Today’s business world is very different to that of 10 years ago. The landscape has shifted dramatically. No longer are busy CEO’s and start-up business owners lugging around a huge briefcase full of important papers. These days, most of the briefcase’s contents is contained in one mobile device.
With the invention of the smartphone, the world of business started to shrink. Diaries began to disappear, being replaced by apps and calendars built into phones. The world is moving fast, and our wallets may be the next thing to migrate onto our phones. With PayPal adding integrated payment options and more places than ever moving forward with contact-less and card-less payments, the world really is beginning to fit into our pockets. With that in mind, here is our list of 25 awesome phone apps for start-up businesses:
- Adobe Reader
- Banking Apps
- Buffer / Hootsuite
- Dropbox / Google Drive
- Facebook Page Manager
- Google Maps
- iWork (Apple Productivity Apps)
- The Trainline
- Yell / Yelp
The PDF file format plays a huge part in any business. Anything from invoices through to contracts can be sent as a PDF and though some newer devices have PDF reading capability, a specialist programme such as Adobe Reader adds extra flexibility. This app makes it simple to import, fill/add, and then export. You can also highlight, underline, strikeout text and add signatures and drawings into your PDF files.
After your revisions are complete, you can send the final document via email or export it to other great apps such as Dropbox and Google Drive. If you sign up for a free Adobe account, you can store and sync your documents in the cloud for free.
It would have been a cop out for me to list each banking app as a separate entry on the list. Whoever you’re banking with, make sure they have an app. Having access to my bank account on my phone is one of the most handy things I’ve ever had in my pocket.
Banks such as Barclays and Natwest have had their apps setup for a long time. Recently, business banking giants Lloyds added a business app to their network. Having the ability to transfer money between accounts and pay invoices on the move can really improve workflow and free up time for other things.
Both Buffer and Hootsuite have the great ability to manage several social media streams at the same time, filtering by search terms, user identities and more. The best feature however comes in the form of “scheduling.” While some people may frown upon automated posts, they can come in handy at times.
For my design agency, Dropbox is the single most important app / web service that we use. Whether we’re noting down ideas, sharing photos and files across the network, or updating our spreadsheets and databases, Dropbox is always there for us.
Cloud storage is a brilliant and forward looking business model and adopting it at an early stage in your start-up’s life will save you multiple headaches in the future. Having your files whenever and wherever you want them is great and whether you use Dropbox or Google Drive, we think you’ll be pleased with the result.
Over the past few years Evernote has grown exponentially. Starting out as a simple note taking platform, Evernote has grown into a note taking, voice recording, photo storing, writing, and presenting platform that syncs across a variety of devices. Lifehacker have a brilliant article about Evernote that we highly recommend taking a look at.
Whether you’re on the train, sitting in a cafe or working from home, when ideas spring up, you want to be able to capture them as quickly as possible. And that’s exactly what Evernote does. Never forget an idea again!
The biggest social network on the planet has catered for businesses for a while now and it’s probably the quickest and easiest way for your start-up business to gain online exposure. You can use Facebook to reach out to all of your customers or advertise to exclusive segments of your target audience.
Facebook consolidates everything your brand does on the network via your Facebook page. At one time, this was all managed through one generic Facebook app. Recently however, Facebook created a secondary app exclusively for managing your company page. You can use the Insights tool to analyse and grow your business. It’s also possible to expand your reach and compare your organic versus paid statistics, analyse link clicks, photo views, and video plays.
Facebook is one of the most powerful tools in terms of online social network exposure and growth when building your start-up online.
Feedly is an RSS feed reader that moved in and positioned itself as the leading online content aggregator when Google Reader was discontinued. You can subscribe to news sites, blogs, YouTube channels and more. The Feedly app syncs across all of your platforms, allowing you to get your daily content intake anywhere.
Registering for Feedly early in your start-ups life can help generate a lot of great content ideas. You can use Feedly to see what created content is popular. From there, you can create your own content and push it through the same channels. Feedly is super simple to use and can really help give your content marketing strategy a huge boost.
