Desiring to be “always on” and connected, today’s workers are employing a range of devices to get work done. (See: “Are small business employees using multiple devices for work? Tips to protect data.”) However, thanks to an abundance of mobile apps and cloud computing, it’s very possible to run a small business strictly using a smartphone or a tablet. While that might enable you to run an office virtually from anywhere; you may not want to tear up your lease or ditch your desk at a co-working space just yet. There may be times when you want to assemble your team for a face-to-face meeting or customer needs might require an all-day conference hosted by your small business.
Access the cloud from a smartphone
With company data stored in the cloud, you conveniently can check on an order, edit a document, look up employee information, review a vendor contract and more right from your smartphone or tablet. Besides data, there is a host of applications that run on remote cloud servers from email to customer relationship management (CRM) software. Simply log into a web-based service to access all the applications and data you need.
Select from range of mobile apps
If anything, the biggest challenge when it comes to mobile apps to run your small business may be which ones to choose, whether cloud or web based. Here are some of the top categories, you’ll want to consider:
Time tracking: Time tracking apps can help whether you need to track billable hours for customers or just want a better idea of how you spend your time each day. They also can help improve forecasting and time management by measuring estimates against actual time worked. Among time tracking apps are Toggl and TSheets.
Financial Management: Financial management apps can track your spending, automatically create budgets and analyze spending habits over time to help you decide where you can save. Mint and Quicken are two to consider.
Note taking: Store, organize and share text, photos, videos and voice recordings on your smartphone or tablet with note taking apps. Evernote and Microsoft OneNote, two popular apps, sync all your notes through the cloud so you can access them anywhere, anytime.
Credit card transactions: Whether you are a five-person coffee shop or a 100-person office, a number of mobile apps enable you to easily accept credit cards. Square and Paypal Here are smartphone card readers.
Conferencing and collaboration on the go
Running your business also involves conferencing and collaborating with your team and customers, often on the go. There is a range of apps to use with a smartphone or tablet – and the aid of a headset for audio clarity – for calls, messaging and more.
Conferencing: Online meeting and video conferencing apps like Cisco Webex, Avaya Scopia and Microsoft Skype for Business make it easy to conference with employees and customers wherever you are.
Collaboration: New mobile-centric collaboration apps like Cisco Spark and Slack enable group messaging, content sharing, video calling, and desktop sharing.
With so many available apps providing a range of functionality, your small business truly can be in the palm of your hand.