In 2011, there were 835 million users never letting go of their smartphones according to Morgan Stanley Research sourced on Business Insider. A Nielsen 2012 report reveals that a whopping 64% of the time, smart phone users fiddle with mobile apps. Business owners have a good reason for using some apps, though: they have a business to run. Here are 5 free mobile applications that every business owner should give a serious thought to.
Flipboard & Pulse [Cluster]
No entrepreneur can survive without knowledge. For an entrepreneur living in the fast lane, reading could easily be seen as an unnecessary indulgence; it isn’t It’s the most crucial input business owners should have access to.
While books can cover weekends and reports will wedge themselves all in a day’s work, the Internet is a great source for information on the go. Whether you sling an iPad on your arm or stuff an iPhone into your pocket, Flipboard and Pulse are two free applications that can provide you with updates, information, and tons of knowledge delivered daily. Both applications can be customized so that you only see the news that you find important. You may also link your social media accounts to these apps. This will save you time having to log onto several different places to get the information you seek.
If you have a digital life at all (which I am sure you do), Evernote takes “note” of everything.
For business owners specifically, it’s a must have: many entrepreneurs suffer from Ideatis (the nasty habit of drumming up ideas even outside the shower – say while on the move, while waiting, or while doing nothing else?) – you can use Evernote to record every idea. If you blog regularly like I do, my title ideas don’t come when I stare at my laptop screen; they come about when I am not at my desk. You may use Evernote to get those title ideas into a single location.
Possibly, there are a lot more ways to use Evernote. Watch this video on how Red Internet Marketing uses Evernote for business:
I’ll admit two things: First, I love to-do lists but I rarely ever strike off my list 100% in a day. Second, there are way too many web-based time management apps, productivity apps, and to-do apps enough to spin your head for lifetime.
How do you choose? You don’t. Just pick one (a free one preferably) and stick to it.
I picked Any.Do for a huge list of reasons: it’s free, the web-based version syncs with your iPhone Any.Do app (no matter where you add your tasks), it has a Chrome extension which sits with G mail (Google Apps or your personal G mail account), and it allows you to push tasks in an email straight to your Any.Do application.
Did I tell you that Any.Do looks visually appealing, has a simple, clutter-free interface, and the mobile app version makes funny noises when the completed tasks are deleted by shaking your iPhone?
Facebook Pages, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter [Cluster]
If you have a business, you got to be on social media. There are no excuses for not being active on social media whether or not you get direct business from it. To start with, it’s a great way to engage with current and potential customers (or readers if you are using content marketing for your business, which you should). What if you aren’t on the desk all the time? Why let time slip away when waiting in time-sucking meetings or never-ending wait times for clients when you go out to meet them?
Each of the popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ have free apps that you can use to push updates even when you are not at your desk. If you feel that social media drains time (and if you haven’t outsourced this work yet), use the apps to release your updates when you are out and about.
Base CRM from Future Simple
Why use a CRM? I’ll keep it short: spreadsheets are clunky and you’ll miss follow-ups. You can’t possibly track leads and how they convert (or not) using just spreadsheets. CRMs do a lot more than maintaining your database of clients; they allow you to plan your business better.
Salesforce.com and Sugar CRM are great CRM solutions but they cost you money up front. If you aren’t ready for big league CRM, use Base CRM – it’s free for 50 deals (you can get more leads by referring others). It also has some great features such as lead management, lead tracking through the sales process, a widget available through Google Apps for your business G mail account, Integration with many other great web-apps (including Xero, Mailchimp, etc.)