When Apple released the latest iteration of the iPhone, their built in app, Maps, came under some heavy fire. While a lot of the glitches and bugs have been ironed out, Maps just doesn’t measure up to Google Maps.
With beautiful, smooth, vector-based map animation and accurate routing, Google Maps is our favorite map app for mobiles. It’s great for pedestrian directions and features a built in sat-nav for driving directions. It also features local transit instructions where applicable. As an added bonus, if you live in an Uber serviced area and have their app installed, you can open it right from the Google Maps app when comparing route options.
iWork is the easiest way to create great-looking documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Writing and page layout are easy using Pages. Numbers gives you simple ways to make sense of your data. Cinematic animations, transitions and effects in Keynote will keep your audience captivated. iWork is compatible with Microsoft Office, so sharing your work is even easier.
Kayak is a price aggregator that searches the internet high and wide to find the best deals on flights and hotels. You can book car rentals too. With the app you can check the status of your flight and manage your itinerary.
If your business means you do a lot travelling, Kayak is a great app to have at your disposal. The app also gives you access to customer support numbers incase anything at all goes wrong.
LinkedIn is a business oriented social network that dubs itself as “the world’s largest professional network.” With over 300 million users worldwide, LinkedIn a great social network for those interested in professional networking.
The LinkedIn app allows you to make new connections, send direct messages, and post like you would when using the LinkedIn website. Whilst not great for business and brand promotion, LinkedIn is great for improving your personal brand and making network connections that can have a positive effect on your business.
MailChimp is a web platform designed to make managing email marketing campaigns as pain free as possible. Managing subscribers, lists and campaigns is made simple and the MailChimp website provides a huge knowledge base that guides their uses through both simple and complex tasks.
The MailChimp app is as easy to use as their website and doesn’t restrict user actions. You can monitor campaign statistics, make changes to lists and if you’re feeling confident, even send campaigns direct from your mobile phone. While alternatives to MailChimp exist, the seamless integration between web and app makes it the clear leader in the email marketing industry.
MyBizTracker is a brilliant app for keeping your finances in check while you’re on the go. The app makes it easy to record income and expenses and also helps you to keep track of every receipt.
The app also ties into a number of accounting packages such as Quickbooks for seamless accounting integration. MyBizTracker can also keep an eye on key dates for your business too. Is there an important payment deadline coming up? No problem, it’ll let you know. It also ties in with HMRC and lets you know when your tax return is due.
PayByPhone is an app that makes parking in local authority and private car parks easier. With only a couple of clicks you can pay for your parking and be on your way. The app works in most major cities around the UK. It also allows you to save a number of vehicles and cards to your account.
If you’re like me and you never have change in your pocket, having and app like PayByPhone in your pocket can save you a lot of stress and rummaging around.
As well as being the payment solution for the internet’s biggest retailer, eBay, PayPal is an international e-commerce company that allows worldwide payments to be made online. Millions of people use PayPal across the world and now you can use it to shop too. Just your email address, a password, and a PIN number will get you through the checkout process before you can reach for your wallet.
The PayPal app lets you pay bills, pay at the till, pay a friend, or pay an invoice. No matter where in the world you are, you can send money with just an email address or phone number in an instant. You can request payment via PayPal too, and it even lets you send friendly reminder messages.
As well as sending and receiving money, Paypal opens up the world of accepting debit and credit cards. You can twin the app with your bank account and it works it all out for you, from sales to figures. With no real rival on the horizon, PayPal is here to stay.
Quora is an interesting site and community to be a part of. Simply labelled as a question and answer website, users post their questions to Quora and members or experts in the community answer them. Sometimes, if a question is about something like Wikipedia and how it works, the people that actually built Wikipedia will come on and answer. It’s a great way to tap into specific industries and get answers from the right people.
The Quora app works well and with ease. I use Quora to broaden my knowledge and get answers to specific industry questions. At the minute, Canny are on a restaurant brand and marketing drive, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in the restaurant business forum. This then goes on to inform the content of the Canny blog and in turn, can turn into sales leads.
