and more. We use it on the web, but it has also recently revamped its iPhone and iPad usage to be fully featured.”


Basecamp has an iPhone app and mobile websites optimized for smartphones running the Android or Windows phone operating system.


To help you connect

Running a business means a lot of time interacting with people, both in person and over social media. The smart use of technology minimizes the amount of time devoted to the administrative end of networking so you can focus on building meaningful connections.


4. Hootsuite

“My favorite app is Hootsuite Mobile,” says Tristan Bishop, senior director of social marketing at Informatica. “It allows me to manage multiple social media networks and accounts, on the go, from a single mobile app.” In other words, if your business has a Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest account, you can monitor and manage all those accounts from a single dashboard. It’s a free, fast, and simple way to streamline social media.


Hootsuite Mobile runs on iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows phone.


5. Cardmunch

Cardmunch is an app developed by LinkedIn. Here’s how it works: You go to a trade show, convention, or networking event. You come away afterward with dozens of business cards in your pocket. Use your iPhone to snap a picture, and Cardmunch instantly uploads the data from the card into your LinkedIn network. It’s reliable and super simple: more than two million cards have officially been “munched”, according to LinkedIn’s blog.


Cardmunch is currently available for the iPhone, but versions for Blackberry and Android are said to be coming soon.


Using Apps for Business

Every year for my USA TODAY column, I do an annual Top 10 Trends in Small Business column. This past year, it seemed that Facebook was a shoo-in for the No. 1 spot. After all, The Social Network was one of the top movies of the year, Facebook topped the 500 million user mark and the site was valued at more than $50 billion. Facebook seemed like the obvious winner.

Except it wasn’t. It came in at No. 2 for 2011, actually. What could have topped Facebook as a trend that is changing small business more than any other?


Indeed, the only thing hotter and more buzz-worthy than Facebook is the popularity and ubiquity of smartphone apps. People are using apps every day, all day long – not only to have some fun and kill some time (death to pigs by Angry Birds I tell you, death!) – but also to effectively run their businesses.

The smart small business owner can capitalize on this trend in two different ways. First, you can, and should, find and use those apps that make running your business simpler and more profitable. Second, you should strongly consider creating and offering your own app to your customers.

Let’s take a look at both of those options:

The reason it is smart to have the foresight to integrate business and efficiency apps into your work day is because it’s where social media is headed. You are on your smartphone far more than you ever used to be, right? Well, the same is true for your staff, vendors and customers. Mobile devices and smartphones are where the eyeballs are and, as such, it is where you need to be too. It is how people are gathering information these days.

Of course, I can’t tell you which specific apps would work best in your business. There simply are too many available, doing many different things for businesses that it is impossible to say which ones you need and would like. However, you can figure out fairly quickly which ones you should check out by

Doing a Google search
Reading industry magazines, websites and blogs
Getting recommendations from writers and bloggers you like (personally, I enjoy and use recommendations from SmallBizTrends, CNET and SmallBizTechnology)

The important thing is to find apps that fit your business needs and try them out. Undoubtedly you will find some amazing tools out there that will help you run your business more easily, efficiently and effectively.

The second way to take advantage of this trend is by developing an app of your own. Essentially, there are two approaches you can take: pay a developer to create a custom application, or create a mobile version of your website.

The first method – creating a real app – looks like this:

1. Have a good idea: Your app idea should be based on fulfilling an unmet need or desire that exists in the market.

2. Analyze the idea: Who is going to use it? Why would they want it? Will they pay for it?

3. Hire a developer/designer/programmer: Expect to pay roughly $10,000 and expect it to take at least a month for the app to be ready. To help get started on creating an app, check out Craigslist, Guru.com and Elance.

4. Submit your app to the app store(s): Since this is a fairly technical process, this is something your developer should help with.

5. Market your app: Just as you must market your business, you must market your app. Look into creating a press release or announcing it on your website and other company collateral.

Finally, the last option, creating an app version of your website, is easy and cheap.

There are plenty of web-based services you can use to create a simple app that mimics your website, for instance SwebApps. With this type of service, you just point, click, drag and create an app. It’s easy.

Your app could include the following:

Content, blogs, podcasts, etc.
Products from your store — allowing anyone to make purchases through the app
Maps and contact info
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter buttons

Whether you outsource your app development, or create one in-house, offering a mobile application is just one more way to stay in front of your customers.

But whichever approach you choose, it’s probably time to hop on the app bus, Gus.