There’s no doubt that the mobile phone is slowly surpassing desktop computers in usage. Will there ever be a day when it will totally replace computers? We’re not sure but what we do know is that any kind of app you need to run your business is probably available for you at your fingertips. We decided to ask today’s entrepreneurs what apps they must have and why in 2013. Hopefully this list helps you discover a new app you never heard of before and increase your productivity.
Who: Sarah Hudson of Little Idea
Why: As a small business, we regularly use apps to make our lives easier! The first app we can’t live without is Waze, which is a social GPS that allows drivers to share real-time traffic and road info so others can get to their destination as quickly as possible; we’re out of the office a lot to meet clients and we wouldn’t be able to make it to our meetings without it! Another app we love is Nemo, which can help you learn foreign languages; it’s helpful for us because we regularly need to communicate with developers and manufacturers from overseas.
Who: Dan Nainan
Why: By far the most useful app I’ve ever used is Glympse! If you’re going to meet somebody (or on the way to a show in the client is worried about where you are), you send them a Glympse, and they can immediately track where you are and how fast you are moving. (There is no privacy issue, because you control how long they can see your movements up to four hours). That way, they’re not going to keep calling you and asking “Where are you?” I also love TripIt, which summarizes your itineraries for you – whenever you get an air, car or hotel reservation by email, you forward it to TripIt, and it automatically puts everything into a very clear, concise itinerary. PlaceMe is incredible – this tracks everywhere I go, and how long I stayed there. Of course people feel that it’s a creepy app because they’re worried about the privacy implications, but it’s not sharing any info with anyone – just myself. So I can know exactly where I was on any given day at any given time. It’s fantastic.
Who: Dianne Hamilton of Binary Formation
Must Have App: 1Password
Why: We used two apps in a regular basis that are essential to our business. We are a husband/wife app dev company working out of our home. The first app is 1Password. I can’t tell you how many times in a day I rely on this. We have so many accounts to run the business and to keep track of them manually is a nightmare (website, blog, bank accounts, insurance,utility accounts, on and on…..!). 1Pasword ((Mac App Store) has been a huge time saver. And yes, the second app is one of ours. It also is a time saver and could save a ton of money and is essential for any homeowners, renters, and entrepreneurs alike. . Home Inventory is a very popular Mac app (Mac App Store). We use it to catalog all of our personal as well as business and computer equipment. Both of these Apps have been featured by Apple in the Mac App Store front page and other features.
Who: Greg Miliates of Start My Consulting Business
Why: I use a ton of apps on my Android phone, but my faves for running my business are: CamScanner, Lets me scan documents from my phone instead of using a bulky desktop scanner. EchoSign, Let’s me e-sign documents without having to print+scan+sign+scan+e-mail. Dwolla, Let’s me accept payments for 25 cents per payment – FAR less expensive than traditional credit card processors. Dwolla uses ACH payment processing, which is essentially bank-to-bank transfer of funds. Square, Let’s me accept credit card payments from my phone. Canned responses, This add-in let’s me automate e-mail responses for common e-mail questions. Filters + canned responses, Using both filters + canned responses, I can automate screening for prospective intern/employee candidates. Evernote, It let’s me dump my brain into the cloud. Great for collecting & organizing ideas, etc. White Noise apps, that let me concentrate & focus when there’s lots of background noise where I’m working and Dropbox, obviously. HabitForge and Stickk, Not mobile apps, but they help me create new habits and ensure accountability.
Who: Syed Balkhi from WPBeginner.com
Must Have App: Shoeboxed
Why: My favorite app is Shoeboxed. It allows me to keep track of all of my receipts and business cards in one place. Eliminating paper clutter is a gift for tech entrepreneur like myself.
Who: Will of AppMyWorld
Must Have App: Flipboard
Why: My suggestion is Flipboard because as the founder of a tech website, I find it very useful for staying up to date on the tech and business world.