Skype is a staple in the online communication world. Whether that’s for instant messaging, audio chat, or video conferencing. Skype is used by businesses across the globe.
We’ve all seen The Trainline TV adverts and at some point, we’ve probably all used the website too. Basically, TheTrainline.com is the cheapest and easiest way to book train travel within the UK. If you use our rail network a lot, The Trainline app is for you.
The app offers the same information as The Trainline site and allows you to book train tickets in a few minutes. It’s relatively easy to use and finds you the best deals in an instant. Highly recommended for start-ups that require a lot of rail travel. It also has some great business functionality, so do take a look.
“Trello makes it easy to organise anything with anyone” boasts their strap line. In Trello, users are presented with a board interface and widgets called cards. Cards are dropped and rearranged on a board by a single person or a team of people.
This app is great for organising thoughts and data as well as posting images from the staff party. You can use it to structure projects and keep all of your information in one place. Trello updates in real time too, so nobody is left wondering if what they’re seeing is old news.
Uber is one of the fastest growing businesses on the planet. If you’re heavily involved with Twitter and/or the tech industry at all, you’ll be no stranger to the start-up company.
Uber connects you with an Uber driver in minutes and lets you organise a private car or ride share directly from your mobile phone. The app tells you the price of your journey, sends payment (now accepting Paypal) and takes care of all of the details while you sit back and enjoy the ride.
Uber is not widely available across the UK at present, but with major cities such as Manchester and London now connected to Uber, you can bet it’s UK wide rollout isn’t too far in the future.
Until we started Hatch Conference I’d avoided WhatsApp like the plague. Most of my friends had iPhones so messaging each other with iMessage wasn’t a real problem.
When we started Hatch, it was much easier to have a group message thread on WhatsApp than Facebook Messages and that was what convinced me to switch. WhatsApp is great if you need to message a group of people, you text more than your phone contract allows, your other business partners aren’t on iMessage, or you don’t really like Facebook.
Because not everyone is hung up on Apple products, WhatsApp is a great solution for cross brand phone messaging and sharing.
Wikipedia is one of the most informative websites on the internet, and it’s now a whole lot more reliable since they stripped away the ability for anyone to edit anything they wanted without pre-approval.
Being able to look up facts and information on your phone is brilliant. Yes, you could use your web browser and just navigate to Wikipedia.org, but it’s not the same as having a dedicated, reliable and well designed app to answer all of your (business) pub quiz needs!
If you’re like me, you’re a prolific to-do list writer. I had scraps and scraps of paper, notes saved on my computer, things written on the back of envelopes… you get the picture.
A few years ago, I got sick of not having each of my lists when I needed them. They were saved in different formats across my different devices and scattered around my desk. Enter Wunderlist.
What Wunderlist does is allow me to write out a to-do list on one of my devices and save it, using it across all platforms. I can also check things off the list as I go and it updates in real time across each device. I can make lists on the job and revise them when I get back to the office. Wunderlist is up there as one of my favourite apps.
Xero is the new saviour of accountants across the land. If you’re a fan of cloud accounting and having access to a smart looking and intelligent accounting platform, then Xero is for you.
With the Xero app, you can raise an invoice, twin up your balance sheet to your bank account, take photos of receipts and track your expenses all in one easy and convenient place. Be aware that a Xero subscription costs money, but it can save you a lot of headaches down the line. It also puts a big smile on your accountants face too and nurturing relationships like this can help your start-up business grow.
Yell / Yelp. Depending on who you ask, they’re either; the route of all evil, or, fantastic and informative places to find the services you need.
If you’ve travelled far, or even if you’re staying local, these apps can help you find the things you need. You’re in a new town and you need a restaurant for dinner, not a problem. Maybe you need your shoes re-heeled or your suit dry cleaned, no problem.
From restaurants and coffee shops to plumbers and builders, both Yell and Yelp have a huge database of services and providers that you can tap into using their app.
And that’s that. 25 amazing apps that can help your start-up business grow. Some are for fun, others, completely practical. Have I missed any apps that you use regularly? Let us know in the comments below!