Smartphone Apps: Best Ones for your Small Business

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Running a small business can be time consuming and costly. Apps can save you time and money by allowing you to manage your business anytime and from anywhere, all from the convenience of your smartphone. Many of those listed below are free, others offer a limited, free trial period and discounted pricing for single users.

Meetings. Schedule and attend one-on-one, small and large group-video-conference meetings with customers on your smartphone with the Skype, Google Hangouts, OoVoo and Fuze apps.

Payments. Accept credit card payments with well-known apps, such as Square and Paypal Here, that provide portable credit card readers that attach to your smartphone to process transactions. Other credit card processing apps you might try include Shopify, Payline, Pay Anywhere and Host Merchant Services.

Foreign languages. Reach non-English-speaking customers by communicating in their language. Speak, write and read in more than 90 languages with the iTranslate app, or customize your company website or online store with the Simply Translate app.

Deals. Close business deals from anywhere by providing and accepting legally bound digital signatures with the DocuSign, DocuSign Ink, Sign Now or Sign Here apps. The apps enable you to send documents via smartphone and obtain signatures by capturing individual’s finger strokes.

Availability/appointments. Allow customers to schedule appointments with you around-the-clock with the 10to8, Housecall Pro or Booker online scheduling systems. Receive “new appointment” alerts, confirm new appointments with a text or email and access your entire schedule from your smartphone anytime.

Hiring. Recruit and manage staff, remote workers or freelancers like a professional human resources department. Use the Proven Recruiting or Zoho Recruit mobile apps to post job openings, collect and review resumes, schedule interviews and communicate with job candidates in real-time.

Payroll. Ditch paper timesheets and enable your workforce to clock in and out from their smartphones with the Boomr and TSheets apps. Both apps provide cloud-based time-tracking that captures payroll data and allows you to review, edit and approve worked hours for payment.

Social media. Coordinate all your social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, etc. — in one place with the Hootsuite or Social Sprout apps. Measure the success of your social media campaigns with Google Analytics. Enhance your social media content with apps such as SEMrush and Crowdfire.

Sales. Boost and track your business sales with access to both real-time and trend data. Check out the Thrive app (Thriveapp.com) to see up-to-the-minute sale transactions, social media traffic and special campaign results of your Blowout Sale or BOGO offer. ShopKeep Pocket app and Order Alert are two similar apps that also provide real-time sales tracking.

Inventory. Avoid running out of product by managing your inventory with the Shopventory app. In addition to monitoring merchandise and product levels, the Shopventory app can also flag slow-selling items and low-profit-margin products. Ecommerce business owners can use the Inventory Alarm app to receive “low-inventory” alerts, as well as notify customers when out-of-stock items have been refilled. Simplify your inventory process with the QR Scanner & Barcode Maker or Barcode Generator/Creator apps that enable you to create your own scannable barcodes. Try the Scandit app (pictured left) — which transforms smartphones into handheld barcode scanners — to assist with tracking and documenting shipping and receiving activities.

Deliveries. See where packages are in real time with the Deliveries Package Tracker app. The Deliveries Package Tracker app works with FedEx, DHL, USPS, Amazon and dozens of other domestic and international carriers.

(Article written by Marcia Reed-Woodard)