There is no shortage of business tools and apps available to entrepreneurs today. Technology, now more than ever before, is discovering new ways of solving old problems and enabling retailers and service providers as well as the mighty consumer to reach, share, save, buy, bid, deal, message, post and even make a phone call, anytime and from almost anywhere. (With 224 million active mobile app users in the U.S.—more than 70% of the population—there is very little we cannot do with the virtual press of a button.)
It’s a radical transformation that is shifting the commerce focus from the front-office to back-office as new technologies reinvent supply chain management, employee management, finance and marketing with simple-to-use apps that are easily understood and integrated together. Businesses are presented with all sorts of opportunities to improve their operations, engage with more customers and drive their business.
In fact, 92% of SMBs use at least one cloud business solution. They’d be foolish not to, as the many benefits include scalability and faster growth, flexibility, lower costs, less maintenance and heightened security. Here are some of the free mobile apps businesses are using to streamline operations, improve efficiency and save time and money in the process:
Blogger or WordPress
Businesses that blog generate 126% more leads than businesses that don’t. The Blogger or WordPress apps allow you to quickly and easily publish posts to your blog wherever you are, while also managing your website.
Dropbox is a free service that brings all your documents together no matter where you are. Any file you save to Dropbox will automatically save to your computer, mobile device and the Dropbox website. And any of those documents can be shared with fellow co-workers or business associates. It’s the simplest way to store and share documents for your business.
Tracking your company’s expenses is important and necessary, but also one of the biggest hassles. Expensify allows you and your employees to submit and track expense reports by simply uploading everything to the app in real-time.
Similar to Dropbox, Google Docs allows colleagues or clients to share and edit documents simultaneously and in one place. It’s another simple way to share documents for your business.
Join.me allows users to conference-call on-the-go from a mobile device. With this free app, you can join an online meeting wherever you are. Share screens, transfer files and use the chat feature during the call. Join.me could be a local business’s most vital component to success as virtual chatting is a more effective way to do business than email or talking on the phone.
Those who use PayPal to make purchases and get paid already know how easy it is. The same can now be done from your mobile device. Through the app, a business owner can send, receive and withdraw funds. He or she can even take a photo of a check received from a client and add it to the PayPal account. PayPal also includes a feature called PayPal Here, which allows people to find local businesses that use PayPal and pay them with it.
It’s eight times more cost effective to bring in an existing customer than find a new one. Perka is a mobile app that allows you to manage a loyalty program. Whether it’s “Buy 10, get 1 free,” earning points or loyalty tiers, Perka makes it easy to set up the program—and more importantly it’s easy for customers to use. They check in at your business, and the transaction can quickly be attributed to them.
Streak is the ultimate app for CRM, sales, email and more. You can use Gmail from within the app to check, send and schedule emails—and see if your sent emails have been opened. Streak also allows you to group all emails from one customer together into one view and push that customer through your pipeline. Also keep track of status, notes and details for each customer.
Wunderlist boosts your business’s productivity by giving employees the chance to create to-do lists that will sync between everyone. We promise: You will never be asked “What should I work on next?” ever again.
Want to learn more about how to get started using the latest in technology to improve operations and grow your business? Visit LocalVox for a free demo of how we can help.
Todd Renard is the head of digital and product development for The Berry Company and the LocalVox Platform. He is responsible for the development, innovation and go-to-market strategy, tactics and logistics for Berry/LocalVox’s digital products and services. A leading industry player, Renard has spoken at to a number of marketing professional groups on operationalizing and promoting a suite of online advertising solutions for the SMB market. Renard holds a masters degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor of science degree in human resources management and services from California State University-Chico.