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Eight helpful apps for small business owners

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As someone who runs a marketing and communications business, the explosion of mobile and tablet devices means that I can do a lot of work on the go through applications (apps). We’ve been accustomed to sending and receiving emails through phones and more recently tablets, but there’s a huge range of apps out there intended to make it easier to manage and run your business from a handheld device. For many people, tablets have become their primary and favourite computer, and I’m no different.

Personally, I love the freedom that some apps give me. I can make and edit movies, take photos, design websites and create music – all on the go. And that’s not counting preparing invoices, checking the accounts and keeping track of how much time I’m spending on projects. There’s not much I can’t do through apps. You’d be surprised how much you can do to keep your business running smoothly. In fact, for many entrepreneurs, you can find everything you need to run your business on your mobile device.

I’ve listed my top business app below and why I think they’re great. I’d love to know if you agree, disagree, or have other suggestions.

  1. Evernote(iOS) (Android)
    One of a handful of apps I wish I’d come up with the idea for. I use Evernote all the time for notes, lists, web clips and capturing ideas. Ok, so I still carry a notebook and pen around with me pretty much all the time – but there are times when it’s easier to add something in Evernote, which I have across my phone, tablet and computer. And it syncs brilliantly across all platforms. A note in Evernote can contain text, photos, PDFs, spreadsheets, Word/Excel/Powerpoint/PDF documents, sound files and more – all at the same time. If I’m on my computer I can just drag and drop content into a note. A must have for anyone running their own business.
  2. Shazam(iOS) (Android
    One of the other apps that I wish I’d come up with! As a business that produces a range of corporate and commercial videos, I’m always on the lookout (or should that be listen out?) for new and interesting music to use with the content we produce. Shazam is the best app out there for discovering and identifying music.
  3. CloudMagic(iOS) (Android)
    One of the best, if not the best, email client available. Supports up to five accounts (and works with the usual Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, Office, IMAP accounts). It’s got a lovely layout allowing you to quickly see individual inboxes, as well as a combined “everything” inbox. The app colour codes your accounts, making it easy to see which inbox a message has come from. The business part of the app allows you to integrate with Evernote, OneNote, MailChimp and more.
  4. PowerCam(iOS) (Android)I take a lot of photos and videos for clients, often using professional equipment. But there are times when we prefer to use a phone or tablet. There’s a raw quality to mobile videos and it’s so easy to take a quick snap or video and upload to the relevant channel. PowerCam is a superior app to the native camera/video app on my phone combining a lot of features and functionality that simple video apps don’t have – it gives me greater control over the composition and mood of my videos, and allows me to add real-time effects to my photos and videos.
  5. Hootsuite(iOS) (Android)
    Not a new app by any stretch, but still the best one out there for managing multiple social media accounts. A recent update has, in my opinion, ruined what used to be a very good user experience – but if you have multiple accounts across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare and others then you can’t go wrong with Hootsuite. Write a post, let the app know which channels you want to post to and hit send!
  6. 2Do(iOS) (Android
    There are hundreds of to do lists on all the app stores. I’ve tried a few (some free – which tend to have very limited functionality) and some paid ones (which tend to over-complicate making a to do list and often aren’t actually better than free apps). I’ve finally settled on 2Do. The user interface may look dated (well, it is), but according to the developers there’s an overhaul in the pipeline and from their screenshots it looks awesome. 2Do lets you set up alerts, tag items, set due dates and a whole lot more. If, however, you want a very simple and uncluttered list-making app then check out Clear.
  7. Percentage Calculator (iOS) (Android)
    Brilliantly allows you calculate the percentage of “something” in a range of situations. Plug in the figures and use the pre-sets to determine the answer. For example, ‘increased by %’, ‘% changed’, ‘after X% is deducted’, and more…
  8. Pinnacle Studio(iOS)
    While iMovie is great (if you’re editing videos on an iPad), Pinnacle Studio helps take video editing to the next level. Gives you greater control of video editing and has more power as an editor than iMovie, enabling complex transitions and more dynamic effects. It takes longer to render out than iMovie, so if you’re after a super fast editor, this isn’t for you.

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