Starting a small business can be time-consuming and stressful under the best of circumstances. There are countless roadblocks that can test even the most organized and dedicated entrepreneur. When you have to be away from the office, the challenges can be even more daunting.
Fortunately, there are some amazing tools that you can access from your smartphone or tablet to help you stay ahead of the game whether you’re working from home, meeting with clients, or enjoying some much-needed rest and relaxation. Below are seven mobile small business tools that can help you take your business to the next level.
1. Google Analytics and Google Drive
So, you’ve established your online presence with a great looking website. Now what? It’s time to start learning more about your online traffic. This means installing Google Analytics’ tracking code to enable you to learn who is accessing your site and what they are interested in reading.
For no cost, Google Analytics enables you to obtain key demographic data, traffic drivers, and important numbers broken down by the day, week, month, and year. And this is all available from a mobile device. Do you have a free minute while waiting to pick up the kids from school? You can check out Google Analytics’ charts and graphs and start strategizing your next marketing move based on your findings.
Do you share documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with coworkers or clients? Google Drive is an incredibly useful freebie that you can access with a Gmail account. This all-in-one collaboration tool and file storage system can save you an incredible amount of time by enabling you to save, share, and edit files with contacts. One of the most useful aspects of Google Drive is that you can actually collaboratively work on files together with others from remote locations. That saves you from having to meet your partner in person to edit that next proposal!
2. Mail Chimp
Hopefully, you’re keeping a customer database. The emails you collect can be used to stay top of mind with those who buy from you. MailChimp lets you do this. This easy-to-use, web-based application enables you to create and distribute professional-looking email newsletters to your contacts in a matter of minutes.
MailChimp provides simple instructions and templates that don’t require you to hire a programmer or designer. Their basic account is free, allowing you to send out 12,000 emails per month to up to 2,000 subscribers. And because it’s a fully-responsive app, you can use Mail Chimp wherever you go. Send out email campaigns from your phone, tablet, or laptop with statistics and reports accessible any time, anywhere.
Trello is a highly-logical, web-based project management application that uses a paradigm that was popularized by Toyota back in the 1980s to streamline their supply chain management. Released at a TechCrunch event in 2011, the application is now used by more than five million users.
Supported by iPhone, Android, and Windows 8 mobile platforms, Trello has been designed to be used on nearly every mobile web browser, as well as on tablets. Users can organize projects with boards, lists, and cards that accept comments, attachments, due dates, and more.
For a small business owner that has a lot of projects in progress, Trello is a very useful way to stay organized and on top of deadlines. Best of all, the basic service is free!
Small business owners tend to take a lot of notes. Whether you’re engrossed in a brainstorming session or just wake up with an inspired idea that will help you make that next sale, you want to capture these ideas while you can.
Evernote is an online workspace that lets you document what you’re thinking and doing from short lists to extensive research. Do you like to write handwritten notes? Not a problem! With Evernote, you can save and store articles, notes, photos, and more. Everything is easy to find using the tool’s search features, and you can even present notes as visual slides.
Like with MailChimp and Trello, Evernote gives away its basic membership for free. It can be synched across your devices to give you a mobile workspace for all of your projects.
If you’re like most small business owners, managing your expenses is one of your least favorite tasks. Expensify makes it a lot easier to keep track of cash expenses, credit card transactions, mileage, time, and billable expenses.
Expensify’s mobile features are particularly helpful for busy entrepreneurs. You can snap a photo of a receipt from the app and create and submit expense reports. Information can then be easily imported into QuickBooks, Salesforce, and other software programs. In other words, it nearly makes accounting a painless item on your “to do” list.
Social media is one of the most effective ways to promote your small business online. It can also be frustratingly time-consuming. Publishing posts and following up with comments and questions from your online community can quickly become a full-time job. Yet, you probably haven’t reached the point where it makes financial sense to hire a dedicated social media manager. So, what’s the solution?
Savvy small business owners who want to build a strong social media presence use social media publishing tools for managing social channels, creating campaigns, and reviewing analytics. Hootsuite is one of the best of these. From a single dashboard, you can schedule Facebook posts and Tweets and monitor conversations.
Your social media should also generate ROI. Hootsuite tracks your growth, gives you visual demographic information, and even informs you when you have real-time spikes in sentiment. Its free plan lets you manage up to three social profiles and provides basic analytics reports, scheduling, and app integration. Their app is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, making it fast and easy to schedule and publish posts while away from the office.
Buffer is an increasingly popular publishing tool that is similar to Hootsuite, but with a few distinct differences. With Buffer, you can write many social media posts at one time and choose what social profiles to send them to. Their tool spreads them out throughout the day or week so that you don’t have to be in front of your computer to manage your online presence. Like Hootsuite, Buffer provides substantially more analytic data than what you get from Facebook and Twitter directly. This gives you valuable information on who is following you and how you can best build engagement with them. Buffer is installed to your browser so that you can click on an icon and share content with a single click, even from your mobile phone.
8. Kabbage Inc.
Kabbage can deliver up to $100,000 in a few minutes on your mobile phone, allowing you to get the business financing you need on the go. Once you qualify for a loan, you can use the Kabbage mobile app for iPhone or Android to take funds remotely as well as pay your Kabbage bill and view your transaction history. Getting business loans used to take a lot of time and process from traditional banks, now do it all from your phone and make sure you have the working capital your business needs.