Almost eight months ago now I traded in my slider phone for a Smartphone. My world changed drastically—both professionally and personally. Suddenly I could be “on call” through email, and a mini-obsession of checking my phone began (brought on by the little green light that beeps every time the world is trying to get a hold of me). I finally learned how to take the alerts off of most things that I did not find alerting at all (read: I am untech-savvy), and my green lights were reduced drastically.
Then another world seemed to open up for me. I taught my 72-year old grandmother how to play Words with Friends on her own Smartphone (way to be with the times Mom-mom!), and the device became this great tool that brought me closer to my friends and family who live hundreds of miles away. I downloaded Google SkyMap for free and was just blown away at being able to see the constellations and stars at any time of day. My phone began to serve me as an alarm clock, a way for me to not have to open up my laptop to check something at night, my communication tool, and a great entertainer when in line waiting. Oh, and did I mention I sporadically use it as a telephone as well?
Free Smartphone Apps for Business
Now that I feel I have a handle on my Smartphone (as opposed to it having a handle on me), I am starting to see its value for business employees as well as small and startup business owners. Here are a few free apps to show you what I mean:
- Squareup, free: While at a charitable event the other day someone whipped out their Smartphone and in passing stated, “I am in charge of selling the drinks and we want to cater to people with credit cards.” I had to ask—was it possible to take credit card transactions over a phone? Well, it is. This would be a great tool for small business owners at conventions, craft fairs, farmer’s markets, and the like. Instead of purchasing a cash register, you could just use this app.
- Expensify, free for individuals: My husband travels several times a year on business and almost always loses a receipt (or several). Very frustrating! The other day he came home and showed me a cool app he had downloaded where he could take a photo of a receipt and the information will be uploaded to an account. So cool! This app also automatically imports business expenses from a credit card. And for companies the cost is $5 / submitter / month to approve expense reports (pay only for employees who submitted an expense report that month).
- GateGuru, free: This app is good for frequent fliers who find themselves at the airport several times a year (or most of the year!). You can receive real time flight status (including push notifications), view / post airport security wait times, and see a structured list of airport food, shops and services. I guess this would stop me from having to periodically walk back to the gate for any updates (though the walking is good exercise and entertainment, especially for layovers).
- Gist.com, free: Organize and upload/import old and new contacts with this app from social networks, inboxes, etc. On top of that, you can actually see view colleagues’ real-time Facebook and Twitter feeds while in the program.
- ScanBizCards, free: Speaking of business contacts, this app allows you to scan in business cards as well as manually enter business card information. I wonder if you could use this app in conjunction with the gist.com app?
Please share your own free or lost-cost business apps, and how they help you.