Who:James Yoder of Chat Sports
Why: I wanted to share my daily apps in my life as a start up entrepreneur. Dropbox enables me to access important documents in office, home, or from iPhone or tablet. Twitter – We are in the media business and must stay on top of viral/popular sports stories. Google calender web app. I would be lost if not for Google calendar. It syncs to my iPhone, tablet and Outlook. I never miss or forget about a meeting thanks to this service and Spotify, there’s nothing better to do when trying to focus for long periods of time than to put on a favorite playlist and hone in on my most important to-do’s.
Who: David Gosse of Tracky
Why: I use Flipboard to quickly scan through all of the people he follows on social networks to find the latest trending news. Tweet deck, I can easily connect, follow and track conversations that are extremely relevant to me and the community I care so much about. Skype — Always on the go, I love the ability to use Skype from almost anywhere. I typically runs our team meetings via Skype as well as important client and potential investor meetings. It’s an essential tool in my entrepreneurial arsenal.
Who: Priscilla Vento of 30MilesNorth
Must Have App: FreeConference
Why: First one is FreeConference. This app allows you to schedule, invite and send out conference call info for free. You are also able to post the call info and number to social media for webinars, etc.
Who: Dana Marlowe of Accessibility Partners
Must Have App: Splashtop
Why: I spend a lot of my time traveling to clients’ offices and government agencies to help make their technology accessible to employees with disabilities. Since this translates to a good portion of my work week away from the office, I downloaded Splashtop Streamer on my office PC (for free) and then I purchased the Splashtop Remote Desktop application for my iPad. Now, work is something I do, not somewhere I go, because Splashtop gives me that remote access to the documents and information I need. It’s not an expensive app, and anyone with a tablet can benefit from its instantaneous access to desktop materials. It’s very intuitive, and I have to encounter any glitches.
Who: Annie Scranton of Pace Public Relations
Must Have App: PULSE
Why: I could not live with the app PULSE. It helps me to easily see the biggest news stories of the day – even before I get out of bed sometimes! Without the easy and visual way to get my news – I wouldn’t be able to as quickly find news stories that relate to my clients, and then pitch them out. It’s a live saver on time!
Who: Abhinav Gupta of Game Scorpion
Why: I have two products that may be of interest to you, Clock Station Pro – Turns your iPad/iPad Mini into a full bedside clock and sleep therapy solution. People can fall asleep to beautiful ocean waves or the pitter patter of rain drops! It also features a Nap Timer for those who are just looking to take a 15 min snooze! Intimate Fireplace – A full 3D Fireplace for your iPad! Over 10+ Fireplaces to choose from and will make this holiday season feel extra special. This is great for those who have an office space and are looking to liven it up with a fireplace without all the mess and danger of the real thing for this year’s holiday Christmas Party.
Who: Denise W. Barreto of Relationships Matter Now
Why: Both these apps enable me to do business from anywhere. Square Register – imagine running into someone who wants to buy one of my products and being able to just pull out my phone and make it happen – right there in the public library of our town or Dwolla – being able to invoice a client once they’ve approved a project while sitting at the music studio with my kid at his guitar lesson or being able to pay my designer for the design work he finished for me last week and invoiced me today. All from my iPhone. No joke. Love both of them and could not live without either.
Who: Johann Beishline of Lezal Marketing
Must Have App: Glympse
Why: Glympse is my favorite business app. It allows you to share your location with the people you’re meeting with so that they have an accurate idea of when you will arrive!
Who: Crystal L Kendrick of The Voice of Your Customer
Must Have App: Pic Stitch
Why: Most entrepreneurs use social media to market their businesses. There is quite a bit of research to indicate that images and tags create far more engagement on social media than links, notes and text. For this reason, we use collages to tell a story in a single frame that includes images and tags of many friends. These posts are very visible throughout social media and the app allows the images to be easily altered to create a variety of images that can be uploaded to multiple social media sites. Doing so allows the entrepreneur to continue the story without using the exact same images and text.
Who: Briana Miriani of The Merci
Must Have App: CLEAR
Why: My must have app is a super simple list app called CLEAR. I can make and change categories, delete items completely or cross through them (change color scheme)… The simplicity is what’s so great. When I need to write something down I don’t have to go through a million steps or look through multiple pages to get to what I want/need, it’s intuitive to use and just kind of the workhorse of list apps (I know, I’ve been through a lot of them).
