15 Free Apps To Use For Business
15 free & easy apps to use at work
In the last three years over 300,000 mobile apps have been created. Recently, Apple’s App Store passed 25 billion downloads. The majority of consumers in the U.S. favor mobile apps for such activities as: games, maps, music, banking, travel, shopping, local info, news, video, sports and social networking. More people are now accessing the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs, in fact one in seven searches are now mobile.
So what is an app? An app is really just a small piece of software that is custom made for your smart phone (e.g. iPhone, Droid) or tablet device (e.g. Ipad, Xoom, Fire). Many apps are free or cost less than a $4.99. “Freemium” apps start with a free version to try out, then if you like it you can upgrade to the paid version that comes with additional features.
Apps are meant to make your life easier. In business, we want to streamline our work, be more productive…and have fun doing it! Here are a few of my favorite apps that I use every day, and I’ll explain what I use them for:
1. Dropbox: I use Dropbox to back-up, access, and share my files anywhere, anytime, with anyone. It works just like a regular folder on your desktop computer so no need to be scared. It’s totally free to start (you get 2GB) and you have the option to upgrade if you need more space later. Once you sign up, a Dropbox folder is set up on your computer, you can then set it up on all your mobile devices. How’s this useful in business? Have you ever emailed a document to a co-worker or customer? Worked on a project with a group of people and had to share documents back and forth with edits? Have I convinced you yet? If so, get it HERE!
2. Unit – Converter: Need to go from Metric to Imperial? How about Celsius to Fahrenheit? And vice-versa? This free version of UnitConverter allows you to seamlessly convert units of weight and temperature. Search under “Unit Converter” in Apple’s App Store to find other free apps that will convert length, power, pressure, time, volume, area, currency and more!
3. LinkedIn: If you’re not aware by now, your LinkedIn profile is your living, breathing, resume. Don’t have one? Get one – then download the mobile app. I don’t do business cards because I have this app, instead I just “add” contacts. Right now, LinkedIn is the end-all of social networking for professionals. I never have to worry about losing the valuable information of my contacts.
4. Evernote: It’s all about productivity with Evernote. This app allows you to keep track of notes, voice memos, ideas, or snapshots on your smart phone. Plus, it syncs everything with your computer (PC or Mac). Evernote keeps me and my creative ideas organized and simple to find and review later. I use the voice-recording feature when I’m on the go and have a great idea or randomly remember a task I forgot but need to follow-up on. If it wasn’t for Evernote I would be a flake, but with it I keep my promises and integrity.
5. WebMD: You never know when you’re going to be in a situation where medical attention is required. If you have a medical situation that isn’t serious enough for 911, just tap the WebMD app. When I need medical advice, whether it be a paper cut in the office or a co-worker passing out on the production floor I turn to WebMD. The symptoms checker feature allows you to ask a series of questions and then lists possible causes. There’s also first-aid advice for common ailments and injuries.
6. Skype: Do I really need to plug Skype? It’s become a household term nowadays. Video chat with your friends and family, you can also make and receive free domestic calls, international calls and texts are discounted.
7. Free Conference Call: Before you pay a hefty amount for a video-conferencing service, try out this app first. It allows you to schedule, hold, and manage conference calls for free.
8. Dictionary.com: Don’t look like a fool; it only takes a few seconds to tap this app for the correct spelling and definition of a word. It even has a thesaurus feature if you want to sound percipient.
9. Calendar: iCal comes built into your iPhone/iPad, plus you can sync it with your Google calendar and Outlook calendar. I really see no need to go searching for any other calendar app. Calendar syncs and functions perfectly for everything I have needed it for.
10. Shoeboxed: This nifty little app is a great way to keep track of your business expenses, especially if you have to turn in an expense report at the end of the month with copies of all your receipts. Just snap a picture of your receipt, write a note, then save it. At the end of the month you can email the report to yourself, pictures included.
11. Kindle: Whenever I’m waiting in line at the store, on-hold on the phone, or on a layover I tap the Kindle app to read eBooks, newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs. There are millions of free eBooks at the Kindle Store as well. I often go from reading on my iPhone to my iPad, but I’m covered with Amazon’s Whispersync that automatically syncs the last page I read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across all my devices. I pick up on one device where I left off on the other. Hands down it provides me with the best reading experience whether I’m on the go or relaxing at home.
12. Google Search: Now let’s go deep, this app let’s you manage all your Google services. Go beyond just searching, quickly access other Google apps like Gmail, Calendar, Voice, Earth, and Docs. This app also includes the amazing “Google Goggles” feature, which allows you to scan business cards, then accurately save the contact info to your contacts! Plus, you can search simply by taking pictures – it scans the information and searches accordingly.
13. Square Card Reader: This app allows you to accept credit cards and cash on your iPhone/iPad with a free Square Card Reader (just go to SquareUp.com, enter some basic info and it will be mailed to you in a few days). There’s only a 2.75% per swipe for Visa, American Express, MasterCard and Discover. You don’t have to enter a sleazy contract, pay any monthly fees or merchant accounts. The funds get deposited into your bank account the very next day. You can easily accept payments, anywhere. Get paid right now! Setting up an account only takes a few minutes and you can start taking payments. The app also offers analytics to help you track sales, collect tax as well as tips, and of course you can send email or text receipts. Really, there is no catch to this one. It’s really that good.
14. QR Code Reader & Scanner: It’s the 21st century and QR (quick response) codes are what link the physical and digital worlds. This app allows you to scan those two-dimensional matrix barcodes, you’ve seen on soda cans, package labels, magazines, posters, and everywhere else. Most of the time, the barcode will lead you to the following: contact information to add to address book, calendar event to add to your iCal, email address for you to send an email, geo-code location, phone number for you to call, SMS so you can send a text, or URL to direct you to a website. Don’t be scared, start scanning!
15. AppAdvise: With millions of apps to choose from, of course you want the best ones. Some are junk; others just might save your life. Use AppAdvise to sift and select the best apps to download. You’ll never have to read an article like this again. Read AppReviews and browse AppGuides to discover exactly what is out there, what is worth paying for, and what should be skipped over.