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Mobile Productivity

10 Essential Mobile Apps for Small Businesses on the Go

Business trips can be fraught with angst. It’s so easy to leave home without that crucial document, folder, or thumb drive. Or forget the one password you need right before you’re ready to give a killer presentation. How many endless hours have you wasted searching for random receipts to satisfy your accountant? Luckily, all that stress can be taken away. We have compiled the 10 most popular mobile apps for small business to take the worry out of your traveling.

Try them out and boost your productivity at the same time! It’s a win-win

1. Problem: Your brain is overflowing with to-do lists, mental notes to yourself, and interesting articles you meant to send to clients…if you could only find the link again.

Solution: Think of  Evernote as a digital file cabinet where you can store everything from written notes, documents, images and videos to Web pages, emails, tweets and voice recordings. While there is somewhat of a learning curve, Evernote’s ability to sync across all your devices and platforms, retrieve everything you store using search and/or tags, and share all of it with others when needed makes it the do-it-all, store-it-all, remember-it-all app.

2. Problem: Your upcoming business trip has generated so many confirmation emails from airlines, hotels, and car rental companies you can’t keep it all straight.

Solution TripIt. Just forward all those emails to the free TripIt app and it automatically generates an itinerary that includes all the details, can be accessed anywhere and is easy to share with others. Not having to hunt through tons of emails or access numerous individual apps (for hotels and flights) can be a massive time-saver.

3. Problem: Your coat pockets, wallet, and briefcase are stuffed with random receipts from your trip and you have no idea what they’re for. Try as you might to label every receipt, it just doesn’t happen sometimes.

Solution: Expensify, a free mobile app for small business that makes tracking expenses as easy as scanning receipts with your cell phone. The app also imports credit card transactions automatically; tracks mileage, time and other billable expenses; and lets you charge everything to specific clients or projects.

4. Problem: You’re speaking at a conference and hoping to sell copies of your book/software/training program. Customers are lined up to buy, but most of them don’t have cash.

Solution: No cash, no problem. If you’ve got the free  Square app and card reader, accepting credit card payments is as simple as swiping the card using your smartphone or tablet. One of the best features of Square is there’s no commitment or monthly fee (you just pay Square a flat 2.75 percent per transaction). That means it can work for your business whether you need to accept mobile payments daily or once a year.

5. Problem: All you need to do to start the presentation you flew 3,000 miles to give is log in to your account and … uh-oh, you forgot your password. To reset it, all you need to do is fill in a form, click a link, wait for an email … and wait … and wait. You’re slowly sweating through your shirt as a roomful of people impatiently tap their fingers.

Solution: LastPass. This free mobile app for small business tracks and secures your usernames and passwords, then auto-fills them when you go to a site login. Best of all, it syncs with all your data so that even if you changed your password on your desktop last week, your tablet will know the new password today.

6. Problem: You want a secure way to backup, store, access and share all your documents and data without having to laboriously upload files or folders every time you update them (yes, I’m talking to you, Google Drive).

Solution: Install Dropbox on your desktop, laptop and mobile devices once, then forget about it (except when you’re thanking it for saving your butt.) The app automatically syncs your data on all the devices where it’s installed, so you and your team always have access to the latest version of what you’re working on Get 2GB of storage free, or upgrade to Dropbox for Business, which offers 1,000GB of storage, the ability to administer users and accounts, reports that show who’s sharing what, and more for $15/user/month.

7. Problem: Managing your business’ social media accounts is tough enough when you’re at home. When you’re driving, flying or in meetings 18 hours a day, it’s nearly impossible.

Solution: The freemium HootSuite mobile app makes it easy to monitor all your social accounts in one place using your smartphone or tablet—as well as schedule social media status updates days (or weeks) in advance.

8. Problem: You frequently need to review and edit Microsoft Office Excel, Word or PowerPoint files on an iOS device like your iPhone or iPad—but there’s no Microsoft Office app for iOS (although there are plenty of rumors about one).

Solution: The $9.99 Documents to Go app is the most fully featured option out there for viewing, editing, storing and sharing files with PC users. It’s a mobile app for small business that’s a must if you run a document-heavy business. It’s not ideal for intensive editing, but if you just need to do light edits and want to tote a lightweight tablet instead of a clunky PC, this is your best bet. It also enables you to sync with major cloud-based services like Google Drive and Dropbox.

9. Problem: Your sales call went so well the prospect wants to do a conference call with your team back home…in 20 minutes.

Solution: Pull up join.me. Quickly download the free join.me app and you’re ready to host a conference call with up to 10 people. You can also share screens, transfer files and use chat during the call. The appeal of join.me is its simplicity—you send participants a code which they enter to join the call. They don’t need to download anything or register for an account.

10. Problem: You’re on a long business trip and need to stay on top of your business finances on the road.

SolutionQuickBooks Mobile is free for QuickBooks users, and one of the most necessary mobile apps for small business. It doesn’t have all of the features of QuickBooks, but with the ability to view and edit customer information; manage outstanding customer balances; and create, edit and email invoices, estimates and receipts from your mobile device, you’ll be able to ensure your cash is flowing no matter where you are.

If you’ve found yourself flustered while working on the go, you’re not alone. It’s never as simple and as hassle-free as working from your own office. But try these mobile apps for small business out and you’re bound to see the improvement!

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Contributor at Fundera
Rieva Lesonsky is a small business contributor for Fundera and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company. She has spent 30+ years covering, consulting and speaking to small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.
Rieva Lesonsky