December 26, 2014

50 Must-Have Small Business iPhone and iPad Apps

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Editor’s Note: Last year one of our most popular articles of the year was written by Shara Karasic, who pointed out 10 small-business apps for the iPhone.  The response was so enthusiastic, that we invited Shara back for an even bigger and better roundup of apps for entrepreneurs and small-business execs this year.  And who better than Shara to contribute this article — she lives, breathes, sleeps and eats apps in her role with Appolicious, a community review site for mobile apps.  Here in 2011 we are delighted to bring you Shara’s much bigger list of iPhone and iPad apps, organized by type of activity.

iPadSince I listed 10 great small business apps in 2010, the use of iPhones and iPads for SMB’s has exploded in areas from business travel to communication to productivity. The office has become truly mobile. Here are must-have apps for those running and operating businesses in 2011:

1. Travel for Business Like a True Road Warrior

Prepare for your trip and navigate like a true road warrior using your iPhone! Kayak PRO lets you find a flight or a hotel; TripIt – Travel Organizer keeps your travel itinerary always handy in your pocket,; FlightTrack Pro – Live Flight Status Tracker gives you real-time flight updates and helps you find alternate flights (and works seamlessly with TripIt); GateGuru will guide you to the nearest ATM, post office, or luggage store in the airport. Once you arrive, Taxi! makes it easy to find a cab 24/7 anywhere in the U.S. Don’t forget your Kindle app so you can read on the plane or in the taxi.

2. Business Communications that Join Virtual Teams

Make free phone calls with Viber, Truphone, or Skype, which has entered 2011 with the ability to make video calls over both Wi-Fi and 3G. Stay connected to your team with Free Conference Call, which lets you hold conferences and even offers free recording. Or try Callvine, with one-click group calls, or Calliflower, which displays a dashboard of conference participants. Send group text messages for free with Beluga. Join online meetings via your iPhone with Cisco WebEx Meeting Center. If you have an iPad, you can attend online meetings with WebEx for iPad or GoToMeeting.

3. Payment Processing Wherever Your Customers Are

Whether you are selling at a swap meet, garage sale, or art gallery, accept credit card payments right from your iPhone with Square or  Intuit GoPayment Credit Card Terminal.

4. Expenses Tracked on the Go

Scan your receipts on the go to make generating expense reports a snap with Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker and Receipt Reader.  Or use Expensify, which imports your credit card’s purchase history and automatically creates expense reports which it emails from your iPhone.

5. Business Networking for Super Connectors

Be prepared to work a room and cultivate new contacts. Use LinkedIn to check out new connections, card reader app WorldCard Mobile to scan business cards and CardManager to manage them. Or just use Bump to exchange contact info. Gist creates rich business profiles of people you meet, and Calvetica Calendar lets you easily schedule events with them.  Once you have new contacts in your iPhone, use Dialvetica to access them quickly.

6. Document Access & Management Across Platforms

View and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint docs wherever you are with Documents To Go – Office Suite or QuickOffice Connect. Share files across computers and mobile devices with Dropbox. Access your desktop remotely with Wyse PocketCloud Pro – RDP / VNC / View (Remote Desktop) or Mocha VNC. Scan with Genius Scan and print documents from your iPhone or iPad with PrinterShare.

7. Business Presentations that Get Your Message Across

Roambi – Visualizer lets you  turn your numbers into beautiful charts and graphs and is compatible with Excel and Salesforce data. An iPad with Keynote will have you presentation-ready at any meeting.

8. Invoicing & Time Tracking on the Go

MiniBooks for FreshBooks lets you send invoices, time your work, and record payments on the go. Or track your time with iPunchclock.

9. Mobile CRM to Amp Your Sales Prospects

Salesforce Mobile gives you access to your Salesforce info from your iPhone.   Kinito Lite lets you quickly access your SugarCRM records.

10. Business Productivity 24/7

Manage tasks with OmniFocus, dictate with Dragon Dictation, and jot down or record notes on the fly with Evernote,

11. Manage Finances and Payroll Wherever You Are

Track and budget your money with Mint.com and PageOnce Pro. Or use SurePayroll or RUN Powered by ADP Mobile Payroll to pay employees 24/7.

