By Alexander Huls
We live in a golden age of apps. There’s no end of apps for our smartphones that can improve our lives, whether it’s keeping us entertained or improving our day-to-day health. There’s also no end of apps that can make a major impact on your small business. Here are ten essential apps we think you should get to help streamline everything from business trips to keeping track of your expenses.
The only app you’ll ever need for note taking – whether you type, speak, or doodle. Evernote is the giant it is because it doesn’t just make jotting down your thoughts easy, but it makes organizing them easy too. I also highly recommend grabbing the special Moleskine notebooks, which allow you to take pictures of your hand-written notes, store them in the app, and make them searchable. Perfect for finding that really clever idea you wrote down in a meeting and totally forgot.
Imagine an email manager merging with a to-do list. That’s Inbox by Gmail. It lets you pin emails so they remain at the top of your inbox, check-off and disappear any emails you’re finished with, and even snooze emails so they pop up at a time where you can actually answer them. Now, the app isn’t widely available yet. You either need an invitation from a friend who uses the app, or take your chances and request one from Google.
Still the best cloud-based document storage service out there (sorry, Google Drive) to make sure you – and others – always have access to the important files you need to run your business. Any time. Anywhere.
TripIt is an itinerary tool that’s especially essential for all you small biz owners out there who have to travel a lot for work. Whenever you book flights, hotels, or car rentals, all you have to do is forward your confirmation emails to TripIt. Once you do, it assembles all that info into a beautiful master itinerary. It will even add directions to help you get around.
DocuSign makes signing documents wonderfully paperless – no printers, pens, or scanners. You simply upload a document to the app and send it to a client. Then they can quickly sign it electronically and send it back to you. Plus, DocuSign stores all your signed documents. No file cabinets needed.
Every small business needs a to-do list. Any.do is our favorite. It has a simple, easy-to-use interface that makes adding, checking off, and postponing (we all know that happens ) tasks easy to do.
An obvious choice, but for a reason. Whether you’re looking to network, hiring someone new, or about to step into a meeting to pitch someone your services, having LinkedIn handy is always essential.
Keeping track of your expenses – especially on a trip – can be a pain. Expensify makes it painless. It can pull your credit card information directly to help you keep track of your outgoing cash flow, or you can even scan receipts and enter your expenses immediately. An invaluable tool so you always can at a quick glance make sure you’re business isn’t overspending.
Every small business owner needs to effectively communicate with his or her team. HipChat makes that possible from anywhere. The app lets you easily coordinate on projects with your employees with real-time instant chat. No more suffering through the agonies of Reply All and endless email chains. You can even assign specific chat rooms to specific projects and share documents. HipChat is especially handy for those of you who employ virtual teams.
If you’ve ever been to a networking event you know how overwhelming a stack of business cards can become. CamCard is a business card reader that lets you scan any business card you receive. It then analyzes the information and automatically enters into the app for you so that you can always have an easily searchable and comprehensive digital rolodex.