I have met so many small business owners who are passionate about their vision and have a solid understanding of how to make their dreams become a working reality. While their strength lies in their vision, dedication and enthusiasm, often their weakness is in the details and deployment of each step needed to get from A-Z. Enter the all-powerful app. Yes, there REALLY IS an app for that. Below are 2014’s top four apps for entrepreneurs.
Networking can be a small business person’s best tool for growing her business. You never know who knows whom, or who needs what product/service. For many, networking and establishing new relationships is an enviable talent and absolutely where energy should be spent – not the data entry, organizing, filing, and follow through required afterward, to make the initial “meet and greet” worthwhile.
Trade shows and conferences are networking gold mines. When searching for gold, you have to sift through it to weed out all the gravel and pebbles. It’s the same for networking.
Enter ScanBizCards. It turns all networking opportunities from potential to immediate reality. Without this app, you’d have to sit down post-conference and waste time sifting through all those business cards you received. In 10 seconds, the app uploads all the data from all the business cards right into your iPhone. Even better, it’s programmed for the networker’s brain to follow up after initial contact. Directly after adding a new contact, it gives you the option to send a quick intro email to the person (and it even writes the body text of the email for you!). Could it get any better?
Oh yes my friends, it does. The next step after sending an intro email (or opting out of it, but why would you do that?) is to send the contact a LinkedIn request. Wait, not done yet – set a follow up reminder into your iPhone calendar to be in touch with them later. And that, people, is how we do networking in 2014!
Savings calculation – Not only 5 minutes (at least) of data entry per card, but you can also be confident that the information is error-free, and follow up isn’t forgotten. If you collected 75 cards, you just saved yourself from paying your assistant for 6 hours work of data entry – almost $100! Who doesn’t want to save a hundred bucks?
Hate breaking your head over how to fit all your meetings into a business trip?
Always too much to do and too little time. Tripit organizes all your travel plans in one place: confirmation emails from hotels, car companies, airlines, show tickets, etc. Forward the email to Tripit and they instantly organize your schedule. On your iPad, there is a map feature showing your whole trip, and it’s animated for added entertainment. Tripit keeps your itinerary saved in the app, perfect for those times you are without an internet connection and need to see your next move.
Savings calculation – In addition to the the obvious savings avoiding the back and forth assistant emails (chicken or fish? Aisle or window? Stopover or direct?) and re-organization of your itinerary (5 hours of work will run you $60-120) you will save hundreds by not missing flights and having to rebook!
We all know that the more Twitter followers you have, and the more people you are following, go together like peanut butter and jelly (or for you Southerners out there like me, bread and butter. Well, really anything and butter…but I digress). It is advisable, therefore, to kindly return a follow when appropriate.
Ideally (if you know what you’re doing, or your Virtual Assistant does) you are drawing between 10-50 new followers each day. As you’ve probably discovered, scrolling to view, evaluate and follow each one individually is inefficient. Enter Tweepi. Think of Tweepi as your twitter cleanup crew. Though no one likes to hear that they lost a follower, this data is important to know. Tweepi creates a list of all the users you have chosen to follow but are not following you back, with stats about each!
You yourself can then make the choice to say sayonara! Want to make sure your followers are actually useful to you and say goodbye to more useless followers you have? Sometimes, as the following increases, it’s hard to tell who is not engaging in conversations, never retweets you, etc. Use Tweepi’s geeky cleanup tool to filter these people out and un-follow them, with the click of a button.
Savings calculation – Yes, you could pay your assistant to manage this process (let’s say 15 minutes/day since you’re so bright and selected a knowledgeable, efficient assistant.) That’s 5 hours monthly, costing you $60-$120! Alternatively, you could sign up for Tweepi for $8/month. Please don’t even do the math; the winning choice is obvious.
Documents To Go
PC lovers who love their iPhones will laud this app, Documents To Go, as it allows you to view, edit and create Microsoft Word and Excel files on your iPhone so you don’t lose any time while on the move, and then later having to transfer ideas to the correct format on your PC.
Savings calculation – Commuter time can be wasted if you are not able to work on the go. With Documents To Go, you can always produce, gaining the average commuter at lease 1.5 hours each day. That is over $200 weekly; not bad from a free app!
You can see that in 2014, the era of apps, there is no excuse to be wasting time (read: money). Brainstorm with your assistant tasks/areas where you each spend a lot of time and then have your VA research one hour per task for the best app to solve your issues. That one hour of research time paid will easily pay off in the long run for a more efficient workflow. 2014 is not only the year of the app, it’s the year of mo’ money in your pocket.
Submitted by Robin