5 Essential Apps for Entrepreneurs

by Shawna Davies

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Keep Your Business Nimble and Innovative with these Tools

More than almost anyone else, entrepreneurs have to be quick; you have to be able to seize opportunities while they last, adopt innovative practices, and stay aware of the competition in a way that long-established businesses don’t. With that in mind, your smartphone can be one of the most effective productivity tools at your disposal, keeping you connected to the needs of your business wherever you go. Here are some of the essentials.

1. Ego (iOS)

No startup can afford to ignore SEO anymore, and Ego provides a good way to get a birds-eye view on a broad range of statistics. It can help you interpret Google Analytics, as well as tracking your Twitter and Vimeo stats. It doesn’t provide the depth of more specialized SEO tools, but it’s a great at-a-glance tool. I check the Ego app every morning to get an overall sense of the marketing work to be done that day. The interface is attractive, the statistical insights are valuable, and while it’s the only paid app on our list, it’s definitely worth a look. (Cost: $1.99)

2. Skype Mobile (Android, iOS)

Video teleconferencing is easily the most powerful new innovation for entrepreneurs. If you can organize your business remotely, you can take a huge bite out of your fixed costs by waiting to establish a brick-and-mortar office—and you can also draw talent from a much wider pool than if you limited yourself to those who could commute to your office. Having your employees linked via Skype on their computers and smartphones allows you to teleconference from anywhere, as well as providing free internal calling. It costs $5 a month to be able to organize group teleconferences over Skype, but it’s a solid investment. (Cost: free)

3. FatStax (iOS)

For any direct contact with customers or clients, FatStax is a great way to organize your pitch and make sure you can answer questions, resolve concerns, and project confidence and professionalism. FatStax is primarily designed for tablets, allowing you to store brochures, promotional information, and anything else you’d like your sales team to have on hand in a meeting. You can organize the information in a presentation with visual aids, or just keep it on FatStax’s cloud storage for quick access. (Cost: free)

4. GoPayment (Android, iOS)

Like FatStax, this app is a great closer for face-to-face client or customer interactions. If your small business is still cash-only, it’s time to get serious and start accepting credit cards. GoPayment is one of several merchant services apps including Square and PayPal Here that allow you to accept credit cards from a smartphone or tablet—which allows you or a sales rep to strike while the iron is hot and close deals. The app is free, and there’s no monthly fee—you just pay a percentage fee on each transaction (usually around 2.75%), so you can start accepting payments right out of the box, without a contract. (Cost: free)

5. MailChimp (Android, iOS)

While social networking is a growing force in most small business marketing, email newsletters are still be an essential way to reach out to customers. MailChimp provides a simple framework to add contacts to your mailing lists, and it provides some simple analytical tools to measure the performance of your mailing campaign. Nearly all the functionality of the desktop service is available on the mobile app, so you can tinker with your email campaign anywhere and anytime you get a minute.  (Cost: free)

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Rajkumar Jonnala
Twitter:
January 6, 2013 at 12:12 am

Skype is the most important according to me as all International business meetings are done through it. And mailchimp that helps to increase our email subscriptions.
Rajkumar Jonnala recently posted..How to create/delete Pages on facebookMy Profile

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Prime Aque
Twitter:
December 9, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Thank you so much for this information! I am planning to build an e-store here in our City for our company so I am looking for useful apps especially that we are trying to build an online store for the locals where they can ask for price quotations or purchase via our website! I guess I am interested about mailchimp, I have used it before I guess I will try it again, what’s the difference of mailchimp and aweber? Anyway I will go look for these two!
Prime Aque recently posted..How to Write a Whopping SEO Article in Less Than 30 MinutesMy Profile

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Patrick mc cann November 27, 2012 at 2:16 am

Hey shawna

I have being using Skype ever since its launch . Mail chimp sound likes a good software and i am looking forward to use it.I like your post and thanks for sharing this information with us.

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Bina Besiege November 26, 2012 at 1:50 am

Hey Shawna!

I have used Skype so far.

I have been using Siri a lot, it has become an integral part of my life..

As far as Mail chimp is concerned, I do plan to use it and it surely looks like a great software. I will be certainly trying the other software’s too..

Thank you for sharing :)!

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Hi Bina,
Thanks for mentioning the Siri app. That’s a great suggestion.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Start Ups Can Benefit From Geo-TargetingMy Profile

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Sneha November 23, 2012 at 7:09 am

Hi Shauna,

Nice collection of apps.

Wherever we are lost the thing that is always with us is our smartphone so why not mange everything with it.

Nice collection..!!

Thanks for sharing.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Hi Sneha,
Thanks for letting us know that you found Shauna’s collection of apps helpful.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Piquing Interest with Pinterest: Selling your Small BusinessMy Profile

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Amy Shaw@lockers UK
Twitter:
November 23, 2012 at 6:25 am

Hi Shawna, I have just bought an Ipad for my business and was wondering what apps would be useful. I just donwloaded Ego and I have to say it’s very good. I also found dropbox which is good for sharing documents between my desktop and Ipad.

