It’s been a whirlwind year, with so many businesses going remote in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their teams. So if your business is one of them, then you’ll need to be well-equipped with a full suite of tools to keep you going strong. The good news? There are plenty of professional tools with mobile apps at low or no cost. Here’s a rundown of our picks for the best mobile apps to power small businesses.
Customer Communication Apps
For many small businesses, keeping in touch with customers is one of the most important aspects to success. Keeping a few management tools close at hand gives you the ability to quickly and easily interact with customers, respond to questions or concerns, and nurture relationships with potential customers throughout their buying experience. Since so many platforms are moving toward an all-in-one communications model, some of these overlap, but here are a few of our favorite mobile apps you’ll need to succeed in your customer relationships:
1. CRM Apps: If you’re working on a Customer Relationship Management platform to keep track of customer interactions, then you’ll be happy to hear that most have a mobile app as well. FitSmallBusiness provides a list of their top 6 mobile CRM apps, and include Salesforce Essentials, Pipedrive, Freshsales, Zendesk Sell, HubSpot CRM, and Zoho CRM. Another crowd favorite for keeping your team connected in the field is FreshSales.
2. Review Management: With reviews popping up across Facebook, Google, and countless industry-specific review sites, you may get overwhelmed – but with an interaction management platform like Podium, you’ll be able to consolidate all these different channels into one easy-to-use and mobile-friendly platform. You can also incorporate business texting and chat at scale.
3. Email Marketing: Everyone’s go-to all-in-one integrated marketing platform, Mailchimp, comes equipped with a mobile app, so you can create engaging marketing campaigns and track performance from anywhere. There are plenty of alternatives – ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, and Zoho Campaigns, just to name a few.
4. Surveys: There’s no better way to learn to grow your business, than to get advice from your own customers. What’s keeping them coming back? Are there ways you can improve your service or product offering? What types of content are important to them? Now, you can build and launch surveys from anywhere with mobile apps like SurveyMonkey.
5. Live Chat & Chatbots: This one’s not free, but LiveChat does offer plans starting at just $16 per agent per month and a 5-minute installation so that you can chat live with customers on your website, complete with a mobile app so you can stay connected, even on the go. There are numerous alternatives, including Drift, ManyChat, and Freshdesk.
6. Facebook Business Suite: What used to be the Facebook Pages Manager App, is now the Business Suite, where, in addition to managing direct messages to your business page from your smartphone, you can now also schedule both Facebook AND Instagram posts.
7. Instagram, Twitter, Google My Business: All of the above have a fair amount of functionality built into their mobile apps, including inbox management, and provide a hub for you to monitor mentions and other notifications as well.
8. Social Management Platforms: If you’re interested in scheduling posts across social channels, you’ll find Hootsuite‘s social media management platform to be a great asset to help you plan. Starting at $29/month, Hootsuite makes it easy to spot trends, monitor sentiment, engage at scale, and mitigate any digital risk. You can also manage your ads, and build your branded content library using Hootsuite.
9. Virtual Phone System: Having a cloud-based virtual phone system covers you for both internal and external communications. Need to get calls to your distributed team, no matter where they are? An app like Tresta can empower your team to work smart and gain efficiency. Use advanced features like call recording, user groups, and auto attendants to create and refine your business processes. We may be biased, and, admittedly, there are a lot of business phone system options out there, but with super-simple pricing (just $15/user per month covers unlimited usage, unlimited cloud storage, and access to all call management features – plus a free business phone number included), Tresta is the easy choice.
Team Communication & Collaboration Apps
Just like with customers, keeping the flow of communication open in-house is an essential element to your success. In order to keep your team connected remotely, you’ll need a mix of different tools – because, as you know, different topics require different modes of communication. Here are some of the mobile apps that will keep your team engaged and improve internal communications:
10. Business Email: There are a lot of articles out there about why you should pick up the phone and call, instead of writing an email. But we’re still all for putting it in writing – so even when you’re on the go, you can stay connected to your business email with mobile apps that allow you to easily set up business email on your smartphone like Outlook, Gmail, and Apple Mail.
11. Messaging Apps: Having a user-friendly messaging app at hand, whether you’re at your desk or on the go, makes internal communications easier. Slack, Skype, and Microsoft Teams all offer mobile apps so you can message your team and get feedback fast.
