Does your small business depend on mobile devices and the apps that are making them a powerful business tool? A recent survey of small business owners indicates that 72 percent use them on smartphones and tablets to run their business and 38 percent say they couldn’t survive – or it would be a major challenge to survive – without apps.

Apps benefit your small business

Apps give you a lot of mileage when it comes to running your business. They are less expensive than computer software packages and they run on mobile devices, which cost less than desktops and laptops. Today’s mobile devices also have superior battery life so you can depend on access to your apps when you need them.

Many apps also run on multiple mobile platforms –  iOS, Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry OS.  Purchase the app once and you can run it on all your devices at a significant cost savings compared to buying software to run on a single computer.

Mobile apps also save you time. In a survey of over 300 small businesses commissioned by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), owners indicate that mobile apps save them an average of 5.6 hours (a median of 4 hours) a week. Mobile apps save their employees an average of 11.3 hours (a median of 5 hours) each week.

iStock_000017463784XSmallChoose among the thousands of app offerings

Talk about an abundance of riches! There are over 500,000 apps in the Apple Store alone. You might be asking where to begin in choosing ones to help run your small business. Here are some suggestions to get started:

  • Time tracking: Whether you need to track billable hours for clients or just want a better idea of how you spend your time each day, time tracking apps can help. By measuring estimates against actual time worked, they also can help improve forecasting and time management. Among time tracking apps are Toggl, Timr and TSheets.
  • Financial Management: Financial management apps can track your spending, automatically create budgets and analyze your spending habits over time to help you decide where you can save. Take a look at Mint, Yodlee and  Quicken.
  • Note taking: Store, organize and share text, photos, videos and voice recording on all of your mobile devices with note taking apps. Evernote and Microsoft OneNote are popular apps that 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, PhoneSwipe and Credit Card Terminal enable you to swipe cards, calculate tax and track sales. They offer simple pricing with a single transaction fee and low or no additional fees.

These are just some of the many examples of useful apps to help run your business. What apps are indispensable to running your small business that you would add to the list?