Using mobile apps to manage your business
"Mobile apps allow you to reach customers wherever they are."
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Hi. I'm Tegan Jones for the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. Today, we're discussing mobile apps and how they can help you better manage your small business. Joining me is Ramon Ray, editor of SmallBizTechnology.com. Thanks for joining me, Ramon.
And thank you very much for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.
Ramon, I read a report recently that said there are over 120 million smartphone users in the United States. It seems that more and more people are starting to look at their phones the way they used to look at their computers. And they expect them to do everything their laptops or desktops can do. Have you seen this trend, as well?
This is because of a few things, Tegan. I think that, one, as you just said, definitely the days where you have to be tied to a desk and be at a PC, those days are gone. This enables a lot of advantages for small business owners that they can now get work done wherever they may be at, whether they're in a park, in a car, at a client's office. It really frees you to work where you want to work at.
I think another point that this rise in mobility enables is that it gives you a whole new way to market products and services of small business owners.
And my last point here, I think this whole new way gives you an ability to target local customers like never before. Everybody is carrying a phone. You now can reach your customers where they are.
And point two, the aspect of being able to create a mobile app, this is very important because you can now also reach out and touch your customers where they are through mobile apps.
So I think these few points, Tegan, this is what's really stirring the pot for the increase of mobile productivity and mobile usage.
I know I use apps to help me manage many aspects of my personal life. But are there mobile apps that can help small business owners manage their operations day to day, as well?
Absolutely, Tegan. There's a number of apps that are, of course, for consumers to use, but small business owners, as well, have a number of apps they can use.
One, sharing documents: all business owners to some degree work with other teams, whether it's, you know, consultants and contractors or employees. So there's a number of technologies out there that you can use to share documents. You have Google Drive; you have Box; you have Dropbox; and dozens of other awesome tools that help you just share documents.
I think payment is definitely, definitely increasing. There are a number of online payment solutions that small businesses can use to accept payment and send payments throughout their business ecosystem. And this is exploding Tegan because, again, business owners no longer just want to do something with a check, but they want to use their smartphone.
I think another area where apps come in is the aspect of calendars and email, just knowing: What am I doing today? Where am I supposed to be at? And, of course, email. Yeah, social media is exploding and chat and things like this. But email, Tegan, is still important.
And I think the last point on this is social media. There's a number of apps that enable you to be, again, wherever you want to be and still send a Tweet, still post on Facebook, still go on Pinterest to be able to reach your audience of where you want to go.
So I think that apps are exploding. It's not just consumer apps, but there are some pretty serious business apps out there for a number of things that small business owners can do.
That sounds really helpful. But can you talk a little bit about the specific types of apps small businesses can use?
Absolutely. So take a look at project management and collaboration. I use a tool called Asana, A-s-a-n-a. It's a free tool made by the founders of Facebook that is for task management. Other tools in this category include Basecamp. You have tools called Trello. You have Zoho. You have a number of tools that are out there that really help small business owners do project management and collaboration.
You have another category of tools, Tegan, for accounting, time tracking, invoicing. Think about FreshBooks, another tool that I use. Think about QuickBooks. Think about Xero. Think about Outright. Tegan, all these tools connect to your bank and help you manage your accounts.
Another tool or class of tool that's important, Tegan, is document editing. That means, on the go, what if I have to edit that contract? Here you talk about Evernote. You talk about Documents To Go. You have Microsoft Office and other tools like this. So, Tegan, yes, there are a lot of tools out there, and I hope that I've given some specific tools that people can turn to on their phones – Apple, Android, BlackBerry – to be productive.
Yeah, those are really great tips. Thanks so much for talking with us today, Ramon. It's been great to start understanding how small business owners can use mobile apps to get more done on the go.
Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure.
And thank you for joining us for this segment of the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. To learn more about how Wells Fargo business banking can help you, visit wellsfargo.com/biz. In the meantime, we wish you continued success.