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the tip on Ego. Hopefully, Shawna or another reader can offer some more ideas on useful apps. (Apps is not a topic that I’m really up to speed with at this point which is why I accepted Shawna’s guest post. :) )
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in GoogleMy Profile

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Shawna Davies November 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Hey Ranjan,

Hacking is a concern anytime you swipe your credit card–but all three services (GoPayment, PayPal, and Intuit) use the same encryption standards that banks use, so it’s no more or less risky than using an ATM. Again, the real issue is persuading -clients- that it’s safe.

Shawna

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Ranjan November 22, 2012 at 6:18 am

Hi Shawna an informative and nice post,
But i really confused about it because recently I knew about BLUELAYER MEDIA that had been hacked and after that its feels like unsecured to make/get payment via smart phone. Still eager to know more about security issue about Gopayment.
Thanks for sharing for your great information.
Ranjan recently posted..Top Secret to Triple Your AdSense Earning in 20 MinuteMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Hi Ranjan,

In her reply to another reader, Shawna posted the link to the security FAQs on the GoPayment website. You can access it here: http://blog.gopayment.com/faq/security-faqs/.

Shawna also replied to your but she posted it as a new comment. So, you may have missed it. Here’s her reply: “Hacking is a concern anytime you swipe your credit card–but all three services (GoPayment, PayPal, and Intuit) use the same encryption standards that banks use, so it’s no more or less risky than using an ATM. Again, the real issue is persuading -clients- that it’s safe.” I hope that helps.

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Ranjan November 28, 2012 at 2:05 am

Thanks Sherryl and Shawna also, that you take attention on comment,
Actually I used my paypal account for payment issue but i didn’t know more about “Intuit”. By the way Thanks again for your valuable replies.
Ranjan recently posted..Why Private Jobs are Better Than Government JobsMy Profile

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A.K.Andrew
Twitter:
November 21, 2012 at 5:15 am

These are all great suggestions. I do not have need of most of them yet, but hopefully within a year or so I will, so this is a great post to fill my arsenal with. I was not aware of anything other than paypal re: payments. I’ve not seen the other two offered, so perhaps it may take a while for people to trust them as a payment form.
A.K.Andrew recently posted..MuseMedia: Time and Louise ErdrichMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Hi A.K.,
Thanks for letting us know that you found Shawna’s post helpful. At the rate you’re going, I think you will find a need for apps like these in a year or two. It will be interesting to see what technology brings us by then though. :)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How to Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in GoogleMy Profile

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Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
November 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm

I wasn’t aware of Ego or GoPayment. I use PayPal and they charge 3% when you are receiving a payment — a pretty hefty fee. GoPayment is a little better at 2.75 so something to consider.
Jeannette Paladino recently posted..Israel Launches Blog and Twitter Assault on GazaMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm

That’s a great point Jeannette. Ever since eBay purchased PayPal, their fees seem to have risen. What I really resent is when a client pays me thru PayPal and we’re both assessed fees. It doesn’t seem fair. I should look into alternatives too.

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Shawna November 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Hi Catarina and Leora,

The GoPayment app is password-protected, and doesn’t store any credit card information–it only transmits it using industry-standard online banking encryption. You might have to field these questions from customers before they’ll swipe their cards, but there really isn’t any risk to their data.

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Leora
Twitter:
November 19, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Like Catarina, I would love to hear about how GoPayment and those other money apps handle security issues. Whereas she says leave it at home, I understand small biz can really do well by taking payments via smart phone. I imagine there are enough passwords involved to make it at least somewhat safe?

I didn’t know there was an app for MailChimp. I was suggesting MailChimp today to a client who has been using Constant Contact.
Leora recently posted..Print a Web Page with CSSMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Hi Leora,
Hopefully, you saw Shawna’s answer to Catarina’s question about GoPayment and security issues. (She posted her reply to both of you as a new comment rather than as a reply.) Shawna’s response was “The GoPayment app is password-protected, and doesn’t store any credit card information–it only transmits it using industry-standard online banking encryption. You might have to field these questions from customers before they’ll swipe their cards, but there really isn’t any risk to their data.” She also provided a link to security FAQs on the GoPayment website.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Piquing Interest with Pinterest: Selling your Small BusinessMy Profile

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Catarina
Twitter:
November 19, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Shawna, sounds to me like an excellent choice of aps!

Am Swedish and not sure if your suggestions can be used here. As you know, Skype was invented here and obviously I have it. However, mobile operators are doing their best to block customers from using it.

Not sure how the ap GoPayment works, but it seems to me that there is a huge risk involved with making payments from your smart phone. Can’t help wondering how many smart phones are stolen on a daily basis all over the world? And sometimes they are easier to hack as well. So maybe online banking and any form of payments is something we should only doing from home?
Catarina recently posted..Has James Bond become too commercial?My Profile

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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Hi Catarina,
That’s interesting that mobile operators are trying to block customers from using Skype in Sweden. I had never heard of that before.

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