Top 10 apps for small business

Apps are making sophisticated technology available to small businesses for little or no cost. Darnelle O’Brien, Director of The K.I.S.S Marketing Agency, discusses their benefits and shares her top 10 suggestions for places to start.

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Apps are become increasingly powerful and widespread – and they’re changing the way small business owners operate.

“Apps make it easy to do business in and out of the office using just a smartphone or tablet,” says Darnelle O’Brien, Director of The K.I.S.S Marketing Agency. “Not long ago, only the largest companies could afford technology this sophisticated. Now it’s available to everyone for little or no cost.”

There are apps to help with everything from accounts, marketing and business development to storing and filing information.

“There are so many apps available that can perform so many different functions that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by choice,” O’Brien continues. “I recommend finding one or two that interest you then waiting until you’re totally familiar with those before gradually adding a few more.”

 Getting started

O’Brien has compiled a list of 10 apps that are popular with business owners as a good place to start. They’re all available in the App Store for iOS or in the Google Play store for Android devices.

1. Xero

Reconcile accounts, send invoices, add receipts and create expense claims while you’re on the move.

2. 1Password

Use a different random password for every site you visit without having to remember any of them. All of your information is encrypted for security. 

3. Harvest Time Tracking

Keep track of the hours everyone in the business spends on a specific task or working for a particular client with this fast and simple alternative to traditional timesheets.

4. Evernote

Make notes and collect and store everything from written or typed text to photographs, videos and voice recordings

5. Any.do

Keep your to-do list up to date, easy to find and synchronised with other lists on your system.

6. CamCard

Take a photograph of a business card and CamCard’s text-recognition software will pull out key details and update your contact list automatically.

7. IFTTT – ‘If This Then That’

Set up automatic responses to your choice of triggers or rules – for example, you might want to receive an alert when your company name, or the name of a competitor, is mentioned in the media.

8. Dropbox

Carry all of your files and documents on your smartphone or tablet.

9. Pocket

Save online content to Pocket and it will be both visible and easy to locate on all of your devices.

10. Tiny Scan

Turn your smartphone into a mini scanner for documents, photos, receipts and other texts.

Keeping up to date

New apps are continually being developed and there are easy ways to make sure you stay up-to-date.

“It’s easy to search for new apps for iOS and Android devices under headings such as business,” says O’Brien. “There are a couple of useful websites – AppAdvice, which lets you search by topic, and App Shopper, which alerts you when an app is released that fits the criteria you’ve entered on the Wish List. You can also create an alert on IFTTT.”

Apps cost so little that it makes sense to try out anything that looks interesting, but it’s important to delete any that aren’t helpful.

“If you end up with dozens of apps you don’t use you’re defeating their purpose,” says O’Brien. “Apps should simplify your life, not make it more complicated.”

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