The iPad for Small Business – It’s Not Just a Toy

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The iPad for Small Business - It's Not Just a ToyThe iPad certainly looks like a lot of fun to have around the house. From games to books to basic web surfing, there’s no doubt the iPad would be a lot of fun in the living room, but how would it fare in the office? Though it may seem the iPad has been designed for all play and no work, I am very excited for the iPad’s potential for business users. Here are some of the cases where I think the iPad will become valuable for mobile small business owners.

Presentation of Business Data

The most valuable business feature of the iPad that I see is its ability to visualize business information. The sleek design and large display simply begs to be looked at, making the iPad ideal for concept presentations, or anytime you want to wow an audience with graphics. With the iPad as your portable multimedia center, pitching at tradeshows and conferences will be simple and effective.

iPad docks with VGA adapters letting you easily connect to monitors or projectors, and iPad apps like Keynote will allow you to give professional presentations complete with virtual touch screen laser pointer. The best part? With the iPad you can make anything a full color interactive presentation to share with your clients. Imagine scanning and uploading full color paper brochures and adding them into your multimedia presentations along side of video and web forms.

Information Mobility

It may not fit in your pocket like an iPhone, but the iPad will certainly let you take all of your business information on the go. More importantly, the larger display will allow you to get more actual work done than with the iPhone’s small screen and tiny keyboard. Apps like iWork (designed specifically for the iPad), or QuickOffice for spreadsheets, should also take advantage of the iPad’s smooth multi-touch features. My company, OfficeDrop, is currently working on an iPad app that will allow access to scans of all of your paper documents, and let you organize and search your paper (like contracts and research reports) on an iPad optimized interface.


With a “well-app’d” iPad, you’ll always be connected to your office (at least with an AT&T’ 3G data network version). Since so many businesses are using SaaS applications that are hosted online, you’ll be able to access any of your information via specialized iPad apps. Though iPhone apps can already be used on the iPad, use of the iPad will really shine when apps are made specifically for the iPad, utilizing the multi-touch and other features.

Whether it’s CRM, invoicing systems like FreshBooks, or a simple to-do list, the iPad will have a slew of business related apps to make your life easier inside and outside the office. If you already use cloud based services, you’ll not only have constant access to your important business data from your iPad, but will also have the confidence that all of your data is automatically backed up remotely.

Next time you hear someone talking about how the iPad is just an expensive toy, let them know that you think its advantages of connectivity, information mobility, and sleek presentation capabilities will make it a powerful business tool for the mobile small business owner.

How do you think creative small business owners will take advantage of the iPad?


Prasad Thammineni Prasad Thammineni is the Chief Product Officer at Choose Energy, an electricity, natural gas and solar marketplace for residential, SMB and commercial customers. He founded consumer and B2B startups namely OffceDrop, jPeople, WeBelong, Indolis and LaunchPad. He has an MBA from Wharton and Computer Science and Math degrees from BITS, Pilani, India.

16 Reactions
  1. Jeff Ski Kinsey

    >> How do you think creative small business owners will take advantage of the iPad? <<

    Like with all technology, in ways we cannot imagine at this moment. I run my business from my iPod touch… and deal with a number of short-comings. But see the iPad making them all go away.

  2. Thank you for the information on this new, hot item.

    I’m not a “Apple” guy, but I’ll check this out, for sure!

    The Franchise King

  3. Prasad Thammineni

    @Jeff-Ski-Kinsey I use the iPhone when I am on the road to engage with my team, customers and also access our company documents. I would love to hear what apps you use on your iPod touch.

  4. Prasad Thammineni,

    I recently got an iPhone and I see the business possibilities with all the different applications out there. I want to get an iPad later on, but I will wait until it has gone through the first period of “beta” testing and then adding for example 3G. It would be nice with a double video camera function, so you could have webinars and online meetings. I think it could be a great companion on business trips, reading newspapers, magazines and listening to podcasts.

    For more on the iPad, read this article on Fast Company:

  5. I like the idea of using the ipad for sideshows or presentations for business use. I will be purchasing one but will wait for the 3g version.

  6. Wonderful article on the I Pad. I’m not sure if it’s needed for me, but just getting an independent opinion is very usefull.

    Thanks much,

    Kip Marlow

  7. Great blog! I am looking forward to an app that allows customers to sign on the iPad, get financed, pay their balance, and customize their order. Imagine a sales presentation where the salesperson just walked through an elegant sales interface with the client. Throw away the paper, folks. This thing has a ton of biz potential!

  8. Wow! Apple just keep on creating these very innovative products don’t they? Although I don’t own many of their great gadgets, they always have me excited on what they have come up this time.

    Thanks for the run down on this new product Prasad =)

  9. Since the iPad still doesn’t support multitasking, there is a big advantage for small business applications that combine all necessary functions in one program. Like a one-stop-shop for small business needs.

  10. I think it must look quite impressive if a client sees you using one of these.

  11. My company offers the Simple Genius suite of apps for project management on the iPad. With over 4000 customers in 3 months, it is clear that the iPad is being used effectively for business. I get emails every day that confirm that. It is an outstanding mobile platform and will only get better as more and improved apps appear!

  12. Our product, StoryDesk, makes it super simple to create sales presentations on the iPad.

    Check it out: