Small business owners are very busy folks, often tasked with wearing multiple corporate “hats.” They’re the bookkeepers, tax experts, clerks, office lawyers, marketers and janitors of any small business.
With this comes lots of responsibility… and a lot less free time. Fortunately, thanks to the continual advancements in mobile connectivity and technology, there are mobile apps out there that can shorten small business owner’s daily task lists and increase productivity in three key areas: E-commerce, expense reporting and file sharing.
E-Commerce: According to data provided to Mashable, Forrester Research estimates total mobile sales will grow 33% annually to $31 billion USD by the year 2017. This data indicates the nearly 132 million US consumers connected to the Internet via their smartphones are increasingly turning to their mobile phones to search and purchase products. Based on that data, small business owners need to seriously consider e-commerce store platforms on their Websites. If you haven’t yet invested in a Website, check out these tips. Depending on your business’s needs, there are many E-commerce platforms owners can utilize to grow their business and increase sales; one of my favorites is Shopify.
Shopify: According to data available at Shopify, 37% of purchases made in 2013 were conducted via a mobile capacity, up nearly 20% from 2012 data. Consumers appreciate mobility and flexibility and small businesses need to capitalize on this trend by making products more accessible to online consumers. Shopify helps make this easier with both web and mobile-based E-commerce platforms available to businesses at very reasonable prices. Shopify offers over 100 free and premium E-Commerce templates ideal for a variety of business types; and all templates offer easy-to-use, “do-it-yourself” site customization that is responsive on any platform.
Shopify also offers great consumer insights technology that lets business owners track and analyze product sales, orders and payments. Shopify then easily exports those reports to spreadsheets for further analyzation. This allows owners to better understand their customer shopping habits and preferences, making it easier to create marketing and promotions campaigns to drive new sales.
Expense Reporting: Because small business owners are also a business’s top sales people, they’re always scoping out new business opportunities, and with that comes lots (and lots) of travel. Of course, with travel comes lots of expense reporting, so business owners are always searching new ways to minimize this reporting time and maximize productivity to focus on other crucial business functions. One of the best mobile apps out there for expense reporting is Abukai.
Abukai: Abukai is a mobile-based expense reporting application that virtually eliminates the need to carry around (and sort!) paper receipts by photographing the receipt and storing the information in the cloud. Once the user snaps a receipt photo, the app “auto-magically” logs the vendor, amount of transaction, date and more. Abukai then enters each receipt into its appropriate category in preparation for final expense reporting to the company’s web portal.
Abukai is ideal for any sized business, offering free services for entrepreneurs handling their own reporting to paid customization options for larger enterprises, and is compatible with XERO, DropBox, ExpensAble expense reporting platforms. For more information, check out ABUKAI’s demo video.
File Sharing: We’ve all been there – working in group situations that require multiple insights from colleagues in varied fields to manage projects, and small business owners are no different. However, we’ve also been constricted by e-mail attachment file size restrictions, and that can be a big problems for sharing large, pertinent business files. Often, these files or presentations are stored on multiple external storage devices, requiring a lot of time locating and sourcing them for important meetings. And while there are multiple file sharing services available out there, Hightail – formally known as YouSendIt, stands out a bit from the rest.
HighTail: Hightail offers large file-sharing technology available and accessible from a variety of devices. The software offers unlimited and fully secure cloud storage options that accommodate a variety of business sizes, and users can access, update, sign for and share files with colleagues and business partners via multiple platforms. Hightail software features user sign-on security and is compatible with a variety of popular business applications such as Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint and SalesForce. Hightail file sharing ensures all pertinent parties have accessed and signed off on critical documents, which improves approval times, and makes file changes and updates a snap.
What other apps do you recommend for enhancing small business productivity and sales? Please share your experiences below!