The following is a guest post from Mark Wardell, author and business leader extraordinaire, who heads up international business advisory group, Wardell.
Top Apps & Tools for Business
So many amazing apps and tools have come into my life this past year. Clearly, there’s no shortage of innovation when it comes to designing technologies for a more efficient, effective business. Here I’ve rounded up ten of my personal favorites to share with you. Enjoy.
A great tool for business people constantly on the go, CloudOn essentially puts Microsoft Office on your favorite devices so you can easily work on the files you already store in the cloud – with Box, DropBox, Google Drive or Microsoft- while you’re on the go. This is a great tool to help with your overall organization and productivity. I use it to edit MS Word, PowerPoint and Excel files on my iPad, which is amazing because who knows when Microsoft will come out with MS Office for the tablet/smartphone.
Square is a little box that plugs into a smartphone or tablet and turns it into a credit card reader. Brilliant! The fees are extremely low (compared to other larger companies) and businesses don’t need to go through a lengthy approval processes- you just buy it and get started. This is a great tool for companies at trade shows, doing product demos or even retailers who either don’t want to renew their contracts with more pricey payment processors or want to give their sales people a more interactive way of collecting payment (i.e. roaming around on the floor talking to customers instead of standing waiting at a cash register).
An amazing presentation tool that diverges from the traditionally one-dimensional, boring PowerPoint slides, Prezi is also cloud-based, so geographically dispersed people can easily collaborate on a single presentation in real time across time zones during meetings. Slightly more exciting than the traditional alternative.
Mavenlink is a fantastic, custom-branded project management solution that allows you to collaborate online, enter your time, work within a budget and send invoices. It has a great mobile app and works with Google Docs, Calendar, and Contacts.
If sending newsletters has been a painful experience in your world, take a look at MailChimp. Mailchimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results. It’s like your own personal publishing platform. It works with Google Analytics, Contacts, and Docs.
Capsule CRM is a simple, flexible CRM for small businesses and sales teams, that allows you to easily track all of the people and companies you do business with, your communications with them, opportunities in the sales pipeline, and basically whatever needs to be done when it comes to your connections.
My ERP calls itself “one app to run your business” and indeed this exceptional app will help you with everything from Accounting, Billing, CRM, Projects and Inventory. For example, myERP will generate real-time reports like profit and loss reports, balance sheet and tax statements, even auto-reconciling your accounting with your banks. It works with Gmail and Google Calendar.
What do you do with business cards? For a while now, I’ve been stashing them and asking my assistant to enter the contacts into our system. Cardmunch makes it way easier. This is a brilliant little app that captures your business cards on your phone, creating a contact list that is easily shareable and transportable to other platforms like LinkedIn or Contacts. Fantastic timesaver.
UberConference brings a visual element to conference calls, making the dreaded, often fuzzy experience much more clear and enjoyable. The on-screen display shows instant profiles of all participants, so you can clearly see who’s on the call and visually know who is talking. Names, photos and other info is easily pulled in from your address book and social networks.
When it comes to managing your social accounts, Hootsuite is an incredibly useful business app. A single, web-based dashboard lets you track and post to all of your company’s social media profiles – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – from one place. Analytics show which messages are actually getting viewed, clicked on and generating real ROI.
Mark is President & Founder of Wardell Professional Development (www.wardell.biz), an advisory group that helps business owners plan and execute the growth of their companies. The author of seven business books, Mark also writes regularly for several national business publications, including Profit Magazine, The Globe & Mail, and CGA Magazine. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org