Who:Darlene Tenes of CasaQ.com
Must Have App: Google apps for business
Why: I can’t live without Google apps for business. Having all my emails, documents, and contacts accessible to me anywhere I go on any computer is priceless and it only costs $5 per month with includes live customer support. I also have been with Constant Contact email service which is a cost-effective way for me to communicate with my retail and wholesale clients with pizazz and great results!
Who:Matt Beaubien of Octane Nation
Why: Backblaze – provides continuous backup to the cloud in case my computer and backup drive are stolen/damaged. VirtualBox – useful for testing website in IE if you have a Mac Mail.app (OS X) using Gmail. Whatsapp – saves money on sending SMS Podcast app.
Who: Kendra Von Achen of DB Pros
Why: There are a couple that I use daily that I don’t know what I’d do without as an entrepreneur. Toodledo, my task management tool for everything in my life! Zoho CRM – for my CRM application, opportunity tracking, overall contact management, etc.
Who:Robert Hacala of Better Business Brand
Must Have App: Evernote
Why: I could not live without Evernote. I can use it from any device. It’s perfect for writing articles, keeping lists, and quickly saving things like links, images, and even whole web pages.
Who: Jim of AEGIS FinServ Corp.
Must Have App: Hours Tracker
Why: My must have and highly recommended application an Entrepreneur must have have is “Hours Tracker”. The associates and myself included within my company operate on an hourly basis with our clients. Tracking billable hours and monitoring time spent daily is important in many ways.
Who: Chike Uzoka of Valentine Global
Must Have App: My Fitness Pal
Why: As an entrepreneur who is always running around, an app that I use multiple times a day is My Fitness Pal, which I have from the Android market. The reason this app is so helpful to me personally, is I don’t always eat right or healthy, this app helps keep me accountable to making sure I’m not eating once a day or putting too much bad food in my body. This app also has a function to keep track of exercise and running routes and calories burned. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 mindset, keeping mentally and physically fit is vital.
Who: Jeet Banerjee
Must Have App: Songza
Why: The application that I cannot live with is – Songza. On the surface, it’s not an application that helps with my business but it makes me far more productive. Being able to listen to songs on the go that fit my mood (without me having to search for it) is a HUGE bonus!
Who: David Gorcey of Nerdy With Children
Must Have App: Asana
Why: I really love a productivity app named Asana. It is very easy to use, and allows the easy creation of projects and tasks which can be assigned to other members of my team. You can use it for personal tasks as well, and it is easy to separate the two so that your personal projects stay private while managing them from the same interface as your work projects. We even have our editorial/ content team using it to manage content scheduling. It’s also accessible via the web, but the only downside is that for now they only have an iOS app (which I use), no android app yet.
Who: Karol Gajda
Must Have App: Boomerang for Gmail
Why: Boomerang For Gmail – it keeps my inbox clear at all times because it allows me to remove an email I don’t want to deal with immediately from my inbox, but schedule it to return at some point in the future (hours, days, weeks). I also use it to schedule sending e-mails at specific times. I use it every single day and pay for the pro version.
Who: Steve Young of SmartShoot
Must Have App: Rapportive
Why: Rapportive shows me the everything about my contacts right inside my Gmail. From social networking profiles to where they’re located to what they do, Rapportive allows me to build rapport and better engage with my contacts.
Who: Chris Corradino of Chris Corradino Photography
Must Have App: Awesome Note
Why: “Awesome Note” has been the perfect solution for my photography mentoring business. I write a great deal of educational content for my students. This multipurpose app allows me to create custom folders and arrange different notebooks, journals, to-do lists, and calendars. Not just for writing, it’s also ideal for keeping track of receipts while traveling for business. I use the iPad camera to take a photo of the receipt, and attach it to the appropriate file. The entire layout is well designed with many options and several types of paper types, including my favorite, parchment. Little details like this make a blank page less daunting.
Who: Glyn of Caddell Prep
Must Have App: Errands To Do List
Why: Every morning and throughout the course of the day, I use Errands To-Do List. This app keeps a running to-do list for me. As an entrepreneur, I have too many things to do and to keep track of mentally. The app lets me prioritize my things to do, include notes, and add reminders. I do a lot of the tutoring and teaching myself, so I need to keep track of business related tasks, such as updating schedules on the website or printing out study material, while also working with customers.
