As a small business owner, you never really stop working, and it's likely your phone keeps you connected when you're not in the office. If you run a business that keeps you in the field, traveling or on location, your phone is your primary office.
Most smartphones and tablets come pre-loaded with the basics: phone, Internet browser, calendar and email, but there are also hundreds of mobile apps designed to help you run your business more efficiently. Here are some can't-live-without free apps that save time, money or headaches while you run your business. Note: While all the apps we're listing are free, many of them offer upgrades, in-app purchases or web-based services that are fee-based. For software and device compatibility, please see individual product websites.
For Payment: Square® Register
This app has revolutionized payment for small business owners. With Square payment and processing, even freelancers and sole proprietors can accept and process credit card payments. A simple interface and rock-solid functionality are icing on the cake.
For Banking: Navy Federal Credit Union
Our free mobile app, featured in the Finance sections of both the App StoreSM and Google Play™, gives you great banking options like bill pay, fund transfers between accounts, mobile check deposit and Touch ID to access your account balance instantly.
For Research, Notes and Organization: Evernote®
What started as a simple note-taking app is now billed as a "workspace" app, which means it offers a single place to write, store, search, gather and communicate. Users love it for its friendly interface and seamless cross-device compatibility.
For Scheduling: Sunrise®
The problem with most calendar apps, including those that are native to your phone's operating system, is they don't always like to play nice with other calendars. Sunrise syncs with your desktop and native apps like Google Calendar™, Microsoft® Exchange and iCloud®, so meetings you schedule and accept are global. It also connects with social media and travel apps, so your events and itineraries carry over. What is really cool is that Sunrise connects with LinkedIn® and Twitter®, so you can get the 411 on the people you're meeting with before meeting face to face.
For Collaboration:Cisco WebEx™ Meetings and Dropbox™
The world is your conference room, for better or worse. Cisco WebEx Meetings allows you to schedule, host, join and cancel meetings from your mobile device with video, voice and document-sharing capabilities. Dropbox is a place to share and send large files and project folders, allowing you to collaborate with your team and clients from anywhere.
For Marketing and Customer Relations:
As a small business owner with limited resources and staff, you must make your customer relations and social media marketing activities work with your schedule. Apps such as Buffer and Hootsuite™ allow you to engage with customers in real time, schedule social posts to promote your business and measure progress and results. Now you can talk to your customers where and when they want to engage with your business in real-time or by creating great content and scheduling its release on your social profiles.
For Everything Else:
It's worthwhile to check with your payroll processing, customer relationship management systems and timekeeping software for apps that integrate with desktop subscriptions or services you already pay for.