As your business grows, it can be difficult to keep yourself and your employees organized, on-task, and productive. That is especially true when a business grows into the cloud and more employees conduct business on a mobile device.
But whether your employees are on-site or remote workers, these affordable tools can help maintain focus and simplify everyday tasks, from expenses to the ubiquitous to-do lists.
David K. Williams lists, in no particular order, his ten top picks for mobile applications you might want to try.
This free iOS application is about as basic as it gets; it’s a to-do list. Williams says the Smart Lists functionality can show or hide tasks and entire lists, and it’s easy to create and add recurring tasks and sub-tasks. You also can delegate tasks to others and receive alerts when the tasks are complete.
Seamless and fast information sharing is the key to increasing productivity and organization. The free Bump app lets you do just that, with contacts, calendars, files, photos, and more, Williams said. There are both Android and iOS versions of the app so you can wirelessly share from one phone to another, regardless of manufacturer.
If you need to share larger files, documents, presentations, video, audio, and more, then YouSendIt might be a great choice for your business. Williams points out that, beyond sending files, you can also store files to shared folders and sign documents. Any changes are securely synced and instantly available to other devices and people. A mobile suite of services is also available for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Android, he said.
Expense tracking is the bane of most business managers’ existence. But with Expensify, the process is vastly simplified, said Williams. This free app is available for virtually every platform and makes it easy to track all kinds of expenses. Best of all, you can simply snap photos of receipts and import those to QuickBooks online, and the app also includes more advanced functionality for categorizing expenses.
5. EZ Balances II
Going above and beyond simple expense tracking? No problem. EZ Balances II is an affordable — $3.99 — easy-to-use app for organizing small business spending. The app can accommodate up to six accounts, whether those are project budgets, business/travel expenses, cash accounts, and debit or credit card accounts, Williams said. The app also allows you to email a report of all transactions, for any account, and also include a CSV file for importing into any spreadsheet program.
With so many workers on the go, texting has become a completely acceptable way to conduct business these days. But creating a paper trail or collaborating with more than one colleague can be tricky. Unless, you have WhatsApp, which allows you to group chat with colleagues, share files, screenshots and notes, Williams said. The app is free for the first year of use.
7. Dragon Dictation
If you’d rather talk than text, you can use the free Dragon Dictation app to easily speak and instantly see your text or e-mail messages, Williams said. This mature voice recognition application for iOS is powered by Dragon NaturallySpeaking and offers the capability to send transcriptions as SMS, email, or pasted into any application using the included clipboard feature.
8. Base CRM and Sales Tracking
This is a must-have for any salesperson. The free app lets you easily track every lead from first contact, and also searches for potential leads using your social networking connections, Williams said. You can save all interactions in one place, automatically organizing related deals, e-mails, calls, tasks, notes and files in a single, universal contact card.
9. Simple In/Out
This is a time clock application dedicated to scheduling. You’ll always be on top of scheduling and employees’ locations, as well as being able to check them in and out of work. The application is free for up to three users and uses GeoFencing to automatically check you in or out of your office or other specified locations, Williams said. You also can leave simple messages about where you are – such as “in a meeting,” “at the warehouse,” or “closing the deal of the century.”
10. Sprout Social
Finally, while keeping track of even a few employees is difficult, keeping up with social networks can be downright impossible, Williams said. Sprout Social is a social media aggregator and publisher that helps you keep tabs on multiple Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. You can also easily manage publishing content with the ability to draft, approve and schedule social media messages, he said. The free mobile app is available with a monthly subscription to the online service.
Of course, these are just a few of the hundreds, if not thousands, of available business networking, productivity, and organization apps available. For another take, check out Scott Gerber’s list, compiled via ten young entrepreneurs.
Sharon Florentine is a freelance writer who covers everything from holistic veterinary care to data center technology and occasionally blogs for cloud provider Rackspace Hosting.