Who: Kendra of Geek Powered Studios
Why: Two people on our team had insight on two different apps that we use that really help us keep it together. MESSAGE TO ME APP, If you’re a budding entrepreneur constantly on the go and multitasking, ideas and to-do’s are always bouncing around in your head. If you use email heavily (as most entrepreneurs do) ‘MessageToMe’ can be a savior. In two taps you can have an email pre-address to yourself opened, type your reminder, and sent straight to your inbox. CLEAR APP, for me to finally feel productive. The interface is incredibly intuitive allowing you to quickly swipe to mark off items, and easily add them back later,if they are a re occuring task. My favorite part of the app is the plethora of inspirational quotes that appear when you are creating a new to do list or when you complete a list.
Who: Kristen of Cubit
Must Have App: ScannerPro
Why: My favorite app for my business is ScannerPro: let’s me take a photo of a receipt or document and turn it into a PDF. I can then save the PDF directly into Dropbox as well as email the document to a contact. I can’t tell you how much time this saves when I’m filing expense reports. Also, I love that I know longer need have a desktop scanner on my desk -which helps me keep a minimalist home office.
Who: Shelley Webb of The Web Social Media
Must Have App: Apps Gone Free
Why: I LOVE apps. They allow me to run my business while on-the-go! So the one app that I cannot live without is “Apps Gone Free”. From time to time, app developers offer their app(s) for free in order to build their fan base. But it’s difficult to keep up with which ones are free because they are usually only offered for a very limited time. “Apps Gone Free” gives me a daily listing of which iOS apps have “gone free” on a particular day. They feature apps that have at least a 3 star out of 5 rating on iTunes, are not offered for “free” over and over again and also do not feature side advertising. By using this app, I have saved tons of money and found some great apps that I wouldn’t even know existed!
Who: Avraham Cohn of Digital Development Consulting
Must Have App: EventBrite
Why: The EventBrite mobile app has been an indispensable tool for me in pursuit of this goal. Providing a never ending resource list of relevant events and meet-ups, I use this app to locate key networking opportunities in real time. Furthermore, with it’s massive list of varied events, it allows the entrepreneur the ability to really think outside the box and consider attending events that would otherwise not even be on his/her radar. I highly endorse this app and recommend it to all entrepreneurs eager to expand their networks and make real connections.
Who: Jon Katz of Katz Moving
Must Have App: PDF Expert
Why: The one app I cannot live without is PDF expert. I use it for filling out agreements, getting necessary client signatures, and compiling detailed inventory lists, all at the time of the walk through estimate on my IPad. I can then immediately email the signed & completed agreement to my client. You can make annotations, add standard or custom stamps (i.e. “sign here”), and many other features. Best thing about it is it saves a lot of money on paper & carbon sheets, customers love the ease of use and efficiency, and as a start up it meant no need for operating software. And you can link it to your drop box account for instant backup and to retrieve other PDFs.
Who: Andrew Schrage of Money Crashers
Must Have App: Concur
Why: While I certainly take full advantage of some common mobile apps for small business owners, the one app that I can’t live without is Concur. I travel a lot for business purposes, and Concur streamlines the entire travel experience. I can use it for all my booking needs, including hotels, airline tickets, and more. I can also track my business expenses in real time. I can scan receipts into my mobile device, or enter information manually. At the end of each trip, Concur collates all of my expense information into a completed expense report. The app itself is free, but you need to have a paid desktop Concur account in order to use it. This account costs $8 per person, per month.
Who: Secret Entourage
Must Have App: PDANet / FoxFi
Why: The ONLY app I use personally everyday, FoxFi allows me to turn my mobile phone into a mobile hotspot. With 4G speeds, I can take my office on the go and get work done remotely at any location. It costs a marginal fee now but it’s well worth it. Of course make sure you have the proper data plans to support it.
Curious what it takes to build a successful app? Read our other post on “How to Build an App” where 17 developers share their stories.