Miles Hall is a blogger who focuses largely on the world of small business. He contributes to the site businessbroker.net, for which he writes about small businesses for sale.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed when they are flexible and have the right tools for the job. The iPhone, when paired with the right apps, can keep your business running and boost your efficiency while staying mobile. There is a plethora of available apps, but I think these are ones anyone with a small business can use.
In this article we have collected some of the best and most useful iPhone applications which all small businessTop owners must have.
This handy app is great if you work from multiple sources, or if you share a lot of files with clients or employees. Signing up for Dropbox allows you to install the software on any of your PC’s, Macs, or iPhone. Dropbox is incredibly easy to use and there is virtually no setup besides the installation. Once installed, you just save whatever files you want into Dropbox.
The app automatically updates the files onto all of your devices and you can then access the file. Dropbox also saves the files on its website where you can log on anytime and retrieve them. You can share Dropbox folders across accounts and any changes made to files are updated for everyone, this greatly simplifies group projects. This is a free app and if you only get one app on this list I would make it this one. It works in conjunction with many other apps not included in this list and you’ll end up using it every day.
If you field multiple clients in a day, keeping track of how much time you are delegating to each one can be a hassle. Billings Touch offers a user friendly way to time how long you spend on each client, and then you can send an invoice directly from the app. The app allows you to create projects for each client, and those projects can be broken down into slips.
The slips keep track of your hourly rate and other items which will be shown in the invoice to your client. Billings Touch is free to use and consider getting Billings Pro Touch which allows you to connect to the server from any device.
As the name suggests, this turns your iPhone into a portable scanner. Its ability to scan anything from documents to whiteboards comes in incredibly handy when you’re on the go. Scanner Pro creates a PDF document and automatically syncs with Dropbox or Evernote (a handy note taking app). This combination opens up a lot of possibilities for small business owners.
A designer could scan an image and upload it to a shared Dropbox so the client can see how the project is coming along in real time. Scanner Pro is currently $6.99 on the App Store.
Documents To Go—Office Suite
The included iPhone software only lets you do so much with your Microsoft Office documents. Documents To Go lets you not only view documents, but create and edit them as well. With it you can create and manipulate Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and view PDF files. This app also syncs with Dropbox, allowing you to be truly mobile even with your office documents.
You can also download a Windows or Mac application that will sync folders manipulated on the iPhone. Office Suite currently costs $9.99 on the App Store.
This app/attachment allows you to process credit cards through your phone. Talk about mobility. The app, setup, and card reader are all free and you can either pay per month or set up to pay only on transactions. There are multiple monthly pay options depending on your volume which help lower the processing fees. A dedicated customer support line is also available. GoPayment allows better payment options than Square, and I think it looks more professional as well.
You might be shaking your head at this suggestion, but your business should have its own social networking presence. With the free apps from Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites of your choice you can field questions, update project statuses, and continue to network with potential customers on the go. Just be sure you’re not billing time with Billings Touch while you network your own business.
NTR Cloud Lite
While you can do a lot with Dropbox, ScannerPro, and Office Suite you are still limited without a computer. NTR Cloud Lite solves this problem by acting as a remote access to any computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux). The software runs in the background on the computer and connects when you turn on the app. On the iPhone, you see your computer screen and can access anything by scrolling with the touchscreen.
Your computer responds in real time but it is still a bit clunky to navigate and will not replace a computer, but is great if you forgot to upload a file to Dropbox. As it is the limited version the app is free, you can pay for the premium version if you want to access multiple computers and partake in NTR’s cloud storage.
Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker and Reader
If you’re making a lot of purchases for your business (or even personal) and need to track receipts this app is immensely useful. Simply take a picture of your receipt and the app processes the data and stores it in an easy to navigate page. You can access old receipts at any time and the original picture is saved. Warranties, expense reports, checkbook balancing, and more become much more streamlined with this free app.
There are over 600,000 apps in the App Store with more coming out every day. While there are many terrible apps, there are thousands of great ones that can turn your iPhone into an incredibly handy device. No matter what your business is, you’ll be able to find apps that will produce your productivity when you’re on the go.
Written by Miles Hall. Edited by Aritra Roy.