With so many low cost or free tools available, small businesses have a competitive advantage that I have never seen before.
A large puzzle piece of this advantage comes from the adoption of mobile technologies. Mobile enables a small business owner to work when and where they want.
Today, when small business owners are asked about mobile and their business, 96% of them say they rely on mobile technology to run their business, and 75% of them say it gives them a significant competitive advantage.
As this rapid adoption has occurred, I’ve witnessed a massive growth of apps aimed at the small business marketplace. Some of these really can save you time and money, and keep you productive even when you’re on the go.
Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing a collection of top apps that either I love or small business owners I’ve spoken with I say they cannot live without.
Let’s start with ones that keep you more organized.
An app for remembering great ideas
Does anyone else find the amount of information that comes at you via social media, blogs, and real-life interactions overwhelming?
There are so many good nuggets of information that you want to remember and have at your finger tips for when you need them.
One app that I use on a daily basis to keep them all straight is called Evernote. This tool lets me take anything I want and label it, assign keywords, and create my own notebook structure to keep it all in order.
What do I store? Photos of great chocolate I find while traveling, helpful ideas from blog or social media posts I have read, and even audio recordings that can lead me back to a great place to park. (This last one is very important here in the Boston area.)
I can get at any of this information at any time on any device that I happen to have with me — my phone, my work computer, or the tablet I have in the kitchen. When a good idea hits, it’s easy for me to capture and find it later when I need it.
And oh, yes, one of my favorite features about this app is that it’s free.
An app for documenting meetings
Lots of my time is spent in meetings with smart people, and we’re always taking notes on whiteboards.
I love teaming up and coming up with great ideas, but hate the process of trying to document everything that was written.
One app that makes this task easier is called Whiteboard Capture. What has Whiteboard Capture has done for me? I take pictures of what’s on the board, edit the picture to just capture what’s important, and then organize it by projects and dates.
This app has saved me lots of time and makes these ideas easy to access and use. Best of all, it’s also free.
An app that helps your team work together
Like some of you, I don’t work on my own. I collaborate and share tasks with other people. We help each other out by reviewing and building presentations, videos, podcasts, etc.
The app that’s become part of our daily lives is called Dropbox. This one enables us to take any file we’re working on from any device, save it to Dropbox, and then open it any place we can get access to the web. This means a phone, at work, at home, or even waiting in line for coffee.
Dropbox provides access to your files where and when you need them. Because it takes more than just one person to make the magic happen, with Dropbox, you can let anyone else have access to the same files just by inviting them to share the folder with you. It’s like a server you have in a bigger office, but it’s not limited to one internal network.
Now, my partners and teammates can review, edit, and add their own files to one place from any of their devices. This saves us all from having to email around different versions of documents and making the mistake of reviewing or changing a version that is not the latest edition.
Once again, this is a free tool that makes a huge impact in getting stuff done.
Apps for managing time and money
Next week, I’ll discuss apps that help you manage your time and your money. See you then!
What are your favorite apps for organizing your thoughts and keeping your team on the same page? Share your suggestions in the comments field below.