12. Video Conferencing: If there’s anything we’ve learned to appreciate in 2020 more than anything else, it’s personal, face-to-face interactions. Keep your team engaged by nixing the telephone conferences and shifting to video conferencing. There’s a whole swath of different world-class options, including Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and so many others – basically all of which will come equipped with mobile apps, and many of which are free to use.
13. Project Management: If you’ve got several stakeholders on each project, and multiple teams involved – or even just for your own good on a solo project – there’s no better way to track progress and manage tasks on the go like utilizing a project management mobile app. Several different free and affordable apps are available to choose from, but some of our preferred platforms include Trello and Jira – both Atlassian products – Wrike, and Monday.com.
14. File Management & DAM’s (Digital Asset Management platforms): You never know when you’re going to be in the middle of a meeting and need access to your business’ digital assets and collateral. So it’s important to have easy access via mobile. Many businesses store their files in the cloud on Google Drive, but there are a number of options, both for beginners and more advanced, with mobile apps. A platform like Box or Dropbox can help you organize important files for access on the go. DAM’s like Adobe Experience Manager and MediaValet are also great alternatives to Google Drive for secure file management.
15. Recruiting & HR: There are a lot of mobile app options for Human Resource Information System (HRIS) software. HRIS enables teams to efficiently manage, automate, and streamline HR-related tasks such as payroll, recruiting, compliance, and benefits. GetApp lists some of the best options, including BambooHR, Rippling, Namely, and Sage People.
Money Management Apps
It’s everybody’s bottom line, but how do you manage the finances for your business? From accepting payments over mobile, to tracking your miles for reimbursement, it’s not difficult to find great mobile-friendly software to keep track of your company’s finances. Here are some of our favorite apps to manage payments on multiple levels:
16. Point-of-Sale: Needless to say, if you’ve got any type of physical presence, you’ll need a POS solution, but in 2020, it’s more compact and mobile than ever. You can accept sales on your smartphone with tools like Square and PayPal Here.
17. Time Tracking: Timekeeping is easier than ever with mobile apps, enabled to track your workers’ GPS location when they’re using the app. A solution like Timesheets.com can also help you keep track of expenses and milage, but there are a lot of options. If you’re looking for a time tracking app, you can also check out Harvest or WhenIWork for a full, mobile-friendly, free employee scheduling solution.
18. Taxes & Expense Tracking: BusinessNewsDaily offers a list of the best tax assistance apps for businesses, featuring apps like IRS2go and TurboTax, but you may also check out Quickbooks. Their mobile app for iOS and Android allows you to generate invoices and estimates, get paid, track receipts, reconcile bank transactions, and access reports as you go.
19. Milage Tracking: Automatically tracking milage is easy to do with mobile apps like MileIQ, TripLog, and Everlance. These mobile tracking apps also make reconciling your expenses so much easier, and because they’re available on your smartphone, a lot of the grunt work happens automatically.
20. Accounts Payable: Finance deserves to move away from physical office dependency too! Bill.com‘s mobile accounts payable platform helps finance teams streamline and automate processes in a mobile and digital environment. You can also automatically pay venders through Roger.ai and SAP Concur, among others.
Just because you’re away from your computer, doesn’t mean that you can’t access your business’ reporting and analytics. The good news is that most analytics apps are very mobile-friendly. Here are some of the apps you should be using for performance monitoring:
21. Google Analytics: If you’re anything like us, you live, eat, and breathe analytics through Google Analytics. It’s easy to pull important metrics with Google’s mobile reports and monitor real-time data.
22. Tableau Mobile: With Tableau’s mobile app, you can easily access your data and make better decisions on the go. Personalize your mobile-optimized dashboards and pull KPI’s, no matter where you are.
23. CRM Analytics: Many CRM platforms offer analytics through their mobile apps. For instance, Zoho Analytics provides robust insights as to your business’ performance with customers and engagement, so you can pull reports and drill in.
In this new business ecosystem, it’s integral that your team is mobile – so your business apps should be too. According to reports by Alignable and NABE, over a third of workers expect to continue remote at least part of the time after quarantining and social distancing restrictions end, so now is the perfect time to level up your business’ systems to power a more mobile future for your business.