12. Customer Loyalty Programs to Increase Repeat Business

With PlacePop, you can create virtual loyalty cards to reward your best customers, and with WeReward, customers can earn points when they check-in to your business.

13. Source B2B Products

HKTDC Mobile from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council provides mobile access to 120,000 suppliers around the world as well as a list of trade fairs.

Find more business apps at Appolicious using our new business & finance app directory. Or browse user-submitted lists of the best business apps. Have another business app that you find invaluable? Add it in the comments, and make sure to let the Appolicious community know about it.

43 Comments ▼

Shara Karasic


Shara Karasic Shara Karasic is Founder at Harris+Karasic, a mobile strategy agency that helps brands and businesses extend user engagement across web and mobile.

43 Reactions

  1. What a list, Shara! As someone who puts together lots of these lists here, I appreciate all you’ve done. This is a keeper and definitely one to share. Heading to delicious and facebook to share it, save it. I don’t have an iDevice, but know tons who do. They will love this.

  2. An app I am sure any small business will find useful is MailShot, it builds email distribution lists right into the iPhone so you can use them to easily compose or forward emails from Mail to different groups of clients or colleagues.

  3. As someone who needs all the help I can get, thanks much for the recommendations. There are several suggestions here that I will implement soon.

  4. Love the list, but since I’m currently using a Blackberry, most of the apps are out of reach for now. However, I was wondering, how many apps does the average user really utilize successfully? Seems to me that 20-25 would be about as many as I could mentally keep tabs on.

  5. A recent study I read says the average is just over 100 apps, but then I ALSO read that something like 80% of apps are only used on the day they are downloaded, so i am not sure if that first figure is the number downloaded or retained on the phone (probably the former.)

    I find in practice I have a lot of apps on my phone and iPad just in case I need them, and a small number (like maybe 10 or so) that I couldn’t live without and use all the time, like:

    GoodReader (read ebooks),
    CoPilot (navigation),
    Mail (email),
    Calendar (diary)
    GeeTasks(Google task integration)
    Airvideo (watch videos around the house),
    Facebook,
    Twitter,
    Pages (taking notes on iPad)
    ITunes Connect (I’m a developer),
    Sky+ (program my Sky DVR remotely),
    some games (varying)
    and of course my own MailShot (group email, right in your contacts)

    Peter
    Solubleapps.com

  6. Shara Karasic,

    Great list! Now I need a smart bookmarking site app so I could save this post for the future… :)

  7. TJ and Kip – glad you enjoyed the article! Peter – thanks for the app suggestions! Martin – try Instapaper for saving blog posts to read later:

    http://www.appolicious.com/tech/apps/61202-instapaper-marco-arment

    ;-)

    Best,
    Shara

  8. Hi Shara,

    Great list! How about a similar one for Android?

  9. Hi M Merrill,

    A list of must-have business apps for Android is a great idea!

  10. I love the Android idea. If anyone followed the CES show, you’ll knowmthat plenty of new cheaper, more powerful tablets are out soon. More battery life, dual cameras and more. (I say while typing on my iPad!)

  11. Thank you Shara, for such comprehensive list. I will check out every app.
    I have been using Xpenser for tracking expenses for quite a while. They have a great web site, Blackberry and iPhone apps. You can take a picture of your receipt with iPhone and later export everything to an Excel. It integrates with QuickBooks too. Best of all – you can send a text or a Twitter message to it to record an expense. It is very flexible.

  12. Great recommendations. There are a lot of apps I had never even thought to look for on here. One of my all time favorite though is Skype. Its an amazing way to stay in touch with my clients, even the international ones, while on the go for FREE! Its very easy to use and always convenient. I has completely changed the way I use my telephone for business. Thanks.

  13. Shara, thanks for your very informative articles. I think CuteTag app is also worth reviewing. I haven’t seen it in your listings, but this app is a real help in my everyday life.

  14. Nice list but checkout SurePayroll or RUN for a payroll app.

  15. Another recommended app is the ElectricityCalc: itunes.apple.com/us/app/electricitycalc/id436453765?mt=8. You can see what your product usees in electricity and what it costs.

  16. Can anyone recommend a program for keeping inventory of items we sell at a local store? Mt wife sells: tee shirts, hats, bags of dog treats, and coffee under the brand name; Old Wolfee in Wolfeboro NH.

