So you have a great little business going and the desktop and computer software in your office to manage affairs seamlessly and with excellent productivity. But what about when you are out and about, talking to prospective clients or just keeping on top of things while out of the office? Why be chained to the desk when with the right technology you can get out and enjoy the sunshine?
That’s where Samsung’s smartphone and tablet technology come in to their own. But to maximize the power of these devices, you need the business apps to make those babies really work for you. So what are some business apps that can be used to integrate all the technology platforms available and that will drive your business further? Here are 10 amazing apps for the Android platform, you know, the operating system used by HTC, Samsung, and many other brands.
1. Microsoft Office for Tablets (Free)
Microsoft has released a full-featured version of Office for Android tablets. So if you have a Samsung Galaxy Tab or Note 8 tablet then this is for you. The Android apps, which include Word, PowerPoint and Excel, are similar to the full desktop versions. And what is really fabulous is that they have been optimized for all touch devices, using large easy tap buttons. To top it off you can sync it with One Drive, Microsoft’s in the cloud storage vault.
Just a little dampener though, the Office Apps aren’t yet available for smartphones.
2. Square Register (Free)
You may think that your business is just not big enough to go the credit card route. Maybe we balk at the merchant fees and /or technology set-up costs. This is where Square Register can help big time. Once you have the app on your tablet, you can sign up and receive a credit card reader fee. It plugs in to the headphone jack and you are ready to swipe away. Of course, if the customer prefers numbers to be entered in, the app allows you to enter information accordingly. Sure there are fees, but in this day and age, having credit card facilities could mean the difference between a deal or no deal.
3. PayPal Here app (Free)
PayPal is known around the world and many online buyers prefer the well-known brand of payment system. PayPal is now separate to EBay so you can set up a business account without being linked to eBay. PayPal Here accepts credit cards and debit cards, sends invoices and accepts PayPal payments. When you sign up, you have the option to buy your Chip and PIN card reader. The reader plugs into your device and away you go. The only fees you pay are the regular merchant fees on each transaction. This is available in the UK, USA and Australia.
4. QuickBooks for Android (Free with a Quickbooks desktop subscription, starting at USD $14.99)
The QuickBooks for Android app gives you the freedom to run your business from anywhere in the world. Granted, the app isn’t as fully featured as the desktop version, for which you need a subscription. Still, you are able to create and send invoices, check overdue accounts, manage expenses and create various reports to manage your show from afar. I recently sold a service business in Australia and the new owners have found that QuickBooks is the ideal software to manage accounts and invoicing of clients. Why not check out the 30 day trial to see if this is a good fit for your business?
5. Google Docs (Free)
It has been of concern with many cloud applications that without data connection, you are powerless to work remotely. This is where Google Docs comes into its own.
It has word processor, spreadsheet editor and presentation maker software that
have more features with a clean and attractive interface. You can use it to edit and save Microsoft Word documents. Everything is saved as you type, so you never lose your work. And with editing offline, you never have to stress about your data connection dropping out partway through a document or spreadsheet.
6. Google Drive (Free)
Storing our business data in the cloud is a daunting proposition for many small business owners. And there are many services available such as Microsoft’s One Drive, Dropbox, Box to name a few. Google Drive is free with any Gmail account. It allows you 15 GB of storage free of charge. You can store documents and files online and are backed up and accessible on any Android device. It is my cloud storage of choice since I have a few Gmail accounts I have over 50GB of storage. Access of files is easy so anyone with your approval can view, edit and leave comments on files and documents. Google Drive also links up Quick Office.
7. Microsoft Remote Desktop (Free)
It may be that your business set-up requires remote connection with your work PC or you need to use your Window applications while you are on the move. Microsoft Remote Desktop allows you to view and edit documents from wherever you are, giving you access to full desktop versions of Word or Excel using your mobile device.
8. OneNote or Evernote (Free)
Microsoft’s OneNote is the main completion for Evernote, another popular business app. Some reviewers prefer OneNote for easy-to-use interface believing that it is more user-friendly than Evernote may have more in-depth features, but it’s not as user-friendly as OneNote. One of the advantages’ of OneNote is that it syncs your files with OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage vault. So if you have an existing MS account, it is easy to link OneNote to the existing account and streamline things. Another bonus with OneNote is that it loves the S Pen feature on Samsung Galaxy Note ranges of devices. This state-of-the-art stylus allows you to sketch diagrams and write notes. I have the Galaxy Note 3 phone and Note 8 tablet and the S Pen is an amazing tool to use with OneNote or other writing apps on your device. Evernote has greater power in clipping content from the Web and some reviewers view Evernote Premium as a 5/5 note taking application compared to OneNote. It is obvious that we each need to analyze what our needs are and find the application that is top notch for us individually.
9. Skype (Free)
So we have all heard of Skype and that you can make video calls and catch up with friends wherever they are at the cheapest rates around or at times free. But how can we use it in business? Skype allows video conferencing with employees and clients using the front facing camera on your device. You don’t have to use specific devices; it is very flexible. And, of course, it allows you to conduct the weekly staff meeting from wherever you may be, even from that island vacation in the Caribbean. This is technology that is vital in today’s online world. Setting up a Skype network is cheaper than flying employees home from their job location. I am in the throes of setting up my English Teaching website using this online video technology to connect with and teach students. Google Hangouts is an alternative app that is getting rave reviews from users.
10. Google Calendar (Free)
Now I know some of us are as organized as we would like to be but when we are in business, it is vital to have our schedule working and under our control. Google Calendar is a standout. It has a built-in to-do-list to maximize the organizing power you need as well as sending you reminders via Gmail about impending events. Now if you don’t want to sync everything together, you know, life, shopping, business, etc. then you may want to use Google Calendar for business alone and then maybe the S Planner app on your Samsung device for more personal items. It is great to have options.
Now, of course, there are dozens more apps that may work for your business needs. If you are in finance, then Bloomberg Business may be helpful. Having a QR scan app, a currency converter or an epub /pdf reader like Moon Reader+ can all make a difference to your Android devices. If you are having difficulties with Google Chrome, which I do occasionally, have you tried Firefox by Mozilla as the web browsing app? They have a beta version which is a good alternative to Chrome.
So it is always important to analyze your business needs and then research what apps will fit your situation. It may be that some will require an investment but that may maximize productivity in your business and makes being the boss a less stressful experience. Don’t be afraid of mobile applications; research them and embrace them with the enthusiasm they deserve.