    She is looking for some sort of inventory management program for her Mac.

    Thank you in advance.

    Bill

  17. I personally use Android, BUT these 3 ROCK in the i-World as well:
    1) Evernote – can’t say enough for this, EVERYTHING we do goes on it !
    2) Documents To Go – Blackberry may own this now, but the version I have will be in use for years
    3) Google Calendar – my calendar, our firm’s calendar, and my family calendar …. all in one view !

    Thanks for the list !

  18. My fav new app for my business is Like Us! for iphones and ipads. I use it everyday and ask my customers at the checkout (Hair salon) If they are happy. (They always say yes!) Then i take out my Ipad and ask them to like me. It shows a big Like button they can push and instantly like my facebook page. Works a treat!

  19. Big Forge has a product called LocalBeacon that allows non-developers the ability to create their own apps and not outsource development. They also have white labels available for those wanting to start their own business. I use them, couldn’t be happier with the product.

  20. I am looking for a free iPad app which I can use to calculate unit price of items. I mean you can feed it all the expenses and gives you the unit price. Thanks

  21. Great list. But you left out my fav app, the itouch catalog app. With this, you can create your online catalog in just 10 minutes and you can share it with the whole world. It’s free and it is integrated with social media for greater mileage of products.

    You can sign up at itouchcatalog.com and start your business catalog.

  22. Shara,
    I agree with all, a great list. We’re using several iPads in the business to great effect but we’re looking for an app that does quotations with drop down product lists – any ideas?

    keep up the good work and thanks.

  23. I agree with all, a great list. We’re using several iPads in the business to great effect but we’re looking for an app that does quotations with drop down product lists – any ideas?

  24. Contractor Expenses app well worth checking out, it’s free for iPhone

  25. It says top 50 but there are only 13?

  26. Anyone usng an app for scheduling 1-2-1’s (2.hour coaching sessions) – with 30 plus in a month,, plus several meetings I need an app we call all use.Been trying to create monthly automatic reoccurring. It the changes that become very time consuming.

  27. great list, i may try taking credit card payments off site, i am searching far and wide for an inventory app that lets me sort out stock that I have on 4 selling platforms, some are way too complicated and others are too basic, i am trying out Onshelf, i like the inventory tick list when it comes to the annual stock check but it has its limitations.

    • Let me know if you find a good inventory app for eBay, Amazon, Rakuten, etc online sales. I’ve been searching and cant find anything. Would be great to have a barcode scanner via iPhone that pulls the info on the product, just enter price you paid, auto fill in date and etc. and when you sell just scan barcode again and enter price sold. Then pull reports to view current inventory, monthly sales, monthly profits, profit margins, most sold products, average time on market and etc… Can’t believe it doesn’t exist! Someone, make it!!!

  28. We have 2 apps that we’ve just released that you guys may be interested in.

    You can check them out from here:

    http://www.phoenix-labs.com.au/portfolio.html

    One is Vocalerts, a voice alarms app (be your own personal assistant) and the other is a CRM/database app with built in organiser and marketing tools called MyDB.

  29. Thanks for the list. We have just released a new app – iCorpPass. It allows users to change windows and domain password on the go. More information at
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/windows-domain-password-change/id545217155?mt=8

  30. Podio (podio.com) and fotopad (fotopad.me) are also awesome apps for small business!

  31. Hi Shara,

    Your post is very nice, very interesting list! It’s true, now iPhone & iPad are good productivity tools, it’s no longer just a tool for consultation. Personally, in my work, I use my iPad all the time, especially in note-taking, sharing and storing files through Beesy app. If you are interested in productivity apps, I suggest you have a look at it, it’s very interesting one too :)

  32. Great article. There’s one app that I swear by that wasn’t mentioned, which is the tasp business diary. I find a lot of apps slow to use because of the keypad but the tasp diary lets you hand write notes and even organise them by colour, which is awesome.

    Here’s a link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/business-diary-lite-by-tasp/id669016550?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2

  33. I’d like to point out Calex which is an universal app that lets you share your availability via mail. This way appointments are made easier as chances of finding a time slot increase.
    It’s on http://calexapp.com

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